05 November 2014

Bones, Gothika #2 Spotlight!

 Vodou. Obeah. Santeria. These religions seem mysterious and dark to the uninitiated, but the truth is often very different. Still, while they hold the potential for great power, they can be dangerous to those who don’t take appropriate precautions. Interfering with the spirits is best left to those who know what they’re doing, for when the proper respect isn’t shown, trouble can follow. In these four novellas, steamy nights of possession and exotic ritual will trigger forbidden passion and love. You cannot hide your desires from the loa, or from the maddening spell of the drums. Four acclaimed m/m authors imagine homoerotic love under the spell of Voodoo.

“The Bird” by Eli Easton
Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits?

"The Book of St. Cyprian" by Jamie Fessenden
"When Alejandro Valera finds a book of black magic in New Orleans, he ships it to his friend Matthew in New Hampshire so he can read it when he gets home. Unfortunately, Matthew’s dog, Spartacus, gets to the package first, and Alejandro returns to find Matthew locked out of his apartment by the suddenly vicious pit bull. The boys call on all the magic they know to free Spartacus from the evil spirit, but they might need to accept that they’re in over their heads."

Uninvited by B.G. Thomas
When a hot tip leads Kansas City reporter Taylor Dunton to a series of grisly murders, his investigation points to Myles Parry and his vodou shop. Myles wants nothing more than to practice his religion in peace, and he hopes Taylor can help him show the community they have nothing to fear. The problem is all the clues point to Myles as the suspect and only Taylor can help him prove his innocence. However, this case has also caught the attention of the vodou spirits of the Lwa... and they've taken an interest in Taylor as well.

The Dance by Kim Fielding
After being surrounded by deaths and near-deaths, introverted chemist Bram Tillman wishes he could undo the past year. Then beautiful Daniel Royer shows up with a warning about more danger ahead—and a promise to use vodou to help Bram discover what’s trying to kill him. But while Bram’s attraction to Daniel grows, vodou spirits change Bram in unexpected ways.

Cover by Eli Easton
The Dance by Kim Fielding
I’m stuck between rating it 3 1/2 and 4 STAR story. Simply because it wasn’t my type of story, going too deep into vodou, body possession double spirits and so on. I also found it a little choppy in some spots, finding that sentences’, thoughts ended and new ones started left me thinking/saying huh? I still found that the author gave us engaging characters in Bram and Daniel. Therefore, I’m rating it so high, even though I didn’t care for it.
Bram, has had a lot of tragedy in his life over the last year. This roller coaster starts with the death of his boyfriend, which you hear about in the beginning of the story but don’t get the details until the end. I found that irritating. Then someone/something keeps trying to kill him. On top of that, he’s life is spiraling out of control, losing weight, doing things to the extreme to the point of making himself sick. And the people around him question his abilities to manage his everyday life. But he doesn’t understand, want to understand or catch on until someone comes knocking on his door. 
Daniel is an Ounsi-An Initiate, which you find out, is a person that believes and practices Vodou (this is a very lose translation, the author goes into much more and better detail) He is also the brother of Darius one of the people that has tried to kill Bram, Darius was killed in the process of trying to kill Bram. Daniel finds himself on Bram’s doorstep, lead by his Iwa, telling him he must warn Bram of his impending Death.  You can see why Bram would find it hard to trust/like Daniel in the beginning.
The strange dynamic between these two characters seems to work. The journey they must travel to set Bram’s life back on the right track although for me not totally believable again was well written. I found the way Daniel allowed Bram to explore the new religion and did not force this on him was very well done. Also that Bram didn’t just jump in and accept Vodou without questioning every aspect.  Bram, being a man of science, to me would have had a hard time agreeing even with all the strangeness going on around and to him. One just doesn’t assume, body possession, even if people are coming out of the wood work to kill you.   So overall a very different type of story from what I’ve normally read. But I will be happy to read and look for more Kim Fielding’s books.
The Bird by Eli Easton
This story garbed me right from the beginning, and I didn’t stop reading until it was done. Luckily it’s part of the anthology so only 54 pages. I give this one 5 STARs.
 Even though this story also deals with voodoo, it’s not as in-depth in the actually verbiage or religion as the previous therefore held my interest more. This has the more of what you hear about, the sacrifice, the offerings, things left over your pillows.
It’s set in 1870, and starts with letters written back and forth from Richard and Colin. Colin is a third son and is heading to Jamaica to sort out a Plantation that his father owns. Richard is his boyhood friend from Eaton and then Cambridge.  In the letters you get dynamic between these two. But it is 1870, and they are English so things are expected wives, family, etc.
Once Colin reaches Jamaica, he quickly finds out that the plantation is not being handled properly and has to fire the manager and in doing this discovers that the staff of the plantation practices Obeah. This intrigues him and soon is involved in one of the rituals. Even through all this he finds the time to write Richard every day. But once this ritual is preformed and certain things are brought to light, Colin can no longer deal with his feelings for Richard and being a proper English Gentleman. The lack of correspondence from Colin worries Richard and he jumps on the first ship bound for Jamaica.
 I enjoyed the personal turmoil, that you felt Colin going through, having to deal with his feelings not just about Richard but and the staff, and friends and bird. I liked the fact that the author gave him time to deal with that before she threw in the ‘love’ interest.  And even at the end the author threw in that little twist. Very nicely done. 

The Book of St. Cyprian by Jamie Fessenden
This one was a sweet story, I normally do not read YA, but I found the story and writing compelling so I give it a solid 4.
 This is about two boys that meet when, Matthew, affectionately known as huero, and Alejandro a Spanish kid are about 13. Matthew moved into the apartment building and for the next 6 yrs they became best friends. As they get older, Matthew discovers his feelings for Alejandro are more than just of a friendship nature but is worried about acting upon them. Even though both boys have admitted to each other that they are gay. Alejandro’s Abuela (Grandmother) is a botonica and owns a shop near where the boys live. They both have seen people coming and going over the yrs, getting cleansing spells or potions and as they get older they both help her out.  Alejandro is sent to New Orleans to collect some items that a fellow botonica has left to Abuela in a Will. Upon going through those things he finds a cursed book. Not wanting to tell this to anyone he sends it to Matthew just saying keep it safe.
This is a sweet short story about two young kids getting into trouble and there Abuela coming and saving the day.  It’s basically set over a two-three day time period; although we are given a glance of the past on how/when they first met. The author does a great job portraying the mindset of a couple of 19 yr old boys, how they would think, act and say. Being carless, not thinking a plan all the way through. And of course finding their way around the feelings of first love, then the boys discover that maybe a quick brush with death is the push they need to explore said young feelings.
Uninvited by B.G Thomas
I’ve not read anything by this author before and was pleasantly surprised by this novella.  I give it a 4 to a 4 ½. 
Taylor is a reporter that has just been given his first big break by a police officer friend. That is if he can manage not to throw up his breakfast all over the truly horrific crime scene.  After leaving the scene he manages to convince his boss that he can write this piece. Myles is the owner of voodoo shop and a practitioner of voodoo and even before Taylor gets there, has already been question by the officers about this latest murder.  At first Myles flirts with Taylor but then quickly learns why he is there. They agree to meet for coffee to help Taylor better understand the religion. What Myles gives Taylor is a history lesson not only in the roots of voodoo and Santeria but how they fit together in everyday life. While learning this lesson we have a couple of more murders and Taylor and Myles are thrown right into the middle of them. And they also discover that murder maybe a great foundation to start a relationship after all.
This was a darker story about death and the dark side of voodoo.  For that, very well done however I did find that the story was missing gaps in information that I thought we would need or want.  I really liked Taylor and his ramblings and later when he and Myles and the way he flirts w/Taylor. I also enjoyed how that relationship started entered the picture. I did think both characters could have been developed more and maybe have spent less time on the actual history of the religion. Felt the end was rushed and just a little too ‘out there’ for me. I understand it’s a novella therefore short but I still felt at the end not completely satisfied that I had with the previous ones.  


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