Tag Archives: historical

3.5 Stars for Ancient House of Cards by Bryan T. Clark @bryantclarkx2 #MM #romance

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Title: Ancient House of Cards
Author Name: Bryan T. Clark
Publication Date & Length: Feb 21, 2014 – 196 pgs

Synopsis

Sebastian Morales is smart, gorgeous and has just turned 30. He is also one of the youngest Priests to be assigned to the sleepy little town of Morris Colorado, nestled just below the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Born in a remote village in Spain, Father Morales’ life had been perfectly scripted as he obtained his dreams. Now in America, he is at task with revitalizing an aging congregation. The job seems easy until he meets Ian Stephens. Ian is troubled, good looking, openly gay and trapped between his own dreams and the responsibility he feels for the care of his aging mother.

Escorting his mother to Sunday Mass one morning, Ian and Father Morales’ life intersect, changing both forever. Ian believes he has seen something in the Father’s eyes that morning, a spark, an intuition, or was he just fantasizing about the seductively alluring priest.

Ian is willing to risk it all in order to find the answer, in turn feeding his own sexual desires and causing boundaries to be questioned by everyone.

After an unforeseen yet unforgettable kiss between the two men, will an Ancient House of Cards be toppled when they are faced with confronting the moral dilemma that neither of them can escape?

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I chose this book because I can’t resist stories with spiritual or religious themes. For the most part, I enjoyed it.

As with any story, my favorite part is always the characters. The people populating this story were interesting and diverse, and none of them felt flat to me. I liked reading about their various struggles, all of which were relatable. Their human failings made them more, not less, likable and intriguing.

I appreciated that the characters were not all standard, white Americans. There was quite a bit of diversity. And I did think it was fun that Ian’s best friend was named Niles and had a cat called Mr. French. Those were details I found particularly charming.

I did feel that the writing was uneven at times. There were some absolutely brilliant moments, including some of the details about the setting and some of the character interactions. At other times, however, the narrative seemed flat and the dialog a bit stiff. The whole thing could have benefited from a thorough going-over by an editor or a few skilled beta readers.

The end also left me feeling a bit deflated. That wasn’t because of where the main characters ended up but because it felt rushed. I had been hoping throughout that we might see a bit more depth regarding their spirituality, but it never quite got there. Then, at the end, there was an epilogue that sort of tidied things up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t terribly realistic, and not enough time passed for the particular scenario to have been realistic.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I recommend it, but with the qualifier that it may not be what you’re looking for if you want a book with deeper spiritual themes.

I give it 3.5 stars.

~Amy

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AuthorBio

Bryan Thomas Clark is a boisterous extravert who is a proud member of the LGBT community. For the last 30 years, he has enjoyed a career in Law Enforcement. On the weekends is when his characters are born and grow into the people his readers will fall in love with. Behind his keyboard working on his next novel, he writes gay fiction with an emphasis on a moral dilemma and M/M romance.

On the rare occasions he isn’t writing, Bryan enjoys traveling, following his husband around the state of California to various equestrian competitions, lying by a body of water soaking up the sun, or watching a good movie while snuggled up with his husband and dog on the couch.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan now resides in the Central Valley of California with his husband of twenty-eight years and their four legged loyal companion, Miss Celie.

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A Place to Call Their Own by L. Dean Pace- Frech – #M/M #LBGT @deanpacefrech

A Place to Call Their Own

Title: A Place to Call Their Own
Author Name: L. Dean Pace-Frech
Publication Date & Length: July 2012 – 149 pages

Synopsis

Is it possible for two Civil War veterans to find their place in the world on the Kansas Prairie?

When the War Between the States ended in 1865 many Americans emerged from the turmoil energized by their possibilities for the future. Frank Greerson and Gregory Young were no different. After battling southern rebels and preserving the Union, the two men set out to battle the Kansas Prairie and build a life together. Frank yearned for his own farm, away from his family—even at the risk of alienating them. Gregory, an only child, returned home to claim his inheritance to help finance their adventure out west.

Between the difficult work of establishing a farm on the unforgiving Kansas prairie, and the additional obstacles provided by the weather, Native Americans and wild animals, will their love and loyalty be enough to sustain them through the hardships?

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Review

FourStars

This book was set as a historical novel that takes place after the civil war – it was a story of two determined friends/lovers, Gregory and Frank, who wanted the freedom to live their lives together.

At first I was a little unsure of the story. There were a lot of descriptions that I didn’t feel really added to the story, they were more filler. However, as the story continued, the author was able to developed the relationships between Gregory and Frank’s neighbors, that they ended up settling near. It was refreshing to see a story that was able to capture how hard living off the land is and show what lengths people would go to help their fellow neighbor and farmer.

I do wish that we could have learned a little more about their time in the service and seen the relationship between the two main characters be developed a little more. The reader only saw the surface of their relationship. We saw how hard working they were and read about how they wanted to move West to live together, but I didn’t really see how their relationship grew – it was simply that they had a relationship.

The author took the reader on a long, arduous journey that had some ups and downs, but was an overall feel good story.

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AuthorBio

With inspiration from some historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, L. Dean Pace-Frech started crafting his debut novel, A Place to Call Their Own, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, he submitted it for publication and Musa Publishing offered him a contract in early 2013.

Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his partner, Thomas, and their two cats. They are involved in their church and enjoy watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather and spending time together with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean enjoys reading and patio gardening.

Prior to novels, Dean did some technical writing in his career.
He has written another complete fiction manuscript and has a third manuscript outlined

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4.5 Stars for Disappear with Me by L. Dean Pace-Frech #M/M #historical #romance

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Title: Disappear with Me
Author Name: L. Dean Pace-Frech
Publication Date & Length: Dec 4, 2013 — 261 pgs

Synopsis

Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Reverend Leander Norris convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?

In 1910, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. King Edward died after only nine years on the throne. The social class system that upheld British society for centuries was being chipped away by social, political, and economic unrest across the Commonwealth. Amidst this backdrop, Reverend Leander Norris is accused of sodomy. After discovering his own self-worth and unconditional love, Leander finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right and pleads not guilty to the charges. Throughout the trial, Leander’s past is revealed, including the temptations that bring the accusations against him. By the end of the trail, Leander is once again reunited with a romantic interest from the past by the end of the trial; it may be too late to rekindle any love that might remain, given the circumstances of the era and Reverend Leander’s likely sentence.

Review

FourandHalfStars

Once again, I’m out of my typical, comfortable box when it comes to genre literature. I’m not usually one to pick up historical fiction, let alone historical romance. However, this one piqued my curiosity for the faith/spirituality angle, and I’m glad I took a chance.

When I think of a good story, the element that is most important to me is the characters. From the first pages I was drawn to the main character, Leander, and his world and struggles. Yet I also felt connections with the other supporting players, from those mentioned only briefly–such as the jurors at his trial–to his closest companions and lovers. There are no weak, flat characters in this story.

Though the storyline itself is tender and romantic rather than exciting and action-packed, the flow was still fast-paced enough to grab my attention and hold it. I read it on and off over the course of a couple of days; I didn’t want to put it down.
For me, the best part was that it was both deeply romantic and deeply spiritual, an expert blending of both. I have no doubt this is intentional–the main character himself sees his love for his various partners as spiritual. And though other characters attempt to impose shame on him, he never accepts it, maintaining his right throughout to live his life in peace and happiness.
Reading this was an emotional ride for me. Leander’s strong love for God, his lovers, those under his care, and the Bible shine through every part of the story, as though he is simply so full of life and love that he can’t help spilling it over into every act, including standing strong in his convictions. I am convinced this is what it means to truly be like Jesus.
I have no misgivings about  recommending this book to just about anyone. Although the themes might be considered “adult” in nature, there is no explicit content, and I would not feel strange about giving this to my own children in a few years when the religious and social contexts will make more sense to them. Nor do I feel any hesitation about recommending it specifically to my religiously-minded friends.
I give this 4.5 stars.
~Amy

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AuthorBio

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With inspiration from some historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, L. Dean Pace-Frech started crafting his debut novel, A PLACE TO CALL THEIR OWN, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, he submitted it for publication and Musa Publishing offered him a contract in early 2013. DISAPPEAR WITH ME is his second novel.

Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his partner, Thomas, and their two cats. They are involved in their church and enjoy watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather and spending time together with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean enjoys reading and patio gardening.

Prior to novels, Dean did some technical writing in his career. He plans to write a sequel to both A PLACE TO CALL THEIR OWN and DISAPPEAR WITH ME.

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Twitter: @DeanPaceFrech