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Meatworks
Meet Desmond Poole, 33, who lost his right hand some months ago and can't remember what happened. Desmond was an underarchiever before but since he lost his hand he is just one thing: useless. He is drowning his sorrow in vodka, skips on purpose the training which would help him to master his prosthetic and is pissed off by everyone and everything. Social Services wants to help him and forces him to attent to an amputee support group. Desmond expects a boring group and self-pitying stories, instead he meets hot and young rudeboy Corey Steiner.

Meet Corey Steiner, 22, who lost his lower arm three years ago but works his prosthetic like an extension of his own body. He even toys with the electronics of his robotic limb. Corey is smitten by Desmond's rusty, crude charme and trys to woo him. Patience isn't Corey's best trait and when Desmond doesn't tell him about the ties he still has with his ex-boyfriend, all hell breaks loose. Because Desmond's ex-boyfriend is someone they both know...

Sounds like a normal but slightly futuristic romance? Nope, not Meatworks.

First. The book is set in Riverside and Black Rock, some parts of Buffalo "you don't want to live unless you feel particularly brave, lucky, desperate or stubborn" (quote by the author from 'About this Story').

Second. Desmond might be our MC but he is not a hero. He can be a real pain in the arse and most of the time he is just that. Nevertheless I fell for him, like Corey did. Even though half the time he drowns in self-pity and alcohol and he is prickly and rude. But deep down he is vulnerable, not completely over the break-up with his ex-boyfriend, and though he falls for Corey, he isn't the best at being honest and doing all these things a relationship requires.

Third. Corey might be hot and funny and great with his prosthetic but he isn't perfect boyfriend material either. Too impatient and maybe too young for Desmond.
You have to see for yourself if they both can make their relationship work.

It might sound like a weird kink of mine but I loved the parts about the prosthetics and how this robotic world worked. Everything is done by robotics, mobiles or computers were never developed. It's kind of spooky to get everything picked by them (the robotics). For example they pick your favourite music and, if you are not alone, they try to find a perfect match for you and your company. They make you coffee, clean your house or flat, dim the lights for you, and do everything else as well. Desmond hates it. He finds it creepy to be 'read' by them all the time. In his own flat he has only old stuff and no robotics around him (except for his new hand of course). And I could totally relate to him.

It sounds super fucking creepy to me. More than being watched by NSA or being analyzed by google algorithms all the time...

Yes, Meatworks was a fantastic read for me. Interesting, captivating and provoking with its themes and its main characters. And I loved the short streaks of romance and the sex [livejournal.com profile] jordan_c_price has woven inbetween all the grossness.
I'll need to read more books by her. Soon.

Oh, and I really love the title and the cover. Both are just perfect for Desmond's story.
One last thing: I read this book because Santino Hassell recced it. I completely trust that dude. :D
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ThePrinceAndTheProgram This review contains spoiler - I don't know if it's possible to write a spoiler free rev about this book.
[livejournal.com profile] anemonen, it might be helpful :)

Canada 2012. Mordred, King Arthur's bastard son and murderer of his father, is banned to seven years of human living in Toronto. The reason for this punishment was his crime seven months ago in Japan. Mordred has to find a job soon. He must earn some money for the living because he can't use his magic properly, his arcane bank account is closed and his human bank account is in dept. He wants to be a software engineer although his c++ skills aren't the best. But he has some experience of fairy life (around 1,500 years), he is smart, loves logic and is very good at mathematics and statistics. Mori Pendragon is lucky. He gets a job in a small start-up.

Yes, that is just the start of the story.
Mori becomes periously addicted to coffee, he recognizes that he hates ping-pong and starts to fancy the head developer of the company, Alan. He hasn't met Alan in person yet, the company has a mole whistle-blowing its secrets, the new CEO is a slavedriver, intelligence of different countries are blocking the streets and the arcane security service sees a concentration of demon powers in Toronto. If that aren't enough problems, Mori finds out that Alan is an electronical form of Alan Turing, technical genius died 1954 in London, who lives now in the company's Apple Mac book. And Alan isn't interested in giving up his electronical form of living.

Perplexed? Yep, that's going to happen when you read The Prince and the Program. This book is full of odd and bizarre ideas challeging the reader. I asked myself more than once if this book was too high for me, in particular when Alan discussed with Mori his hypothesis 'to see the person (engineer) behind the program' as a short version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. At that moment I wasn't sure, if I needed more brain cells or some doors of preception to get the meaning. But at other moments I was squeaking with joy. Eg when Mori had to fundle the nose of a Bansky rat to get some help or while he was chatting with Alan electronically. I loved their conversation.

banksy-toronto4 I also appreciated Aldous Mercer's way of telling Alan Turing's sad story. He didn't pity him (although his story as a convicted homosexuell in the UK after WWII is one to be pitied) and transformed his character into one radiating intelligence, hope and humour. Well done.

But I do have two complaints about The Prince and the Program:
First, I loved Mori and wasn't amused when Alan didn't give him a chance. I mean, this old and experienced soul fell for someone he couldn't even see most of the time. That was awesome. And Alan? Said 'sorry' and nothing more. Mori took his repeated rejection (they were in a time wrap at these moments) with dignity and my heart was bleeding for him. I really liked Alan in the beginning but he lost some of his appeal in the end.
Second, this book is announced as book one of The Mordred Saga but I couldn't find a hint about a sequel, not on Aldous Mercer's homepage, not on Amazon or on Goodreads. I f**king hate THIS situation! Now I'm asking myself: Will there be a sequel? If so, when? Will Mori be able to gain Alan's love? I want to know what's going to HAPPEN. Dear author, will you PLEASE give your readers some information. Thank you!

I wrote this rev some time ago and there is still no new information. I'm screwed.

Bansky Rat Picture by Martinho/Martin Reis.
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This book is summer, love and hapiness. It melted my heart with its wonderful words, its touching story and its gorgeous characters. I could tell you a lot about the story but that would just spoil the fun. Be warned it's not an action or adventurous story, the pacing is slow but never boring.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a coming of age story. We first meet Aristotle (Ari) and Dante when they are 15 and become friends. The reader follows their lives until they both nearly turn 18. The story is told from Ari's pov. He is a typical teenager looking for his place in the world. At first he doesn't know what he wants and where he fits. And when Ari has an idea he denies it. Although he's often an angry and brooding kid he has a great sense of humour. His thoughts made me (often) grin like a Cheshire Cat while reading.

For example at the beginning when he listens to two guys talking bullshit about girls:

"And it really depressed me that there was the distinct possibility that I was going to grow up and be like one of those assholes. A girl is like a tree? Yeah, and a guy is about as smart as a piece of dead wood infested with termites."


In a way Dante is Ari's opposite. He's candid and friendly. He loves books and - even better - knows himself and what he wants to do with his life. I loved him although I saw him only through Ari's eyes. But that wasn't a problem because Ari loves his friend Dante too:

"I thought of Dante and wondered about him. And it seemed to me that Dante's face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness. Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?"


As different as they are they do have a lot in common: They have a similar sense of humour, both have grandparents who immigrated from Mexico into the US and they share a passion for strange games.

I not only loved Ari and Dante but the side characters (aka their parents) too. All had their flaws (some minor, some major) hence were so loveable. Their interactions just felt real:

"My mother would listen sometimes as my father and I talked about B. But she would never say a word. I loved her for her silence. Or maybe I just understood it. And loved my father too, for the careful way he spoke. I came to understand that my father was a careful man. To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing."


I've just re-read the last 15% while writing this review and there are so many great sentences in this book... I could go on and on.

Some questions about Ari's brother were still unanswered at the end but I didn't care and was quite satisfied with the whole story. If you like Young Adult LGBT books and haven't read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe yet, go and get it. Highly recommended!
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Text?
Every morning at six o'clock Liam waits at the station for the train to Perth where he is working. Every morning Liam is watching for Jay. He doesn't know Jay's real name but since Jay had worn a T-Shirt with the letter J, he calls him Jay in his mind. Jay is handsome, lithe and fancy. You know just from seeing him that he's gay. Liam envys Jay for being out and proud. Though Liam knows deep down, he is gay too, he doesn't want to admit it. He is afraid of loosing the support of his family, being one of five boys and having a close-minded father. His family helped him through a hard time in his life and Liam does not only love them dearly but think he owes them. But Jay is irresistible. The one day Liam misses his train in the morning, faith is going to surprise him...

Loving Jay was a wonderful and funny read for me. Being in Liam's head was hilarious. Yes, he did have a complex about his sexuality and still suffered from the aftermath of a bad injury. But, and that's the fun about Loving Jay, he had a wonderful sense of humour and an unique way of thinking about life. An example? He described his not-now-but-maybe-soon-outing as a herd of cows. No, I'm not kiddin you, though I admit, this was one of the funniest metaphors I've ever read about. I cried tears of laughter while reading Loving Jay, especially at the beginning. And although he told himself all the time about not being gay at all, the reader and Liam himself couldn't take it seriously. After the fifth or sixth repition it became a running gag.

And Jay. OMG, I loved Jay. He was such a sweetie. Once he started talking there was no escape. He called it 'verbal diarrhoea' and it just was. He was comenting on his babbling all the time and one can't do a thing about it than laugh. Renea Kaye didn't do only fluffy but some serious topics in Loving Jay too. There was gay bashing, PTSD and Liam's problem with coming out. Nonetheless the book was charming and easy to read. This might be a problem for some readers - the combination of the light and fluffy style with a lot of gay clichés (all gathered in Jay's character). I had no problem with the aforementioned clichés but I read the book in a very relaxed mood during holiday. And it helped getting me even more relaxed. I recommend to read Loving Jay during holiday or on some other occasion while you are able to relax. If you do so, you'll fall for Jay as much as Liam did. Promised.

Loving Jay is a book for romantics. I thought it was nearly too perfect in the end. But, as you may know by now, I'm the first complaining about cheesiness. I like some struggle (even at the end) or some imperfections because that's imo just the way life is. Yes, I'm way more realist than romanticist. Sorry about that.
Nonetheless I really liked Loving Jay because of the awesome MCs and therefore I didn't begrudge them their happy ending. I loved Renea Kaye's writing and hope to read more from her. While I worked at the German version of this review I started to re-read the whole story. The second time was as enjoyable as the first.

All in all Loving Jay was a 4,5 stars read for me.
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Text?Afterimage is a book for mature readers!
This review contains minor spoilers for Evenfall, book one of In the Company of Shadows.

Sin suffers from hallucinations and flashbacks and struggles to keep his fragile state of mind a secret from his partner and lover Boyd. Sin fears he'll fall into one of his fits and then there is no chance of not hurting Boyd.
Boyd has different problems. He's got a promotion from Carthart and can train to become a level 10 agent. That means months of training, isolated on the agency compound even from his partner Sin. Boyd is wary about doing it. He doesn't want to be separated from Sin and he knows the training is going to be tough shit. On the contrary he is flattered about Carthart's idea. He wishes people wouldn't only see Vivienne Beaulieu's son or Sin's partner when they look at him. He wants to be respected for his own archievements.
Both don't know yet that Sin's secrecies and Boyd's training will put them literally into hell...

You think Evenfall was a tough story? You are wrong. At the end of the first book there is hope for these boys and their relationship. In Afterimage you can watch this hope gutter away. It was horrible to read. At the end you feel like someone stomped on your heart, ripped it into pieces and threw it all away. I really was a mess after finishing this book. There was a tiny little glimpse of something (I wouldn't dare to call it hope) but - yeah - I saw it, thank you Ais and Sonny.

What can I say. This book let its readers suffer. Badly. But, and that's a huge BUT, I couldn't put it down. I tried it between chapter 7 and 11 (around 250 pages if my memory doesn't play tricks) and only managed it because I know from experience that nobody likes me after a night I got only four or less hours of sleep.
Afterimage was full of action and one watched Boyd and Sin having the worst timing of all. And when I started to think it couldn't get worser, yepp, I was wrong. Sin's mental status drove me crazy. Boyd's ego trip made me want to cry and they were both so unhealthy for each other. Worst of all, they recognized that for themselves.Sin_Evenfall

Believe me, all the hurt and angst was worth it. They were unhealthy for each other most of the time in Afterimage but they started to grow from it. And they follow this path in the next book of the series - The Interludes. Even when these are 'just' a collection of shorter stories they are essential to the storyline. Don't skip them. They'll give you kind of a break from all the suffering in Afterimage.

It may sound like I didn't liked this book. Wrong, I loved Afterimage. There were a lot of awesome things in this book. So much action, breath taking moments and all the side characters the reader got to know better. The guys from Carthart's unit, the other level 10 trainees, Ann and - oh yeah - Kassian. And the end. OMG, this end was fabulous. Didn't I see it coming at the end of Evenfall? It was nice to see that I got the hint. It was also good to see that not only Boyd could get lost in self-loathing but Sin suffered from the same 'virtue'.

All in all Afterimage was a gorgeous second book of the In the Company of Shadows series. It was frightening to see the agency in full power. And one got really sick about this 'the end justifies the means'-mentality. I was breathless and curious in the end. What would happen to all these beloved and detested characters? If you feel like this when you finished Afterimage you are going to love The Interludes. Promised.

Pic: Best incarnation of Sin ever, Jason Muirbrook, Picture by Groupmodels. Don't fear, Boyd's picture is coming in my next review of this series. ^^

Of course, Afterimage was a 5 star read.
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Text?Be aware Evenfall is a book for mature readers! It's the first part of the In the Company of Shadows series.

After WWIII. Most of the big cities have been destroyed, the stratosphere is filled with ashes and the temperature is lower than before. Humankind has been depleted and the balance of political power is disturbed. Activists and terrorists are powerful forces against governments. One secret organisation fights against terror more often unfair than fair. Not many people know about it and the few who know call it the Agency.

Long black hair, dark colour, green almond-shaped eyes, tall, thin, strong - Sin (28).
Since the age of 14 Hsin (Sin) Lui Vega has been the best, dangerous and notorious assassin of the Agency. Nobody is as deadly and as perilous as Sin. They call him crazy, monster and freak. His former four partners are dead, one doctor is a drivelling wreck and if Sin freaks out no one is safe, neither friend nor foe. At the moment he lives in a box on the Maximum Security ward...



Blond long hair, honey brown eyes, short, thin, pretty - Boyd (19).
Since 'the incident' Boyd Beaulieu lives in a void. He doesn't care if he dies or feels nothing. Boyd vegetates. When the Agency wants to reactivate Sin, Vivienne Beaulieu, second in command of the Agency, recommends her good-for-nothing son as Sin's partner. Surprinsingly Boyd wins out over the other attendees and becomes Sin's partner. The odds are not in Boyd's favour...

Evenfall. Wow, a tough story that takes place in a rough world. From the beginning I was hooked. One sentence did the trick:

"Officer Luke Gerant had seen several cells in Maximum Security but none of them were quite like this, which had been built specifically for the highly unpredictable man inside."


After that I met Sin for the first time and nearly drooled over my e-reader:

"Are you hungry?"
"No. After six months on a liquid diet, I'm watching my figure."


Then I finally met Boyd and fell head over heels in love with this story. It was so fascinating. How they first met, how they interacted, how they became friends, how they lusted after each other (and couldn't do a thing right), how they became lovers after what felt like an eternatiy, how they talked or acted mostly at the wrong time or the wrong place. Even the long inner monologues of them both couldn't lessen my elation.
It was a rollercoaster and I wanted to punch Boyd and Sin so many times. I screamed at them, cried angry tears and cursed like a sailor. I love these guys but they are so annyoing.

The story is not for the faint of heart. There are not only the assassinations which are part of their job description, but the reader has to deal with a lot of psychological violence too. Some of it put me into an emotional turmoil, especially meetings with Vivienne, Boyd's mother. I dispise her like I dispise Umbridge (my worst female character ever). I thought the worst mother figure so far has been Evelyn D'Amato from Close Protection but she is a lightweight compared to Vivienne Beaulieu. Urgh, this woman makes me sick.




Of course Sin is one of the most fascinating and interesting characters ever. Anyhow it is Boyd I love a bit more than Sin. Yes, he is emo, does so many stupid things (although considered his age Sin is quite bad too) and his thoughts are running in depressing cicles but I can't help myself. Boyd reminds me not only of my own teenage years, he is imo the character who changes the most over time. Nonetheless he drove me crazy with his self-flagellation in this book. At the end of Evenfall Sin's and Boyd's relationship is still in flux. Be prepared for some more shit coming their way...

Around the date this review was first published (May 2014) one could search for a new version of Evenfall. Sonny (Santino Hassell) and Ais have edited the book and cut it in two parts. If I read it correctly this 'Director's Cut' should have around 300 pages less per book. (The first part is already published.) It's a good thing because this version contains extended descriptions of thoughts and places which aren't all essential. I'm planning to compare both versions. Yes, In the Company of Shadows is definitely re-read material.

Pic by Serrival on devianart.

If you love action, m-m, some gorgeous MCs and a dark story, give this series a try. Highly recommended.

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