Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Sugarman Bootlegs

I stopped reading this book after I’d only gotten a third of the way through it. This book bored me and that surprised me. I’m a huge fan of the author’s earlier works like Fag Hag, Closet Case and the wonderful Drag Queen. In this case, the author seems to keep wondering off in long-winded rambling lectures about 20th century pop-culture and sociology. Yawn. Go back to writing funny stuff, Mr. Rodi. 

Rating: 3.0

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The first book I read by Rob Rosen was Divas Las Vegas and love, loved, loved it ! Like Divas Las Vegas, the theme in Sparkle is friendship. That special friendship that can only exist between two gay guys that aren’t into each other sexually (well, maybe just a little bit) or maybe they did go there once but decided they’d be better off as “sisters”.

If you're lucky enough to ever come across this type of friendship in your day to day routine or even experience it yourself, the guys involved will constantly:

... refer to each other as whore, gurl, cum-dumpster, Miss Thang and you-big-ol-bottom.

... rip on each other’s outfits, hair and taste (lack of) in men.

... roll their eyes and bitch about what a drama queen you are to anyone within earshot.

But when it all comes down to it, they’d walk through fire for each other and Lord help you if you fall out of favor with both of them at the same time. 

All I say is, “Gurl, you better leave town.”

This is the zany story of Bruce’s (a.k.a. Secret) move from the midwest to San Francisco in the early 90's. We get to see Bruce meet Sparkle and a whole host of really funny, odd characters that make this book oh-so-Frisco. With a nod to Dallas, Sparkle even ends up in a coma <gasp> from a gunshot wound like JR. Who could have shot Sparkle ? Well honey, who didn’t want to shoot Sparkle is the question we should all be asking.

This delightful gay classic has been around since 2001 (Mr. Rosen, you must have been like two when you wrote it) but luckily was released last year in ebook format making it more readily available to queers (and queer-lovers) everywhere. Get it, gurl.

Rating: 9:5

Find out more about Rob at his website:

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Palace of Varieties

I’m surprised that this book hasn’t been discovered as the gay Fifty Shades Of Grey yet.  

Yes... folks, it’s just that filthy. I couldn’t read this book in public because (embarrassing so) I kept an erection 99% of time I was reading it. Leave your morals at the door and be prepared for a no-holes-barred, spermy, piss-soaked reading experience you won’t soon forget.

This is the story of hunky, big-dicked Paul Lemoyne who leaves his humble life in a tiny English village for life in the big city (London). It’s 1930, he’s a young, virile man and he’s flat broke and as you might suppose, young Paul does resort to turning tricks and in turn is soon the most celebrated male whore in the city of London for several years. 

If you’re looking for one of those prostitute with a heart-of-gold type of stories, this is not it. Not saying that the main character is a monster or a bad person, but Paul Lemoyne has few redeeming qualities as a human. You will find yourself rooting for him toward the end of the book and hoping he’ll find someone that will love him for him and not just for his huge penis, bottomless arsehole or complete willingness to do absolutely anything when it comes to sex.

James Lear is a pseudonym for author Rupert Smith 
(See my review of Man’s World). 

Rating: 9.0

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Collegiate Maneuvers

Meet Jake Castile, son of a snooty French mother and a father that was a well-known matador many moons ago in his native country, Spain.The story follows the dashing college student through three different colleges and many, many cringe-inducing, drunken antidotes. Jake is a somewhat likeable person but he’s also immature, confused, sneaky and extremely fickle. Sometimes you just want to shake him and say, “Dude, you’re a freakin’ mess. You need to get your act together !”. During the first half of the book, I was riveted and could barely put it down but during the last half, I began to really tire of Jake’s shitty attitude toward life and continual drunken escapades.

When Jake is back home in Queens and between colleges once again, he meets Chase, a fey, good-looking, rich playboy that instantly falls in love with Jake so hard that he buys Jake a BMW and hands him his own unlimited platinum card before he sends him off to college again.

Yeah, right...
This book was well written and interesting but I have to say that I didn’t care for the main character (much). I absolutely know I wouldn’t be friends with Jake in real life. It will be interesting to see what John Lindo comes up with next.

* I have to say that the first thing that attracted me to this book was the fantastic retro-style cover-art. Somebody needs to track the illustrator down and hire him while they can still get him relatively cheap before he's discovered by the right people.

Rating: 6.5

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Loving Couple

By Virginia Rowans aka Patrick Dennis (author of Auntie Mame)

Being a modest gay man possessing flawless literary tastes, I adore anything written by the late gay author, Patrick Dennis. This early novel of his written under the pseudonym of Virginia Rowans details an argument by a young married couple. The events of the entire book takes place in the space of one exceedingly long day.

I like to think I’m fairly well read but I have to be honest and tell you that no book has ever sent me running to my dictionary so often to look up the definitions of words as much as The Loving Couple. Historically, it was really interesting to experience the type of mid-century chit-chat one would have heard from a member of New York’s literary scene at that time.

Patrick Dennis really pulled out all the stops when he wrote this book and flexed his literary muscles. Yes, there is mucho conceit (and a firm belief in his own genius) behind the writing of The Loving Couple. Patrick Dennis is definitely showing off and trying to “wow” his readers and in my opinion he does succeed in that endeavor.

It took me almost two months to finish this book. The Loving Couple isn’t for everyone and honestly, I didn’t particularly find it to be a fun reading experience but if you’re already a Patrick Dennis fan, you’ll surely enjoy it.

Rating: 7.5

*Note - this book is well out-of-print but if you dig around a bit you can find a copy fairly easily.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Marrying Kind

Very topical, this book couldn’t have been released at a more appropriate time considering the recent gay marriage debacle in North Carolina (my home state).

This is the story of Steven Worth, a charmingly neurotic columnist that works for The Gay New York Times (one of those freebie newspapers they give away in gay bars) and his wedding-planner boyfriend, Adam More. They’re a happy, well-dressed couple, living in a nice apartment in NYC with their two kids (cats) and few problems.

Adam begins to seem depressed which really worries Steven but he doesn’t know how to approach the subject. So, he lets it slide for a while until Adam rushes home from work one day, all aglow and flushed with excitement. Adam makes a pronouncement that he’s giving up his business of heterosexual wedding planning until he and Steven can legally be married in New York. 

Although worried, Steven gets all charged up over the subject and writes a few compelling pro-gay marriage articles for The Gay New York Times and before you know it, Adam and Steven become local heroes to the gay community and a movement begins to take shape, protesting heterosexual marriage and boycotting weddings until gays have the right to legally marry.

Things are going great until Steven’s (straight) brother asks Adam’s sister to marry him. Herein lies the trouble, Steven is extremely close to his brother and it tears him apart that Adam expects him not to attend his wedding just based on the principle of the whole matter. What if the gay community got wind of the fact that the people that started this anti-wedding movement actually attended a heterosexual wedding? They’d tear them from limb to limb for sure and be shamed in the press.

Finally, Steven is so miserable that he leaves Adam after telling him that he was most definitely going to attend his one and only brother’s wedding and if he were smart he’d do the same thing.  Will Adam stand firm to the principles of his movement or will he show up at the church in the nick of time to see his sister wed Adam’s brother?

A wonderful, funny, touching book!

 If you care anything about gay rights and gay marriage, do yourself a favor and read this book.

Rating: 9.0

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Man's World

I absolutely adored this book! This is the story of two different gay guys in Britain whose stories become somewhat intertwined.

First we start out of the story of Rob, a muscular, modern day party-boy who’s rather shallow and not all that likable until the waning chapters of the book. Rob battles rampant drug and steroid use, hepatitis and repeatedly bats away the interest shown in him by the "nice" guy at his office before he begins to finally exhibit signs that he's more than your average gym bunny.

One day Rob and his even shallower best friend, Jonathan are looking off his balcony and notice the paramedics lugging a stretcher baring an obviously deceased man from a downstairs apartment and that leads us into the next story:

The story of Jonathan's downstairs neighbor, Michael Medway, a gentle young man in the RAF during the fifties who read muscle magazines and sketches scantily-clad men in a secret notebook when he thought no one would notice. From afar, Michael fell in love/lust with the camp’s champion boxer, Mervyn Wright and eventually they do strike up a casual friendship and become intimate one weekend in nearby Blackpool though Mervyn isn't quite ready to be a full time "queer".

I really liked that this book tackled ageism within the gay community. As a middle-age gay man, this is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. Michael’s flamboyant, campy friend, Stephen said it best when he tells Jonathan that the young, hip, hot gays of today didn’t invent gay, it was fought for and served up to them on a platter by the "old queens" they secretly revile and want nothing to do with. 

As Stephen would say, “My dear, I was sucking cock before you were even a tinkle in your father’s eyes.”

If you want a well written, very bold gay novel, grab this book (or download it because I don’t believe this was released in the US in book form) now! Immediately after reading this book, I went to Barnes & Noble’s website and tracked down Rupert Smith’s back catalog, hopefully his older book will be just as good as A Man’s World.

Rating: 9.8

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I finally decided to read this much-lauded piece of cult fiction recently and I have to say I’m so glad I did. I can now call myself a J.T. LeRoy fan, folks.

This is the story of Cherry Vanilla, a teen transsexual trucker prostitute. This amazing story takes place in two separate truck stops in West Virginia. At first I found the reading of this book daunting because of the local hillbilly dialect it’s written in, but after you get through that hurdle, an amazing story starts to unfold before you.

Cherry Vanilla's main goal is be a full-fledged lot lizard (trucker prostitute) just like his mother, Sarah. When his <cough, cough> career doesn't seem to be going anywhere, he decides to jump ship and take up with LeLoop and his batch of ramp-eating, extremely superstitious whores at the Three Crutches, a rival truck stop just down the interstate. 

Once it’s discovered that Cherry Vanilla is actually a boy, all hell breaks loose. His long golden curls are hacked off with a switchblade by LeLoop and he’s forced to hook as a boy from then on. Cherry Vanilla soon spirals into alcoholism and sometimes huffing glue when he doesn’t have the money to purchase overpriced booze from the den mother at the Three Crutches.The end of this book then plays out like a cheesy, made-for-TV movie from the seventies. 

After some time, word gets back to his home truck stop about the plight of their little runaway. Glad (Cherry Vanilla's original pimp) hatches a plan where one of his heart-of-gold prostitutes will dress up like a man, borrow a big rig and head over to his truck stop in a ruse to hire him for his “services” (and to secretly help him escape LeLoop's clutches). The high-speed chase scene that follows could be straight out of a Dukes Of Hazzard episode.

This is one weird and wild book but I’m glad I read it. I’m surprised that John  Waters hasn’t made this into a movie yet because it’s surely right up his alley.

Rating: 7.0

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Men Under the Mistletoe

I really liked this year’s Christmas anthology by Carina Press. You’ve got four very different stories of gay men during the holiday season.

The first story is:

My True Love Gave to Me
Ava March

This is the story of Alexander and Thomas, two early 19th century boys that are trying to have an affair and finding that convention and family obligations are quite the hurdle to overcome. If you're like me, you've probably wondered what it was truly like for gay men "back in the day" and how they carried on their love affairs. I think this story goes a long way in helping us understand more about that. I mean, what did they use for lube back then, goose fat or butter ?

Alexander’s breakdown when Thomas leaves him high-n-dry at the country house had me balling my eyes out at the sheer amount of pain poured into those passages.

The second story is:

Winter Knights
 Harper Fox

This is the story of a gruff, Englishman named Gavin that’s on holiday in Northumberland waiting for Piers (his lover) to show up so they can spend the Christmas holidays together. Things turn ugly when Piers calls and breaks up with Gavin because of his religious convictions. In grief, Gavin dashes out on the snowy moors for a “hike” to clear his mind and promptly falls down a deep crevice into a cave and hits his head.

What follows can only be described as haunting and miraculous.

The third story is:

Lone Star
 Josh Lanyon

I was really looking forward to ready this story because I really love Josh Lanyon’s characters. His men are the kind of guys that I’d personally want to date.

This is the story of Mitchell, a disenchanted ballet dancer from NYC that goes back “home” to Texas to deal with his father’s estate when he passes away and also to get away from his cheating bisexual boyfriend. When he’s almost home, a reindeer runs out in front of him and causes him to drive an embankment and crash his rental car. The Texas Ranger that comes to investigate the scene turns out to be his old boyfriend, Webb.

Webb helps Mitchell to discover that he’s not so disenchanted after all.

The forth and final story is:

The Christmas Proposition
 K.A. Mitchell

I think I liked this story most of all because of the main character’s quirky, smartass attitude and witty repartee.

This is the story of Mel, a nice guy running a Christmas tree farm in rural Pennsylvania.
For the most part, Mel has put his personal life on hold and really just concentrates on his life on the farm and taking care of his sister that just got out of drug rehab. One night when Mel is at his part-time job slinging hash at a local diner, there at one of his tables is Bryce, the former love of his life (though Mel would be hard-pressed to admit it). They get back together and what follows can only be described as steamy.

Mel and Bryce have a very physical relationship and seem to fuck all the time. The author seems to take a particular joy in using the word “dick” and “cock” repeatedly. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. This story was waaaay hot and total boner city.

Rating: 8.0