Scattered Thoughts Summary of Reviews for August 2013


August banner with pencils

August 2013 Review and Blog Summary:

5 Star Rating:

Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #3) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #4) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Wicked Guidance (Wicked’s Way #4) by Havan Fellows, contemporary
Wicked Incarcerations (Wicked’s Way #3) by Havan Fellows contemporarysummer images with book

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Chances Are (Chances Are #1) by Lee Brazil (4.5 stars) contemporary
Dance Only For Me (Dance With The Devil #6) by Megan Derr (4.75 stars) fantasy
Demolished by Astrid Amara (4 stars), contemporary
Home Sweet Home (Home #5) by T.A. Chase, (4.5 stars) contemporary
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #2) by Lee Brazil
The Beast Without by Christian Baines (4.75 stars) supernatural
Welcome, Brother (College Fun and Gays #5) by Erica Pike (4 stars) contemporary
Wicked Bindings (Wicked’s Ways #2) by Havan Fellows
Wicked Solutions (Wicked’s Ways #1) by Havan Fellows

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Burden by Annmarie McKenna (3.5 stars) contemporary
Faire Fugitive by Madeleine Ribbon (3.75 stars) fantasy
Fall For Me (Rock Gods #1) by Ann Lister, contemporary
Handle With Care by Josephine Myles (3.5 stars) contemporary
Mixed Tapes, Vol. 2 by Kris Jacen editor (3.5 stars) contemporary
Nischal (Leopard’s Spots #9) by Bailey Bradford (3.75 stars) supernatural
Subtle Innuendos (Mixed Tape series) by Z. Allora (3 stars) contemporary
The Boy Who Came In From The Cold by B.G. Thomas ((3 stars) contemporary

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings (2.75 stars) fantasy

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:

Aching For It (Dominican Heat #1) by Stanley Bennett Clay (1 star) contemporary

Other Blogs:
Author Spotlight: Havan Fellows    
Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil
Wait? That Was The Ending? A Writing Mini rant From Scattered Thoughts

Review: Aching For It (Dominican Heat, Book 1) by Stanley Bennett Clay


Rating: 1 star out of 5

Aching For ItHollywood photographer Jesse Lee Templeton III needs to put his ex boyfriend’s betrayal behind him.  So a  “sexcursion” to the Dominican Republic with a friend is just what Jesse feels he needs.  But a chance meeting at a bodega with worker Étienne Saldano changes their lives forever.  Etie is Jesse’s forever love just as Jesse is the person Etienne has always dreamed of.  When Jesse’s vacation comes to an end, neither man wants to part from the other.  With immigration laws standing in their way, can Jesse and Etie find their way to happiness and a life together?

Where to start, where to start?  Never has such a short book flummoxed me on so many areas.  This includes a schizophrenic writing style that alternates between Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest florid and common man/broken spanglish style.  Add to that unflattering and unappealing characters,  confused plot, immigration fraud, and a story that just stops cold.  The whole things just overwhelms me.

But let’s just start with the writing.  Here is a sample of one style found within the narrative:

Back in our room we attempted to wean ourselves from the blistering and bliss-filled heat of our passion in the shower, but even the tepid-to-cool water that rained upon us couldn’t put out the fire we ignited over and over with our kissing and soaping and sucking and cleansing and licking and f*&^g. We grew dangerously close to the scorch of unbearable pleasure, but our hearts gave us no choice. Our carnal expressions of love new and immortal were commands from our rapture we gladly obeyed.

Each night we fell asleep in each other’s arms. Each morning we awoke, still embraced. That all too brief time together couldn’t quench the thirst we had for each other. Our moments on the beach; during candlelight dinners when knowing mariachi underscored our telling glances; in each other’s arms, minds, bodies, souls and hearts created a pact of eternalness that we knew not even death could tear apart, though time loomed as a too strict overseer.

And there are pages containing  even more florid expressions of love.  Then as if someone flicked a switch, we get this:

“She come to my room, baby,” Étie tried to explain as calmly as possible, but he was obviously very upset. “And she drunk. I invite her in. We talk. I go to pee. Come back and she naked! I say to her, ‘What you doing, Francesca?’

I don’t know about Francesca, but I am giggling away.  And back and forth we go, from the supposedly profound and florid to the profane and in your face dialog.  From run on sentences that last a paragraph to short bursts of  “I am so sorry, Junie,” she boohooed softly.”  Boohooed?

Here is a more typical example:

Still, the paper-cut battles that lay ahead, the fight against the subtle tyranny of the heterosexual majority, and the trudging through the maze of that pejorative ignorance and polite dispassion, wearied me.

Rare black butterflies are we, our exoticness admired under glass, on the carnival stage, for the love we share. Our love is a love that speaks its name in tongues too foreign to be understood by those well-meaning, condescending heterosexist admirers, yet with a lilt that intrigues them enough to indulge in things they wouldn’t dare try within the civilized civility of their pristine opposite-sex existences. The very thought of a man lusting after his brother’s wife is a universal abhorrence. Fucking your gay brother’s partner? No problem.

Disturbing writing style aside, there is also the fact that Jesse is down in the Dominican Republic visiting The House of John, a brothel specializing in “young male sex workers, known as bugarrones, were readily available for as little as twenty American dollars” The younger the better.  Even the author has Jesse acknowledging that

“I was just another john at House of John, the notorious whorehouse gay Americanos frequented for the purpose of sexually exploiting Étie’s fellow countrymen.”

So the problem here is not exploitation of the poor young Dominican men but that it almost cost him Etie? I think you can see why Jesse is not the most endearing of characters.  There is a sex addicted, alcoholic sister involved, plus an acquaintance/friend turned enemy who acts as a foil for, well, everything.  We also have an occasional changing of POV from first person to third and back again.  And after plodding through 74 pages, the story just ends.  The author has indicated that Aching For It is just the first in a series, another fact that has me dumbfounded.

Still,  flip flops in the narrative such as these did make this story memorable, although not in a good way. From

Our carnal expressions of love new and immortal were commands from our rapture we gladly obeyed.


 “Ahhh!” Étie shrieked, “Ahhh! Ahhh! Ahhh! Papi, Ahhh!”

Well, finish it I did, further no more I go.  Even Yoda would not have the patience for this story, let alone a series.  I could keep quoting.  I could even keep mentioning further issues I had with plot and characterization.  But I won’t bother.  I won’t be recommending this book to anyone other than as an example of how not to write a story. Or even a sentence.  Just give Aching For It the pass it deserves.

 The  cover is lush and gorgeous, so undeserving of the story within. Cover design by Dar Albert Cover photography by Simedrol68, Allen Penton, Lunamarina/

Book Details:
ebook, 74 pages
Published April 19th 2013 by Ellora’s Cave Publishers Inc.
ISBN1419942867 (ISBN13: 9781419942860)
edition language

Its Official, Area 51 Exists! Plus The Week Ahead in Reviews


alien efaniroswell_e0 wavingIts official,  The government has finally stated that Area 51 exists after all!  The Washington Post reported yesterday that after all these years of speculation and wild reports, Area 51 is a real place.  What a stunning piece of stating the obvious!  Now the government isn’t admitting that those buildings are full of  aliens or spaceships of any kind.  Nope, just saying that hey, those really were the droids you were looking for inside those miles of barbed wire, high security fencing and soldiers.  No one fake Area 51 signknows what prompted this admission after all these years of denial but it is sure to make those believers of UFO’s, conspiracy theorists, and other diehard visionaries of the unknown to press for more information,  a fuller disclosure of exactly what is contained within those buildings the government has hidden away for such a long time.

I hope it’s aliens or spaceships or something wonderful.  Wouldn’t it be great for all those movies from Independence Day to 51 to be right?  Can the X Files Mulder and Scully be finally allowed that the truth really is out there? Can you imagine the pressure to finally let people inside the gates of that most hallowed UFO ground?  I would love to be there just to people watch.  It would be fantastic!

Of course, there is also a more serious downside to this article too.  That of the soldiers and workers stationed  within Area 51 who have been reporting for years that the place has made them ill, most of them tragically so.  And all the while they have been getting sick, they have  also been unable to tell Green alien perplexedpeople where they worked or what they were working on.  Still can’t.  What happens to them?  Government is not addressing that matter either.

I have to admit part of me never wants to see those gates opened to the public.  I love the mystery of it, the imaginations that have been set loose over the years by just the thought of the enigma that Area 51 represents.  I fear the actuality is far more mundane…like weapons from the Cold War or something similar.   I want there always to exist something unknown, something to pull us in, make us think or dream or even fear.  Something that pulls us out of ourselves and into the bigger picture.  Is that so bad?tiny alien

For now the question is moot.  The government has no intension of saying anything further about the matter.  While Area 51 finally exists (duh), as far as the government is concerned that’s it.  Just a sign, folks, ignore the men with the guns beside it.  These are not the droids you are looking for.  Well, you know what they say…..once the alien is out of the spaceship, its hard to cram them back in.  Just ask Orson Wells…..

Now on to the week ahead in reviews.  It is quite the mixed bag.  I am starting the week off with a book that by all accounts should be a must read for all writing classes and workshops as an example of how not to write a story.  From schizophrenic writing styles (more than one actually in one book) to awful characterizations, dialog that makes one cringe and an ending that just stops, well it has it all, just not in a good way.  Read the review just for the excerpts. Remarkable actually when I think about it. Then I am starting on the second group of stories from the Pulp Friction authors, this time Lee Brazil and the Chances Are series,  They are really good, I think you will love them.  I am also working on another mini rant, this time called The Case of the Missing Aha Moment.  I hope to have that one for you by Saturday.  If not, it will slide into next week and I will substitute a review on Saturday instead.

Monday,  Aug. 19:                 Aching For It by Stanley Bennett Clay

Tuesday, Aug. 20:                  Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Wednesday, Aug. 21:           Second Chances Are by Lee Brazil

Thursday, Aug. 22:                Subtle Innuendos by Z. Allora

Friday, Aug. 23:                      Burden by Annmarie McKenna

Saturday, Aug. 24:                The Case of the Missing Aha Moment – a Scattered Thoughts mini rant on writing postponed

The Queen’s Librarian by Carole Cummings