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Customer Reviews: 7
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Helpful Votes: 19




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Pat Nelson Childs "Author of The Chronicles of Firma" RSS Feed (Ann Arbor, MI USA)

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The Filly
The Filly
by Mark R. Probst
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from $2.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboy Love in the Rugged Old West, November 10, 2007
This review is from: The Filly (Paperback)
I have never read a western novel. I have nothing against them. I just never had the urge. I am not a huge fan of American-style movie westerns either. Give me the dark, stylized Italian ones any day of the week. I also hated "Brokeback Mountain", which was the only thing I had ever encountered involving gay cowboys. That being the case, I started Mark R Probst's, debut novel, "The Filly", with minimal expectations. To my surprise, I found the book to be a charming, engrossing and thoroughly entertaining read.

The story in a nutshell: Handsome cowboy Travis, new in town, breezes into the general store where he encounters teenaged bookworm Ethan. Sparks fly. Travis finds work at the local ranch. Travis and Ethan become friends and Travis talks Ethan into signing onto a 900-mile cattle drive. En route, Ethan spies Travis bathing in the river and the sight of the water glistening off his lean, well-muscled frame makes the young man go all light-headed (as all the blood rushes from his head down into his quivering young loins). There's much more to the story of course, but it isn't very long so I don't want to give anything else away.

There are a few stock characters in the book (some of the other cowboys are fairly interchangeable, for example), but they all add to the rustic, "Zane Grey" feel of the book, so it's okay. As to the main characters, Travis and Ethan, they are both well-developed and highly likeable, and the evolution of their relationship is both touching and believable. Now, for those of you looking for a one-handed read, you won't find it here. What sex there is in the book is mostly implied, which makes it an ideal read for teens as well as adults.

Being an author myself, I quibble a bit with a few of the author's word choices, but none of those really interfered with my overall enjoyment of the book enough so that I feel they need to be mentioned here. All in all, "The Filly" is a great first novel. It grabbed me early and kept me wanting to turn the pages right up through to the end. I look forward to reading Mark Probst's future works.

- Pat Nelson Childs, author of Orphan's Quest


Wire Waltz
Wire Waltz
31 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and Emotional, August 2, 2007
This review is from: Wire Waltz (Audio CD)
I caught just a few bars of Megan Hickey's "Modern Love" cover in an advertisment for some movie about Princess Di. It was so awesome that I had to hunt down who had recorded it. Boy was I glad I did. Not only is that cover fantastic (I never much cared for the original Bowie version, truth be told), but the rest of "Wire Waltz", the second release by The Last Town Chorus, is equally satisfying. Hickey's slow, deliberate croon pushes all my emo buttons. Her lap steel guitar is what gives the band its signature sound, along with the band's strictly minimalist approach to studio production, which I find a pleasant alternative to so much of the overdubbed pop-rock that's out there today.

Okay I admit, I know nothing about music, which is why I dont usually review it. This cd really grabbed me though, so I had to share my feelings and give the band some props. I'm not an expert, but I like what I like - and this I like, very much. I'll definitely be purchasing (and possibly reviewing) their previous, self-titled release as well.


Doo-Lang Love
Doo-Lang Love
by Chad Sosna
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.87
22 used & new from $2.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold on for a Great Ride!, May 14, 2007
This review is from: Doo-Lang Love (Paperback)
Right off the bat, I have to apologize to the author. When I read the premise for this book, I really didn't expect much from it. I figured it for yet another self-indulgent gay potboiler long on gratuitous sex and short on substance. It gives me great pleasure to admit how totally wrong I was. Chad Sosna's novel, Doo-Lang Love, is not only a fast and fun read, but also packs plenty of emotional punch. Yes, it has sex, some of it explicit, but none of it gratuitous. Everything in Sosna's book, even the sex, works to move the story forward - and a great story it is.

The novel's protagonist, Rex, is a young gay man who moves to Chicago with no money and no plans. He tries hustling at first, but soon stumbles onto a job at a vintage record store, where his life is immediately complicated by an array of eclectic characters. There's Rodney, the reluctant bisexual, David, the music mogul and a drag queen girl group called the Girlettes, who dream of making it big one day. All Rex wants is a good man and a steady paycheck, but life, as it turns out, has much more in store for him.

All of the characters in Doo-Lang Love are portrayed with complexity and depth, and the story pulls you in and keeps you there with a sense of realism that almost makes you feel like you're standing there watching it happen. The only line in the entire book that I didn't like was the very last sentence. I'm not going to spoil things by quoting it, but it made me groan, and not in a good way. That aside, though, Sosna's debut novel is a total charmer. I was genuinely sorry when I reached the end and had to say goodbye to Rex and to the rest of these amazing characters, who all felt by then like old friends.


Seventy Times Seven
Seventy Times Seven
by Salvatore Sapienza
Edition: Paperback
40 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Satisfying Read, May 6, 2007
This review is from: Seventy Times Seven (Paperback)
Seventy Times Seven was a tough read for me. As a somewhat bitterly ex-catholic gay boy who has been battling HIV for eleven years, I found that many parts of Sal Sapienza's novel hit very close to home. After I reached the end, though, I recognized that the journey had been well worth it, despite the emotional bumps I hit along the way.

The story's main character is Vito, a cute gay Italian boy who is just getting ready to take final vows in his Catholic brotherhood. The book chronicles his struggle to incorporate his religious calling with his more sensual, secular urgings. To be honest, I liked Vito. I wanted to sleep with Vito, but I didn't identify with Vito - not one bit. I empathized much more with his best friend Tim, a light-hearted hedonist who seems to take great delight in leading his conflicted friend astray. My guess is that most gay guys who, like me, reached young adulthood in the eighties will also more closely identify with Tim. To me, he is more or less the embodiment of gay eighties culture - chastened somewhat by the looming threat of AIDS, but still trying to live life to the fullest.

And speaking of gay eighties cultural references - Sapienza uses them liberally, but not gratuitously, throughout the book. He weaves the pop songs and mega-stars from that time right into the story, using them as metaphors for the various issues that Vito struggles with along the way. This gives the novel the quality of a modern-day parable, and though I'm sure I'm not the only reader who wanted to shake Vito by the shoulders from time to time and scream "Are you out of your mind?", I found his crisis, as a whole, to be genuine and believable.

A fine first novel by Sal Sapienza. It had a nice, steady pace, well developed characters and just enough pathos to engage readers emotionally without carrying them into the realm of soap opera. Seventy Times Seven roughed me up a bit emotionally, but in the end it left me feeling hopeful about myself and about life in general. Can one ask any more of a novel than that?


Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 1)
Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
245 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Utterly Engrossing Series!, March 30, 2007
I picked up this series because I was in the process of writing a fantasy novel with a gay hero and I wanted to see what other works were out there. I had never read Ms. Lackey's work, so I didn't know what to expect. I was not just pleasantly surprised by this trilogy, I was completely captivated by it and very sad when I reached the final page. The plot is interesting and the pace is quick. The characters, especially the hero Vanyel, are extremely sympathetic, primarily due to the fact that they are so flawed. Some may find the romance a bit sappy, but I'm the first to admit that I dig that kind of thing and you'll see it in my own novels as well (Orphan's Quest (Chronicles of Firma, Book One)). Best of all for me, though, was the fact that although her hero is unapologetically gay, the series does not become mired in its "gayness" as so many other works of gay-themed fiction I have read.

This trilogy gave me a great deal of inspiration to push on with my own fantasy aspirations. I owe Misty a big hug if we ever meet face to face. I highly recommend these three books. Whether you're gay or straight, you'll find them an excellent read and, like me, you'll be sorry to reach that last page.


Magic's Price (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 3)
Magic's Price (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 3)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
233 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Utterly Engrossing Series!, March 30, 2007
I picked up this series because I was in the process of writing a fantasy novel with a gay hero and I wanted to see what other works were out there. I had never read Ms. Lackey's work, so I didn't know what to expect. I was not just pleasantly surprised by this trilogy, I was completely captivated by it and very sad when I reached the final page. The plot is interesting and the pace is quick. The characters, especially the hero Vanyel, are extremely sympathetic, primarily due to the fact that they are so flawed. Some may find the romance a bit sappy, but I'm the first to admit that I dig that kind of thing and you'll see it in my own novels as well.Orphan's Quest (Chronicles of Firma, Book One) Best of all for me, though, was the fact that although her hero is unapologetically gay, the series does not become mired in its "gayness" as so many other works of gay-themed fiction I have read.

This trilogy gave me a great deal of inspiration to push on with my own fantasy aspirations. I owe Misty a big hug if we ever meet face to face. I highly recommend these three books. Whether you're gay or straight, you'll find them an excellent read and, like me, you'll be sorry to reach that last page.


Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 2)
Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 2)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
228 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Utterly Engrossing Series!, March 30, 2007
I picked up this series because I was in the process of writing a fantasy novel with a gay hero and I wanted to see what other works were out there. I had never read Ms. Lackey's work, so I didn't know what to expect. I was not just pleasantly surprised by this trilogy, I was completely captivated by it and very sad when I reached the final page. The plot is interesting and the pace is quick. The characters, especially the hero Vanyel, are extremely sympathetic, primarily due to the fact that they are so flawed. Some may find the romance a bit sappy, but I'm the first to admit that I dig that kind of thing and you'll see it in my own novels as well.Orphan's Quest (Chronicles of Firma, Book One) Best of all for me, though, was the fact that although her hero is unapologetically gay, the series does not become mired in its "gayness" as so many other works of gay-themed fiction I have read.

This trilogy gave me a great deal of inspiration to push on with my own fantasy aspirations. I owe Misty a big hug if we ever meet face to face. I highly recommend these three books. Whether you're gay or straight, you'll find them an excellent read and, like me, you'll be sorry to reach that last page.


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