Tag Archives: literary fiction

3 stars for The Art of Peeling an Orange by Victoria Avilan @vpniel #FF #Literaryfiction

Art of Orange

Title: The Art of Peeling an Orange
Author Name: Victoria Avilan
Publication Date & Length: January 23, 2015 — 357 pages

Synopsis

The Art of Peeling an Orange, set in sizzling and bustling West Hollywood, is an erotic, risqué take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The story’s structure, characters and themes echo the ancient Greek myth of the lovers in the Land of the Dead.


When portrait artist Carley Rosen loses her fiancé Greg Wheeler to the alluring Anna Garibaldi, her life is shattered. Carly’s first meeting with Anna, aka the Divine One, at Greg’s funeral leaves her obsessed with the woman who has ruined her life, seeing Anna as Hades and herself as Orpheus, who will charm her way to the Land of the Dead to retrieve her beloved. Yet when the fearful Carly gets an appointment with the woman she sees as her powerful enemy, she is in for the surprise of her life. Nothing in her experience has prepared her for that Hades, nor her Underworld.

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Review

 ThreeStarWest Hollywood is an unlikely setting for a Modern Gothic story, but in Victoria Avilan’s tale a group of modern WeHo bohemians becomes entangled with of Hollywood’s most glamourous stars and her dangerous secrets. 

I’ve called this Modern Gothic as I can’t think of a better way to describe Avilan’s mix of realism, surrealism and the supernatural. Madness is a key feature of the Gothic genre and I found myself alternately trying to decide if anyone at all was sane and expecting to find the first Mrs. Rochester in an attic somewhere.

 

Avilan’s language is very melodramatic. Characters brood, argue and make-up in seemingly endless cycles. I’m not sure I was suposed to like any of the main characters, but I found myself absolutly hating Carly’s indecisive tantrums and her helplesness by the novel’s half-way point.

 

Avilan writes in the first person, changing perspective frequently. It was Kyra’s voice I most warmed to, but by the end, I felt the character had lost the authenticity that first drew me to her.

 

Anna’s story is suspenseful and intriguing as it starts untangle. The layers of secrets surrounding her life and Greg’s death are exciting and complicated.

 

I didn’t enjoy Avilan’s steady stream of highbrow references. The art references were excusable because her central characters were artists. But I can’t see any point to the constant classic and literary references. I just wanted Avilan to write her own story.

~Sarah

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AuthorBio

Victoria Avilan is the author of two novels, “The Art of Peeling an Orange,” and the soon to be published, “A Small Country, About to Vanish.” She studied art and nursing in her native Israel, and novel writing in the UCLA Writers’ Program’s Master Sequence. She practices intensive care nursing in a large pediatric facility. She writes (and lives) fiction in Southern California.

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Filed under 3 Star, F/F, Review, Sarah, Uncategorized

5+ and 4 Stars for Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood #MM #Bisexual #Romance @Totally_Bound @cateashwood

1.4

Title: Thirty Things
Author Name: Cate Ashwood
Publication Date & Length: April 3, 2015 – 210pgs

Synopsis

All their lives, Finn and Nate have been inseparable, sharing everything, and when a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by his side as all his other friends left. After all their years together, there’s one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed: he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years—terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out—has been difficult, but losing his best friend would be worse than living with a bad case of unrequited love. Unfortunately for Finn, Nate doesn’t make it easy.

Nate believes there are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, he plans an adventure to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but he can tell Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.

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Review

FiveStars“…he was there and he wouldn’t let me fall, but he also knew I had to do it on my own.”Finn has been loving his best friend since childhood. In return, Nate shows his devotion to Finn with every thoughtful, caring action he takes.  But Nate isn’t gay and Finn knows he has to move on before unrequited love crushes him.

For Finn’s thirtieth birthday, Nate plans the road trip of a lifetime, criss-crossing the USA.  Having known Finn for a lifetime, he plans surprise activities at each stop.  Some he knows will excite Finn, others will terrify him, but all will be memorable.

This is such a beautiful story.  I was in love with Nate the moment he bought a truck adjusted to accommodate Finn’s disability.  I loved how he calmly, silently enabled Finn to push past the barriers posed by his impairments.  And Finn – funny, sweet, gorgeous and inexperienced – he might just be my favourite leading man in a very long time.

The relationship between the two men is exquisitely written.  Instinctive, seamless, and awkward, Ashwood mingles the comfort of a long-term marriage with the nerves before a first kiss perfectly.  Can best friends become lovers after so long?  Is Nate truly attracted to Finn, or is this just another way for him to take care of Finn?

The road trip is a delightful analogy for the men’s emotional experiences during their month together.  Both journeys are filled with awe, excitement, fear and joy.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Sarah

FourStars

This was a very sweet love story, most relationships don’t happen this easily.  They grew up as best friends but ended up lovers.  It was cute how their romance developed over a month long road trip.

Nate was always there helping Finn, due to his legs, I thought he was caring and very sweet. Finn was always in pain and tried to hide it. It’s hard always feeling you need to rely on someone to help you.

I thought the storyline was interesting.  Traveling for a month together, trying new adventures.  I liked how it brought them closer.

It was a quick read and a feel good story.

Sherry

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AuthorBio

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

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Filed under 4 Star, 5 Star, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah, Sherry