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Book Review: Black Forest, by Laramie Dean

I accepted a review copy of Laramie Dean’s Black Forest for review through Pride Book Tours. And I try really hard to stay on top of any commitment I make. But I owe profuse apologies for this one. I got buried in schoolwork and just had to set the book aside for about two weeks and didn’t get it done in time. It sat on my side table, haunting me in a manner truly worthy of its content.

black forest cover

Nathan has always been haunted by what he calls “deaders,” frightening, disfigured creatures—once human but now hungry and relentless ghosts. After a séance to banish them goes awry, Nathan escapes high school to start over at Waxman University in idyllic Garden City, Montana. But when young men begin to go missing from campus, Nathan finds that the deaders have returned, more frightening and hungrier than ever.

With the help of the mysterious Theo, Nathan seeks to learn the truth behind the disappearances. But something worse than the deaders begins to haunt Nathan . . . something with glowing yellow eyes and giant wings. As reality grows thin, things emerge from the cracks. Is Theo what he seems? Or could he be some kind of monster? Will Nathan learn the truth before he vanishes into the darkness? 

my review

I’m torn about how to feel about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it. I liked the realness of it and Nathan’s unreliable self-destructiveness. I thought the writing purple as hell, which will probably bother some people, but I enjoy it. But on the other, I felt like (after a strong start) the book flagged, and I got bored.

Plus, the blurb talks about Theo and disappearances, etc. Theo and Nathan don’t truly meet until well PAST THE HALFWAY MARK. So, I have to quibble with that being in the blurb as if it’s the most significant plotline. It’s important, don’t get me wrong. But if I have to read 200+ pages before I get to it, I can’t consider it prime real estate blurb-worthy.

All in all, this is atmospheric and mind-bending (if at times mind-numbing). But I enjoyed more of it than I didn’t. So, I’ll give it a thumbs-up.

Other Reviews:

Black Forest by Laramie Dean _ Book Review


tad md neu

Book Review: T.A.D., by M.D. Neu

I was given a free Audible code for a copy of T.A.D., by M.D. Neu.

t.a.d. m.d. neu

Tad bounces around in time and watches mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people—he’s an Angel of Death.

Doug is a fun-loving drama queen. He’s an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams, but despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction.

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and they start a friendship that shapes them both and may last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?

I thought that this was really quite sweet. I love platonic love stories. Not that no characters find romance or not even that the characters don’t have sex. But the primary love of the story isn’t a romantic love and I adored that. Given this fact, I think some people might quibble with it being called a romance. But I think it fits the genre, even if on the edge. Love is certainly the point.

Set in 2002, amidst the global unrest post-September 11, the book has an emotionally charged setting. And Neu uses it to it’s fullest, giving us characters who call New York home. I thought Doug is a lovely character, if a little emotionally messy for much of the book. Tad is more complicated, for obvious reasons, but I liked him too (though not all the time(s)). And there are a host of fun side characters, though you don’t get to know them too well.

The writing is quite readable and it’s well narrated (by Steve Connor). It did feel a little slow at times. But not enough to drag too badly. All in all, a strong showing, even if it probably won’t top my favorites list.

tad photo

Other Reviews:

T.A.D by M.D. Neu

T.A.D by M.D. Neu #LGBT #Review #Paranorml #GayFiction


The New Man

Book Review of The New Man, by Jeffrey Welker

I received a copy of The New Man from the author, Jeffrey Welker.

Description from Goodreads:
Found documents in a medieval Polish ruin reveal strange secrets from a past best forgotten. The eternal struggle to transcend the limitations of the human body and the human consciousness is no modern invention. Travel the ancient world with the deeply flawed and deeply curious Duke of Masovia as he perfects his art – the art of science, the art of alchemy, the art of necromancy – whatever it takes to achieve the ultimate goal: The New Man

Slow but enjoyable. It has a definite gothic horror feel. Imagine Victor Frankenstein had never found his moral compass and never saw the arrogance in playing god with the creation of life. Now give him the funds and resources to follow his experiments to their full, bloody conclusions. You will have Duke Siemowit II of Masivia. He is one scary son of gun.

But the diaries on which the book is based are his. So the gruesome tale is told entirely from his calm, collected, dispassionate point of view. He never flinches from his own depravities, in fact doesn’t even see them as problematic. Hundreds died at his hands, but it’s all in the name of ‘science,’ as far as he’s concerned. It’s chilling, his disregard for human life.

The writing is clean and easily readable, for the most part. I got REALLY tired of footnotes, though. They were interesting and definitely gave this work of fiction a more believable mien, but they became disruptive after a while.

All in all, a good read. It was slow, so I wouldn’t call it a page turner. But it’s thought provoking and for those who enjoy the gothic, this is worth picking up.