Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review- Bangkok Love Story (DVD)

Bangkok Love Story
2007
Thai/Gay/Drama

Steamy Thai nights provide the backdrop for unbridled romance, crime and action as two men unexpectedly brave forbidden love. Maek, a cold assassin-for-hire, is sent to knock off Iht, a police informant, when in a twist of fate the killer is shot for refusing to pull the trigger. After making their escape, an indelible bond is forged when the vulnerable assassin is nursed back to health by handsome, married Iht. But as taboo feelings of desire swell between the swarthy new lovers, their relationship is discovered. Now there s no turning back as enemies, friends and lovers are pitted against each other.

I saw the cover to this DVD a while ago searching for something else on Google Images and it totally grabbed me. I even downloaded it. It looked like a gay, Thai version of Bonnie and Clyde…dangerous and sexy at the same time. I went to the video store looking for other films yesterday and there is was, so I had to rent it.

Holy freaking crap, this movie was intense, dark, totally sexy hot, and utterly tragic. Only Asians can call a story with a tragic ending a “love story.” They practically invented the genre of emo, bittersweet, love. Yes, I’m telling you the ending is less than HEA, although in its own way there was an HEA. None the less, it’s a compelling story that will take you to places…maybe you don’t want to go to, or maybe you do.

Cloud is a street thug basically who does hits for the local mob syndication. His mother is dying of AIDS and his younger brother is HIV+. It’s the only way he can get money to take care of them. He has one rule though, he won’t kill anyone who is a good person, meaning he only kills thugs and assholes.

He’s hired to kill Stone because Stone knows too much about one of the crime bosses. Stone is a good guy, engaged to be married and Cloud refuses to kill him. Instead, he shoots the crime boss and gets shot. Stone grabs him and takes him away. In the weeks that follow, Stone takes care of Cloud, in a very loving way I might add, and falls in love with Cloud.

There’s a constant and slow build up of sexual tension that goes on between Stone and Cloud and when they do let go, dang, but it was hot. Really hot. Even though they’re always doing it on the ground in the rain… ewww.

Unfortunately, Cloud has some issues around homosexuality due to some minor issues of his step father molesting his brother and trying to molest him. Yes, nice life these boys had. /sarcasm. This keeps Cloud feeling a bit disgusted by what he’s done with Stone.

Most of the story is about Stone aching for Cloud and trying to win him back, while Cloud stays distant and cool, even though he does feel something. They are also trying to hide out from the the uber crime boss who’s trying to kill them.

It does get a little to syrupy and over dramatic in bits, but there’s enough pain and sadness all around to keep it balanced on the emo side.

I loved though how this film was done. One thing particular to Asian films is that distinct lack of dialogue, with scenes and pictures expressing more about what’s going on. There’s a lot of fade in and out with brief clips of different scenes and parts (other characters) of the story to let us know what’s going on without having to go into a lot of detail or unnecessary chit chat. It’s rather brilliant actually and it’s what I get off on in Asian films.

This is ultimately a raw and sad movie. Nothing is hidden, including the devastation of AIDS, which in Thailand is a huge issue, although not shown as political statement. Just a reality of poverty and the sex trade in Thailand.

The love story is very real though, and I thought the scenes between Cloud and Stone were poignant and sweet. Unfortunately, their lives were destined for something else. Still, I enjoyed this film. Just don’t expect to be left with an upbeat feeling.

Heat level: 2- some sex/kissing scenes between men, but no full on nudity.

Grade: B+

Monday, October 12, 2009

MIA these days


NOT!

I'm back in school full time these days and have no time to really mess around on blogs. Last time I was in school, like 4 years ago, I wasn't taking a full load of classes. But due to getting this quarter paid for free, I had to take a full load.

And I'm stufying stuff that requires lots and lots of technical/ medical terms memorization, which is not as easy as those classes you can BS your way through with writing. I'm totally stressing since it's a lot of work. So, I'll be MIA for a long while, only jumping in here and there.



I am still reading a bit here and there but so not as much as I used to.

And I am still reviewing sporadically over at my other blog Loving Venus-Loving Mars, but have cut way back on that as well.

I do continue to glance through all the blogs on my reader, so I'm keeping up with the latest stuffs. And I'm trying hard to keep up with favorite authors' newest releases.

So... for all intents and purposes, this blog is officially dead for a long while and I won't be commenting too much on blogs. Just so everyone knows I haven't blown you all off.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Brief intermission of Hiatus for Book Pimpage- Healer's Touch

Friends, I totally suck hairy cow dung chips. My blogging partner, friend and great author of hawt, juicy, colorful, erotic romance and fantasy, Kirsten Saell, has a book out in Print today and I totally forgot. I was shamefully reminded by another reader lover of hers who posted about it on her blog. I bow my head in shame and if really needed, will lick some boots. OK not really, but in trying to make amends, without further ado, I'm pimpin her book because I loved it and I hope more readers will find it now that it's in print.



Blurbiage:

She’s determined to break his eight centuries of celibacy—at any cost!

Darjhian healer Aru has been in exile for eight hundred years, barred from the Deathless Land and parted from his wife. Now fallen from grace and no longer immortal, he can never return to her.

Yet he cleaves to his marriage vow and holds himself apart from everyone—especially Viera, the former prostitute whose sexual energy provides the power needed for his healing work. She presents a temptation he must constantly hold at bay if he’s to keep to his vow.

Viera isn’t interested in fighting temptation. She wants Aru. He wants her. What could be simpler? After three frustrating months working with him, her need for him has reached the breaking point. He claims he can never touch a woman again, but Viera isn’t the type to take no for an answer.

Over four glorious nights, she shows Aru everything he’s denied himself for eight centuries. But a shadow hangs over their passion. Aru is keeping secrets about the nature of his mortality. And now he faces a terrible choice…

Break Viera’s heart, or risk destroying her with the knowledge of what he truly is.

Warning: This title contains: graphic sex, including anal sex, f/f and m/f/f; bad language; inappropriate use of a kitchen work surface; flagrant tickling of ivory; and a wagon-load of good, old-fashioned voyeurism.

Buy it at Amazon and other fine brick and mortar stores near you.

Go ahead, I dare you to take a trip into the wild erotic world of Aru and Viera and... Inella as they work out their love for each other with hawt smexin. And for only $10.20. Why that's like the price of a large box of popcorn and a drink at the movies. And this book is way more satisfying than that and will give you hours of pleasure, without the tummy ache afterward.

So don't be shy, you know you want to and are curious about this book with very hot menage scenes in it.


And if you've read it already, maybe you know someone who needs an erotic pick-me-up that they can hold in their very own hands, who don't like reading the ebook. It makes a lovely gift. Perfect for any coffee table decoration and topic of conversation when your friends come over. Share it over coffee and general girl gossip.

And to further entice you here is my review and Amy C's review- And AmyC's post on it.

So go forth and be willing to be satisfied on every level. You can do it!

Ok, back to regularly scheduled Hiatus...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Hiatus again for a while

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures


Heh, I posted this pic without comment earlier and realize how rude it is. I'm sorry. I've been in a bad space again for a while and it's kind of how I feel. Of course I'm not ignoring anyone, just ignoring my personal push to read when I don't feel like it.

And in case anyone has noticed, I'm not so chatty these days really. I don't feel like coming up with interesting blog posts or book discussions. I feel most comfortable just reviewing when I feel like it, so for now and in the near future I will only be doing reviews, if I post. Boring, but that's the way it is for me.

I'll get back to it soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review- A Roof for the Rain by Katrina Strauss

A Roof for the Rain
by Katrina Strauss
March 26, 2009
Sci-Fi/ Futuristic/ Gay
Short Story
Ebook

Buy it Red Rose, All Romance Books


It's the year 2031. The rain doesn't fall, while access to water is controlled by a ruthless few. In the midst of this harsh, barren world, Jacob has taken up his father's mantle as leader of the rebellion against the Water Lords.

Loyalty and sacrifice have their place in Jacob's life, but there's little room for love. Gorgeous recruit Ethan at least meets Jacob's physical needs, but duty to their cause comes first.

When a killer dust blizzard interrupts a scouting mission, memories of Jacob's painful past hit him full force.

Will he find shelter from the storm in the form of Ethan's love?

It’s very rare for me to feel so strongly and positively about a short story because many times the plot is incomplete or I feel frustrated that the characters are not well developed. A Roof for the Rain is one of those rare exceptions. I got hooked straight away into this bleak, future world and, amazingly, I got a good feel for both characters, especially Jacob, and what motivates them and how they got to be who they are.

It’s 22 years into the future and a second dust bowl, like its predecessor in the 30’s, has devastated the land and there’s precious little water. A group of nasty people have taken control of what water is to be had and you either join them and be a virtual slave or be a part of the underground rebellion.

There’s been a small earthquake and unexpectedly, extra water is coming through the pipes in the underground bunkers. Hopeful for a new source of water, Jacob and Ethan, both soldiers in the underground rebellion, go hunting for the area where it might be coming from to protect that spot from the Water Lords. They can see a huge dust storm coming though and run for protection in an old abandoned house where they wait for it to roll over. In the meantime, old memories of a normal pre DB2 life are coming up for Jacob and he takes solace in the arms of a willing Ethan.

Can I just say I loved this story? It’s so nicely written and intrigued me on so many levels. Not only the introduction of a compelling future world with many conflicts and possibilities, but also the depth of the characterizations of Jacob and Ethan and how they relate. Katrina Strauss’ style, in not only writing but in story telling as well, is so smooth and layered at the same time in this story.

Jacob was still a young boy when DB2 hit and his childhood memories of a normal life; living in a house above ground with windows, green fields, and the ability to move about freely and so on have been hidden for a long time. His father was the main leader of the rebellion when warring started over resources and since his father died, he’s taken over and become a leader in the rebel army. So he's had to fight for survival most of his life. Because of his past and his current position, he has a more somber attitude about things.

Ethan is much younger and was born in the underground, so he has no clue or dreams about what life was like, could be like, on the outside if it would start to rain again. This underground living and being a soldier is all he knows, so in a way, between him and Jacob his spirit is lighter and he easily has a brighter outlook on life.

As far as the relationship goes, Jacob and Ethan are so perfect for each other. Jacob is obviously the older dominant one, always in control. He’s so attracted to the playful submissiveness that Ethan has, even though Ethan is also intense and very powerful in his own right and makes no bones about what he wants with Jacob. Jacob can’t resist either quality in Ethan.

Until this day that the story takes place in, Jacob hasn’t relinquished control over himself and what he feels. Memories suddenly start floating to the surface of his mind though, especially after he and Ethan are stuck in the old house reminding him of his childhood, and this makes him more open and vulnerable to Ethan.

I totally got off on this future world that Katrina Strauss created as well. The concept is provocative and I was so curious about what has happened really and how Jacob and Ethan actually live, although there are glimpses of it. This is the part of the story that was least developed and was more there as a setting for both Jacob and Ethan to come together and cement their relationship. But in itself, I wanted to know more.

This is one of the problems about short stories. While in this case I was very satisfied with the presentation as is, it left me craving for a whole lot more. The details that were presented were so tantalizing. How did the Water Lords gain control? If the rebels live underground then why is it that they can go above ground as well and why don’t they more often? What’s going to happen now with the new development that the story was left off with? And so on. I felt very satisfied though that Jacob and Ethan will have a go at it though.

Can I say anything bad about this story? Nope, not really. All in all, A Roof for the Rain was thoroughly enjoyable read. It was almost the perfect blend of plot, characterization and back story, without one sacrificing too much for the other creating a full, well rounded story. My only wish was that this would have been a much longer. I’ve read that Katrina Strauss might have a companion story to A Roof for the Rain coming and I can’t wait to read it.

Sex rating: Commando- m/m, anal. Intense, hawt male lurving, gritty, juicy, sex.

Grade; A-

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Review- InDescent by K.Z. Snow

InDescent
by K.Z. Snow
May 11, 2009
Paranormal/ Gay
Novel
Ebook

Buy it Liquid Silver

Being a powerful, sexually magnetic wizard has its disadvantages. Like inviting the attention of bumbling but persistent rivals. And seductive women. And otherworldly beings.

For Jackson Spey, that isn’t the worst of it. His lover-of-choice is his best male buddy. Who has a disturbing past. And a girlfriend. And feelings Jackson is afraid to return. The legendary Prism of Nezrabi brings all these elements together when it falls into the hands of Spey’s number-one enemy. No ordinary crystal, the Prism is an intricate microcosm wherein all time, space, and dimensions coexist in delicate balance. Humans who’ve been pulled into it have gone mad…or simply never returned.

Through inept or malicious magic, the structure’s integrity has been compromised. A breach has freed creatures thought only to exist in Slavic myth. Nobody but the most qualified Adept can repair the split. But if Jackson Spey descends into Nezrabi’s world, he may have to face something more dreadful than a seemingly impossible task and its potential consequences.

He may have to confront the secrets of his own soul.

I recently read K.Z. Snow’s book Obsessed and was fascinated by the psychological complexity of the characters and relationship dynamics in that book. In InDescent, the relationship between Adin and Jackson, the characters from that book, gets taken to a new level. Not only that, the magick realm in which Jackson operates is acting up and we the reader are taken on an esoteric trippy trip along with Jackson and Adin as they work out their relationship.

The plot to this story is quite complex so I’ll try and do the best to give my synopsis of what’s going on here.

Like with Obsessed, Again: Warning--- long ass K.Z. Snow book review coming. Sorry but her characters and story telling really get into my head.

Edited: To anyone who read my first posted review, I erroneously thought that Adin and Celia were married and not live-ins and thought that had been changed in this book, affecting part of what I felt about this book and much of my review. However, I stand corrected on that and have deleted those parts of the review in which I expressed my dismay about that. And my sincerest apologies to K.Z. Snow for that.

It’s been a while since Jackson and Adin have had their first real sexual encounter in which they openly expressed and acted on their sexual attractions to each other and Jackson is in a state of deep ache for Adin, who’s gone back home to his girlfriend.

Weird things have started happening though which is freaking Jackson out. A mysterious, evocative woman has shown up who Jackson feels oddly attracted to, and then she disappears. He starts having shifts in perception and weird creatures are showing up all over the place whom the average person can’t see.

Jackson shares this with his long time friend Angelina Funmaker (I love that name) who is psychic, and she mentions having strange experiences as well. They both go together to talk with another psychic who channels an otherworldly spirit and this being tells Jackson that there’s been a breach in connections inside the Prism of Nezrabi, an ancient and powerful crystal that contains the balance of all worlds and beings in the universe in it, and that Jackson is the chosen one to fix the problem.

Ivan is another wizard like Jackson. He has nowhere near Jackson’s level of proficiency and is extremely jealous of Jackson. With the help of a necromancer, he gets a hold of the Prism of Nezrabi so that he can use its power to hurt Jackson and get rid of him.

Adin decides to come for a visit and after a while admits that he’s having weird experiences as well, as in reverting back to his old vampiric ways. When these strange happenings escalate, which Jackson has been told will destroy the balance of the universe, Jackson knows that he must go into the Prism to save himself, Adin, and the world. But his chances of getting lost in the prism or dying are very high.

OK, umm… wow. K.Z. Snow warned readers that this story is different and that it might not get an overwhelmingly great reception. I myself went through a gambit of feelings while reading it. It started out as wow for me. I was totally turned on and intrigued by this story, the characters, and was very curious where it was going. Then somehow the plot got a bit convoluted to me and I got lost in a quagmire of jumpy world building and POV changes. But it got back on track for me about three quarters of the way through and I couldn’t put it down again.

The good: Jackson. I love Jackson. This is basically all about him and it’s mostly from his POV that this story is told. In this story the focus for him has changed as well. In Obsessed, Adin was the one who had such an intense need to be with Jackson and goes to him. Jackson realized at that time that he was attracted but was very reticent about really going for it, not totally accepting his bisexuality. In this story, the tides have turned and Jackson is longing so deeply for Adin but is still not totally acknowledging it. It’s pushing its way to the surface at every turn though so he can’t ignore it for long.

I’ve noticed lately that I love the reluctant hero; that guy who knows what needs to be done but is “why me?” and “no way, I just want to live my life” resistant, but steps up to the plate anyway. That’s what Jackson is in this story. He’s forced to go through some trials and face personal demons and fears to rise to the challenge of his true wizard capabilities to save the world and face what he feels emotionally to Adin.

He’s so complex as well. When Adin shows up, all of Jackson’s insecurities come up when normally he’s in total control. He’s jealous of Celia, Adin’s girlfriend, jealous of Adin looking at other men, jealous of other men looking at Adin and so on. It’s something foreign as he never felt that with the women he’s had relationships with. He’s also forced to deal with his “gayness,” which he’s been avoiding.

I will say that I loved that K.Z. Snow did not blow off Jackson taking responsibility for what he feels and how he acts. He goes through a major huge personal growth spurt in this story and he’s very much concerned about not pushing Adin to choose, but stays respectful. He’s very conscientious about everyone involved while at the same time grappling with his overwhelming need and desire for Adin, and I totally loved that. He really is an amazing character.

I’m still very curious how it will work out as this story was left open ended, meaning more can come and Celia is still somehow in the picture as she didn’t die or anything and it’s clear that Adin still has strong feelings for her.

The secondary characters are pretty delicious as well in this book. Ivan, who’s supposed to be this evil dude trying to mess with Jackson using his wizardly abilities, is constantly pooing his pants as his plans, which are not well thought out, go awry and the power of the Prism is too much for him to deal with. Mikaela is one deliciously intriguing character as well. She, along with Christy, the intellectually challenged coven high priestess and Ivan’s unwitting lackey, and Bothu, Ivan's freaky necromancer sidekick, add much to this story’s intricacies and entertainment value.

The not so bad: You know, there wasn’t really anything that I can pinpoint in this story that was really bad. Most of it was a very positive experience. The plot and paranormal part of this story got a bit overwhelming at times with so much going on. I didn’t understand, or it wasn’t really explained how the Prism got messed up to begin with or why only beings from Slavic folk lore escaped except that this takes place in Milwaukee, a city founded by Slavic descendants.

And quite often I didn’t see the point of a lot of it until actually towards the end when it does become very clear. But, meh, those issues were minor to Jackson’s growth and his relationship with Adin, so it was easily glossed over

One thing that really did throw me out of the story and which I didn’t get or like was the sudden POV shift with Jackson’s guide in the Prism. Most the book is written in third person, but suddenly shifts to first when this being is talking. It was jarring and a bit confusing to suddenly have first person POV from someone who wasn’t really telling the whole story, or even a big part of the story. But maybe others will like that as it does distinguish between the “real” world and the “Prism” world since Jackson relives some of his “real” personal history in the Prism, which could get confusing.

Altogether, InDescent was a fine, if unusual, read. Yes, it is a bit different. What I liked was that it didn’t really fall into any established paranormal subgenre. It’s a unique and unpredictable story, which was a huge turn on for me. As for characterization, K.Z. Snow has become an author for me who I think writes exceptionally complex and multi faceted characters whom I can’t stop thinking about long after the story is over.

Sex rating: Commando- Oh yeah, smoking hawt, intense m/m lurving in this book.

Grade: B++

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review- L.A. Heat by P.A. Brown

L.A. Heat
by P.A. Brown
July 1, 2006- I read older version
Mystery/ Suspense/ Gay
Novel- 306 pgs

Buy it Amazon

When LAPD detective David Laine first encounters hunky party boy Chris Bellamere, it is to interrogate him about the murder of one of Chris's many sexual conquests. When Chris's efforts to prove his own innocence mark him as a victim, David steps in to save him, and finds himself falling in love with a man who might be a brutal murderer. P.A. Brown's debut is a gritty mystery set in LA's edgy, less glamorous East Side, where gangs co-mingle with gays, gunfire is heard after dark, and where a gay cop like David Laine could live undetected. At least until now.

Oh yowza, P.A. Brown is my new BFA (best favorite author). I make no bones about the fact that my favorite genre is mystery/suspense and when someone gets it right in that area, I’m having whodunit orgasms. P.A. Brown not only gets it right, but as a debut detective novel, L.A. Heat is a very sophisticated, well thought out, intense and skillfully written book. Plus, there’s a juicy romance involved between two complex and diametrically opposite characters.

Chris is a young man who has it all: good looking, great job in IT making loads of money, luxury car, and he’s a player whom guys want. He’s not looking to settle down but keep up his life of good times, trolling for guys in bars and keeping it fun and light. Unfortunately for him, he just happens to know and has been with a few victims of a serial killer who is brutally killing gay men and he becomes the lead suspect in the police investigation.

David is an older police detective who is so deep in the closet that even if the door opens light won’t reach him. He takes care of his needs once in a while on vacations to places no one he knows would find him. He lives alone in a small, plain but neat house and leads a quiet life. He’s also got a work partner who is homophobic and makes every effort to bash gays with derogatory language on a regular basis. So David is in no hurry to come out of the closet.

When David meets Chris though, he finds himself very attracted but dismisses any thought of possibly getting together because they are two different people from two different worlds and, well, he’s a suspect and that’s a no-no. But he admires that Chris is so out there and open with who he is. Chris feels this and puts out feelers, which David picks up on. Even though Chris is still under investigation, David finds himself going to Chris even though Chris is potentially the killer.

My strongest feeling about this book was “well done, brilliant!” Not only does the investigation unfold in a meticulous and cryptic way in which it’s virtually impossible to figure out who the killer is, but the world in which this happens is very graphic, gritty and real as well, especially the gay world depicted.

I thought that P.A. Brown wrote very intriguing and complex characters. The constant issues: harassment, random trolling for sexual encounters, lifestyle, bigoted ideas these characters had to deal with were very realistically written. She really captures the essence of all the characters, what they go through, feel, and how it affects them in a very vivid way.

The way the relationship between David and Chris unfolds is also very nicely written. Chris sees something in David that really attracts him even though David is so not his type and he goes from being a steadfast player to really wanting something deeper in this story. And David decides to take some big steps outside of his comfort zone because of his feelings for Chris. The tension involved in David not quite being sure if Chris is the killer or not kept that part of the story on the edge as well.

That backdrop of constant homophobia and bigotry as well as the whole gay scene was very realistically written and didn’t come across to me as pushing any social agenda, which can happen and which I don’t like often. In this case it really added to the story and created lots of internal and external conflict, much like how I imagine it would really go down.

For those who want some hawt m/m smexin, this book doesn’t have it. But it’s still a juicy romance anyway and made me feel warm and fuzzy all over, in a cool sort of way.

I saw that Chris and David are back in a new novella by P.A. Brown and I can’t wait to get on it. If this is a first book, with this kind of writing and story telling quality, I can’t wait to see what P.A. Brown writes from now on.

Sex rating: Granny panties- no graphic sex in this story, but lots a alluding.

Grade: A