Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Second Time Around by Bobby Michaels

Bobby Michaels - Second Time Around (Loose-Id)

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 7" out of 9"

I read an extraordinary book the other day! This is the blurb I read at Loose-Id that compelled me to buy it: "David Stone returns to Star Harbor where he grew up to lick his wounds after finding out his lover of 10 years had been keeping a boy-toy on the side. His only real love, Josh Harrison, his childhood best friend, isn't supposed to be in Star Harbor. He's supposed to be in the Marine Corps.

But Josh has also returned to Star Harbor, and the Marine, now a cop, soon reveals that he'd been about to go looking for David, who mistakenly always thought Josh was straight! It's not long before the two find themselves head over heels in love and heading toward happily ever after.

Then David learns he's been infected with HIV by his last lover, and to save David's life, Josh reveals his own secret: he's a werewolf. And he can make David one.

Now, anyone that has read my commentaries knows that I do luvs me some M/M romance and I'm a complete werewolf-ho, so after reading that blurb, you KNOW I had to buy this book!

But something odd happened while reading this story. I got so caught up in the first half, which concentrated on what it was like growing up gay and BEING gay in small town America, that I didn't want the emphasis to switch to the werewolf aspects in the second half of the story. Yeah, that's how compelling it was-- even this werewolf-ho didn't want it to become a werewolf story!

Bobby Michaels does an amazing job of describing the HEARTBREAK, CONFUSION, FEAR, and ALIENATION of being a gay teen. Then he weaves in the "best friends" Romance that was HEARTWARMING. Adding further depth to this story is the two teens that David hires for his antique store. After he realizes that the boys are in love with each other, he decides to mentor them and poignantly sees himself and Josh and "what could have been" all those years ago. Later, the terror that David feels when his ex informs him that he may have infected him with HIV, followed by his trip to be tested, was written in such a way that I truly FELT it, even though I already knew the outcome from reading the blurb. I suspect that this is one of the most vivid, moving, and realistic portraits of gay life that I have ever read. And yet, it's a paranormal... go figure.

The second half of the book concentrates on Josh's life as a werewolf and introducing David to his world. Now, I don't want to give the impression that this second half wasn't enjoyable, because it certainly was. In fact, it was a damn good werewolf story! I don't think I've ever read better descriptions of the first change to werewolf form and what the world is like from the wolf's perspective. It's just that I was so engaged with the earlier story that I was ready to continue reading what it meant to be a newly diagnosed HIV positive gay man involved in a relationship with a partner who was NOT infected, but who he may have unwittingly endangered. Particularly since David was someone I had now gotten to know and like so much.

I think I was even a bit disappointed that David was "cured" by becoming a werewolf. And yeah, I realize that it makes no sense that I was disappointed that fantasy intruded into a paranormal story. But you'd have to read this to understand what I mean. However, let me also say that Bobby Michaels might have felt that way himself because he DOES address (and quite well) the "Survivor's Guilt" that David (and another character) experience.

The dedication of this book reads "This novel is dedicated to my caring and supportive editor, Crystal, and to everyone living, as I am, with HIV." and the "About the Author" section at the end states "Bobby Michaels has been writing since he was 14 years old. A Gay male with a lot of romantic and erotic experience from his own life to draw on, he is a well known writer of Gay male erotica under another pen-name with a fan group of more than 3,000 members from around the world. Bobby lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Visit Bobby on the Web at"

Now I don't know who Bobby Michaels is in his other incarnation, but I DO know that I WILL be reading more of his Loose-Id Bobby Michaels books. The man has an exceptional gift for storytelling.
Piquant Opines: Literary Nymphs,

UPDATE: Since 1999, Bobby has been posting stories and novels as RimPig on His RimPig Yahoo Group now has over 3,000 members worldwide. Be warned, though, that his RimPig stories are not for the feint of heart. I'm talking no-limits erotica, so keep that in mind.


Ann Aguirre said...

Dang, you make this sound interesting. I'm looking to load up my PDA before we go to Cozumel. I am doing nothing but eating, sleeping, sunning, swimming, and reading while we're gone.

Jade said...

Bev you are ROCKING MY WORLD right now. You keep providing exactly what I'm looking for, interesting and unique reads. Plus your vote of confidence goes along way with me. We have similar enough taste in books that all I have to do is read your reviews and I'm in book buying heaven. Plus the bad reviews make me laugh my ass off, but lucky for the author are usually are still intriguing enough that I have to check the book out for myself, even if I do usually only end up reading the excerpt.

QB said...

AWWWW, thanks, Jade! *blushes*

Hey! Wait a minute-- you didn't read that Sunny anthology, did you?! :-O I took one for the team so you innocents could be spared! 20 lashes with a Black Licorice Whip, Grasshopper!

Annie, don't forget to take a couple of print books for when it's too sunny to see the PDA screen! Between last week and this week's ton of releases, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a couple (at least).

Oh, and pack early, okay? Just ignore the weight of your suitcase. It's all from the books you have in there. Yeah, that's it... it's the books... not someone like... oh, I don't know... me... stowed away in there. ;-P

Jade said...

LOL don't worry Bev I've avoided Sunny. But that one was really funny! You absolutely did take one for the team there. I have every intention of avoiding your black licorice whip. I'm really more of a whip weilder than lash receiver myself, lol.
Although your reviews bring out my morbid curiosity in these coconut truffles you come across, I have never actually bought one. I like to go check out the premise for the book and try to figure it out. I have sampled a few that didn't tickle your fancy so much but weren't concidered out and out repugnant. I have to leave allowances for my slightly twisted personal taste. Keep Em' coming Bev. I think you are doing a wonderful job. I haven't come across anything that you've highly recommended that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed.
Menage by Emma Holly was great!!

QB said...

SQUEE! You read Menage?! I think I told you that was my very first m/m story, right? It's been awhile since I read it, and I know you've read quite a bit of m/m, so how does it hold up? You said "great", but was it great or was it "Holy Shit, I LOVE this book" great?

Jade said...

Okay, I did love this book! The first scene with Sean and Joe in Kate's room was HOT, HOT, HOT! I actually needed a little breather after that one! lol.
I was a little sad for Sean throughout the story though, as much as I loved Joe I think I kinda wanted it to be Sean that she was actually in love with. He was a little bit of a broken soul and the nurturer in me just wanted to take care of him and love him. Plus he was deliciously dominant and so sexy! I Joe better the times when he became the assertive and dominant one especially when he was acting dominant over Sean. Mmmmmm. Again HOT, HOT, HOT..... breather time for Jade.
I really enjoyed how much of there lives we got to see outside of the bedroom as well. You got to know something about their interests and what makes them tick. I like seeing the way characters interact with eachother outside of the house/bedroom/comfort zone. Emma Holly established a real relationship between these people that was believeable, it wasn't just one sex scene that flowed into another. I loved it and will definately be buying more black lace books. I think I've got Gothic Blue by Portia Da Costa coming next. I want to get Gentleman's Wager by Madelyn Ellis I know that you really loved that book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. But I can't get it until next year I believe. I'm going to pre-order it though. You've got me really looking forward to that one.

Tempest Knight said...

OMG! I just gotta check this one out!

QB said...

Woo-Hoo! Enjoy, Tempest! Reading Second Time Around was like discovering a gem.

LMAO, Jade! Sounds like Menage definitely fell into the "Holy Shit, I LOVE this book" category for you. Before I "discovered" EC, Loose-Id, etc. I found Black Lace and my world was never the same! LOL! Emma Holly has several more Black Lace books, too. Make sure to get Continuum by Portia da Costa. It's a classic! And yeah, Madelynne Ellis' A Gentleman's Wager is freakin' AMAZING!