Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Carved In Flesh

Carved In Flesh by Various Authors
Storm Moon Press
Novel: 193pgs
4 Pants Off

People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person's past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. They leave a permanent mark on the body and spirit that, one way or another, change a person forever.

Veld is an Elf who has known for years that his mute friend Oren is spoken for; the design of scars spanning Oren's torso reminds him with every look. When Oren's vowed, Haram, is killed, Veld must not only help to prove his own innocence, but also tread carefully as he discovers Oren's Right and Haram's last request. Next, Tiocfaidh Ár Lá—"our day will come"—was the cry in Joe Colson's heart, even as he fled his beloved Ireland to hide from his sins in the States. He'd assumed his chances for love were long past when a much younger man rekindles something in him he'd thought long dead.

A near-fatal car accident leaves superstar model Ashley's face permanently scarred and his career into a tailspin. Only his lover, Will, can pull him out of his depression, provided his affection hasn't turned to Faded Love. Young Timothy has come to Larry for Scar Therapy. But Tim is seeking healing of a different kind, and Larry finds that he has his own wounds that need tending. Garvin's scars are a Gift of the Goddess, seared into his skin as a beacon to find his kidnapped love, Nyle. Rescuing him, though, may entail a deeper wound than even the Goddess would bestow. Finally, when Kanovan returns from his off-world tour, his lover Mirin finds a lover's mark he hadn't expected. Mirin must re-evaluate how much Kanovan means to him, and what he must do to make Kanovan always Sojourn Home to him.

Storm Moon Press always does some great anthologies, they go places others are afraid to and always do a wonderful job. In Carved In Flesh, they offer up some great stories that deal with scars and cutting. I thought the cutting would have been predominant, but I was somewhat surprise by the offering of stories. It is a wide mix of tropes, and I believe readers will find a fave among the six stories.

Oren's Right by Blaine D Arden
Veld is an elf that has very strong feelings for his dear mute friend Oren, but he knows he can never act on his feeling because Oren already belongs to someone else. He's the shoulder to lean on when Oren has to put his dead lover to rest, he'll be his strength and confidant but he knows that is all he could ever be because Haram, though dead is Oren's keeper. The scars on Oren's body tell a tale of ownership, and Veld knows that even now Oren could never belong to him. When Veld is suspected of Haram's murder, he knows this could be end of his relationship with his beautiful friend. Now he must prove his innocence and find a murderer among their midst.

I am a fan of D. Arden’s writing; it always manages to pull me in. It was such a treat to read about her elves once again, their forests and magic intrigue me. The story was an enjoyable read, mild on the hot loving but beautiful on the intimacy shared between the characters. The murder mystery added a little spice but I could have done without it, Oren's and Veld story was intriguing enough without it.

Tiocfaidh Ár Lá by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks
I thought this one would have been my favourite, because the authors of this one tend to shock and make me lose my pants. I was surprised, though pleasantly. Joe moved from his beloved Ireland to the Sates to get away from the bad things he had done and horrible things done to him. I think the overall tone of this story is touchy one, dealing with politics, IRA, and so forth. I am no Irish history buff, but I know it’s a touchy/serious topic today as it was twenty years ago.

Joe sins show in his scars and disfigurement of his face, and he has all but given up on life. Until, a young beautiful man sweeps into his life and proves that sometimes the stuff on the outside is smaller fraction to person you are on the inside. This one is on the very sexy side, with a neat HEA that will please a reader. As I said I was expecting a lot, and it did not live up to my expectation but was still a good read.

Faded Love by M.A Church
I tried a lot to get into the story but in the end, it did not work for me. It’s a sweet story, but I did not connect with the characters and wasn’t invested in their happy ending. I believe this one will be a hit with readers but it just didn’t work for me.

Scar Therapy by Logan Zachary
I really enjoyed this story but I had one huge problem with it. Larry finds Timothy and his mom in his office, seems Timothy will need a little scar therapy after suffering through a very violent robbery. The scars tell a tale of the violence Timothy suffered at the hands of his assailant, but Larry senses there is more to the story that meets the eyes. Timothy starts to open up slowly (that sounds pervy) and Larry finds that he is very attracted to the young man, and wants not only to heal his physical scars but his emotional ones too.

My only beef with the story is how what happened with Timothy was concluded. Yes, Tim chose to lie about what happened to him but the crime is just so big that it shouldn’t have been overlooked. The severity of it made me want a better conclusion, and I think that was lost during some jacking off and hot tub play. It needed a tone down to have a reverse affect.

Gift of the Goddess by Kaje Harper
Garvin finds himself praying to a goddess he isn’t sure he believes in, but desperate times call for desperate measures. When his lover Nyle is taken against his will Garvin knows, only he can go and get him back. When the goddess blesses him with the path to get Nyle back, he must now come up with a plan to bring his man back and take down the ones who took him. It will not be easy, and he has to use his only weapon. His body.

This story was just... so very good. What Garvin does won’t settle well with a lot of readers but it was necessary. The emotions captured choked me up a bit. Garvin is a strong and wonderful character and reading about the love, he shared with Nyle was beautiful. Comes as no surprise that he is willing to give his all for the man he loves. Awesome story!

Sojourn Home by T.C Mill
I have mixed feeling about this story, on one hand I really like it and on the other I like it only a little. I mean serious mixed feelings. It’s a nice look into their marriage and the steps Mirin is willing to take to keep his spouse. I think what I did not like is other lovers leaving a mark on Kanovan. It seems too personal, and I understood Mirin’s misgivings. I believe marking is intensely personal and I didn’t get it from this story. Though it is a very good story, I am on the fence with it.

Carved In Flesh is not the hit I was expecting it to be, but it's still a very good offering of some wonderful stories and talented writers.

4 Pants Off

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