Review: Hathonatum by Taylin Clavelli

Hathonatum by Taylin Clavelli

Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
 Publisher: MLR Press | Smashwords
Length: Novel (~300 pages)

An interesting take on star-crossed lovers. A soulmate story that crosses dimensions. This review is littered with spoilers, so beware. Long story short, a very sweet romance with some great characters and fantastic world building.

I was drawn to this novel for two reasons. I love Egypt and the mythology and history of that country. The other was the promise of interspecies romance. Taylin delivered beautifully on both. Her research and knowledge of Egypt shone in this novel and in her interview, she talks about her own love for Egypt. And while Hathonatum isn’t all that different from humans, there are definite differences between biology, culture, and world.

Ben is an archaeologist and one of the reasons he’s drawn to Egypt is that in his past life he was the king’s consort of a sort. And Hathonatum (in a very interesting way I won’t go into to avoid too many spoilers) was that king.

The worldbuilding really shines in this story with the layers of past lives, soul mates, and alien cultures. It seems like a huge mash up, but it works.

Ben, the human, knows what he wants. And when he meets Hathonatum, he knows this is the man he’s been waiting for. They are drawn together. Hathonatum was there specifically for Ben, because he knows Ben is his soulmate. Hathonatum is the capable, older, confident man of the relationship, but doesn’t bully Ben. There is support and love.

Though the story has one (unnecessary in my opinion) relationship set back, for the most part there isn’t much relationship angst. (Ugh relationship angst… not my fave.). The conflict is with the world out there, with other characters, with other aliens with agendas, it isn’t between the two main relationship characters. So, cheers for that.

Ben’s brother is a pretty significant character in this book. Jared is awesome and supportive and makes me wish I had a sibling like him. Their closeness is a gem and how they will do anything for each other. I’m happy to see strong family support.

My biggest gripe has nothing to do with the relationship, but one aspect of the worldbuilding. I had issues with the time slip between dimensions. I’m wondering if I missed some vital clue in my reading. So an hour in Hathonatum’s dimension is a week or so on Earth. But we have a couple where one half is on this side and the other half is on that side, but there is no problem with the time slip with them. I didn’t understand why. There was another issue with DNA sequencing to make earthlings and Hathonatum’s people age at the same rate (apparently Hathonatum’s people are very long lived)… but I wasn’t sure if this was attached to the time slip, and if so, why would it matter if the human was in the other dimension. It seems he would age at the speed of whatever time he was in (see author’s comment explaining where I got it wrong!). So, those two things kinda nagged at me, but if you’re not picky about details like these, they shouldn’t bother you to enjoying this romantic story as a whole.

I wanted more closure on Jared getting the King’s DNA (for the aging issue mentioned above) and what exactly that meant. Lots of hubbaloo and hinting with no actual follow through. Then I found out this was book one of a series, and I’m betting this is going to continue in the next book, which has me excited and eager to find out what is up with the DNA sharing!

All in all, a satisfying story and a fairly smooth read. The characters are likable, you want to root for the romance, and the world is interesting. Interesting teasers for what might be unveiled in the next book. Definitely worth a read to anyone interested in star-crossed/soulmate type stories.

Check out Taylin’s guest post on why she chose Egypt as her settling! Guest Post Taylin Clavelli

Review: Behind the Stick


Behind the Stick by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
 AmazonApple | Kobo
Length: Novel (370 pages)

Luka is a hot, bulky, sweet guy who saves people’s lives for a living. He’s a bit of a mamma’s boy, but his respect for his mother his part of his charm. He doesn’t want to disappoint her, but feels horribly disappointed in the fact that his mother has issues with her son dating a white man.

Kyle is a bartender who has an on again off again booty call with his business partner/ex and his boyfriend. He’s got a bother he’s really close to, is very proud of his business, and is well put together.

Both of these guys are confident, and they know what they want. They are equals. I loved that about them. (Equal partners are very important to me.)

This is a character driven romance about these two guys coming together, finding ways to include each other in their busy lives, dealing with frustratingly prejudiced family members, and dealing with being attacked by gay bashers. If you’re looking for a story with a lot of external plot, this is probably not your story.

But if you’re looking for heart, this story has mountains of it.

First, I did not read the previous books to this series, and I think that was a detriment. There are a lot of characters, so many, in fact, that I lost track of who was who. I’m sure if I’d read the previous novels, I would have been more grounded. So, I focused on Kyle and Luka and their families.

Second, when I agreed to read and review this book, though the blurb did say MMMM menage, I did not think ‘oh this meant open relationships’. Smack myself in the head—that’s exactly what it meant. So… that was a sideswipe for me, because, I don’t like open relationship romances, and I would not have picked up this book if I had put two and two together. (so, I am surgically removing this part from my rating, but I wanted other readers to be aware of it in case that wasn’t their cup of tea.)

I like my love between romantic partners to be about the romance, not just the sex. So, one of the sex scenes felt very impersonal (the mmmm hook up) and didn’t really work for me. I found myself skimming them. Others, however, were spot on spicy!

The book really dove into the life of the characters, settling into the every day elements that define them. The emotional attachment the two men developed for each other and how they banded together against the adversarial world was the strength of this book.

I felt the book really gripped me once the characters were attacked (is that horrible, I want to say that’s kinda horrible). It was a faster paced read as they dealt with their own reactions and how such violence effected them personally and their relationship. My heart went out to these guys, because I just wanted them to be happy.

So, if you’re keen on character driven almost slice of life stories, with some emotional hurt/comfort and recovery, this is your book. If you dig open relationships and want to sink your teeth into an mmmm sex scene, this is most definitely your book.

Check out my interview with the authors on why they chose to write interracial romance! Author Interview with K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Great Review for Afflicted to the Core

Crucify my Love had great things to say about Afflicted to the Core (she read the previous novella’s too, what a fast reader!)

Review: Afflicted to the Core – Nat Kennedy ||+Release Blitz||

6 out of 6 stars!

“Afflicted to the Core” is the first full novel set in the universe of “Wielder World” series and its third installment. As you can easily guess, a larger number of pages translates into content, gives the author much more possibilities, and we really see it in this book. Let’s start with the fact that in “Afflicted to the Core” we can find many things that were more or less missing in the novellas, and so we have here everything that constitutes the strength of this novel and of the whole series – detailed construction of the world, characters and relationship between them, suspenseful, really interesting action, its unexpected twists, romantic theme, sex scenes, elements of the drama. In short, “Afflicted to the Core” is a novel, not just a novella, for a reason. What’s more, this time the author really shows us what she can do, as she finally has a possibility to spread her wings, which she undoubtedly does.

Check out the full review and the other reviews on her website.

Gay Fantasy Book Reviews


On a wild hair, I’ve opened myself up to book reviews! Of the gay fantasy kind (though, I’ll take horror, scifi and detective stories as well.)

I’m not a super fast reader so I’m going to start with one a month and see where I go from there. I totally take on the rule that if I am not engaged in the first three or so chapters, I’m skipping it. Sorry! But life is short and there are a lot of books out there.

And I have another rule, I can’t know you. Sorry about that, too, but I feel friendships are more important that reviews.

Review Policy

So, send your gay genre fiction my way and see if we’re a match.