I may have gotten a touch longwinded with this one, sorry about that.
Soft Focus – Reno MacLeod & Jaye Valentine – M/M Novel
The story opens with Ethan, a photographer, finishing up a month long photo shoot in the plains of Kenya. Upon his flight home he wakes from a nap and takes note of his seatmate’s reading material, which happens to be a BDSM magazine (BDSM = Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism). Besides being a photographer, Ethan is also a writer of gay erotica so the subject of BDSM is intriguing and so he peruses the contents of the magazine. Flipping through the pages he happens upon a rather stunning creature named David Turner, an expert in the area of BDSM. Contemplating the usage of BDSM in his next novel, he decides to contact David to see if he will act as consultant for the new novel and the two decide to meet at an upcoming BDSM convention close to Ethan’s home.
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It’s 2031 and the world has changed… a lot. It doesn’t rain here and what water there is is under tight control. The rebellion is hoping to change that, which leads us to our two main characters, Jacob and Ethan. Jacob, the leader of the rebellion, remembers what the world was like when the rains fell from the heavens and is haunted by those memories and what he’s lost. Ethan, born after the drought, yearns for a world he has never known and rain he has never seen. Two men, two very different views of the same world, can either truly understand the other’s pain? Will these differences bond them together or slowly tear them apart?
This is a really sweet, sexy, romantic story, which at times is also heartbreaking. Just from reading the synopsis of the story, it doesn’t seem like there would be a whole lot of depth to it. Two boys at a prep school fall for each other; one a loner and one a soon to be popular jock. Sounds kind of corny, right? This story is so much more than that and I devoured it completely in one sitting.
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Wow… where to start with this one. First off let me start by saying that I was asked to review this novel by the author and given a free copy of the eBook (it is also available as a hard copy book as well). I jumped right into the 117 page story (it is a novella so shorter than a full novel but longer than a short story) and finished it off in one day. The eBook copy I had was full 8.5” x 11” size and, like Sleight of Hand, contained no illustrations other than the cover.
The story itself is best described as a psychological thriller with some twincest thrown in for good measure. The author, Silapa Jarun, has clearly done her homework when it comes to this historical novel. The main characters are the two twin samurai, Aki and Akeno, and a brother and sister duo who take them into their home upon their arriving separately in the U.S. (ironically enough, they come to Wisconsin upon their arrival, my home state and current resident). The story deals with a few different intertwining issues: Aki and Akeno dealing with their feelings for one another as well as the push and pull of what it means to be a twin; the ongoing research into trying to find a cure for the plague that haunts the residents of the area as well as the sister, Klara; and the secrets Klara and her brother Konrad keep hidden from all around them.
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