PUBLISHED BY: Independently published by Amazon, February 7, 2021
ISBN: 9798705975495
Review copy provided by author
Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This is no ordinary romance. It’s set in the present, without the Corona or Covid 19 virus, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now, to spoil the fun. A nice widowed lady named Cassandra Cortez DeMaio, Cassie to her friends, runs into an old high school friend at her uncle’s funeral. Doctor Kevin Berrigan, dentist, with a practice in Long Island, has been divorced long enough to be comfortable with the way his life is now. But meeting Cassie again after all these years makes the strings of his heart go zing!

Cassie, whose late husband left her with enough good memories to make her less than eager to replace him, suddenly sees her old friend in a new light, especially after Claire, one of her female friends, makes a snippy remark about his divorce; obviously she’s on the ex-wife’s side. Cassie, whose own memories of the ex-wife are less than fond, decides Kevin deserves a second chance. So she gives him her email and they end up video chatting each other almost every night. She always begins her emails with “Sweet greetings from Carthage!” (the village in Jefferson County, upstate New York, where she lives) and their long distance romance eventually turns into the real thing, with romantic dates and overnight sleepovers.

Next thing you know, Kevin pops the question in a romantic Italian restaurant, presenting her with a nice diamond ring before the entrée. Cassie accepts happily and agrees to move to Long Island, selling her share of the hobby shop she owns, along with her house, so they can be together. But just when the future is looking so bright, it begins to darken. Shortly after moving into Kevin’s house, Cassie starts getting headaches and forgetting things, like her own brother’s name when it appears on her phone’s screen. Unable to decide whether this is the natural result of aging (both lovers are 50+) or symptoms of a more serious problem, she agrees to see a neurosurgeon. The diagnosis: Cassie is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Panic ensues as Cassie imagines herself deteriorating into a senile old woman, rejected by Kevin, an object of pity to her family and friends. After calling her mother with the news, she collapses into a tearful heap in a closet at Kevin’s house, leaving her mother to call Kevin with the news. Kevin, understandably upset at not getting the news from Cassie first, leaves work early and comes home to find her hiding in the closet, still weeping. After coaxing her out, he tries to comfort her but it turns into an argument over whether they should still get married. He’s still willing, but she’s afraid of becoming a burden on him. It ends with him storming out of the house and driving to a friend’s house in the rain, while she calls her friend Claire, who quickly arrives to comfort her while saying “I told you so” between supportive sentences, believing Kevin to be abandoning her friend the same way he did his ex-wife (who, by the way, has already remarried and had children, so he didn’t exactly ruin her life).

Kevin arrives at his friend Peter’s house, the same guy he invited to be his best man. But instead of being sympathetic to Cassie’s plight, Peter urges him to dump her because she’s damaged goods. He’s only thinking of how Cassie’s Alzheimer’s will affect Kevin, but this insensitive advice almost gets him a knuckle sandwich. Fortunately, Peter’s wife Kate intervenes and manages to calm things down, informing them that a great many medical advances have been made in the last few years so that Alzheimer’s is no longer the slow death sentence it used to be. Peter realizes how insensitive he’s been and apologizes to Kevin, who decides to stick by Cassie no matter what. He returns home to find Cassie being comforted by Claire, who glares at him, expecting him to reject her friend. But he embraces her instead, reassuring both Cassie and Claire that he does love her enough to go through with the wedding.

And so, with a great deal of support from friends and family, as well as prescriptions and dietary suggestions from Cassie’s doctor, the wedding is still on. As the lovers join hands at St. Rose of Lima Church during the Memorial Day weekend, Cassie is relieved and comforted to know that Kevin will always stand by her in the days to come, no matter how dark they get. Isn’t that what every woman hopes for from the man she loves? Even if she doesn’t have a potentially fatal disease. Like I said at the beginning of this review, this is no ordinary romance. Despite the happy ending being shadowed by the prospect of a long, downhill slide into forgetfulness, Cassie can be sure that Kevin will never forget her or cease to love and care for her.

Graphic novel review: The Legend of Bold Riley

The Legend of Bold Riley
Written by Leia Weathington
Art by Leia Weathington, Marco Aidala, Vanessa Gillings, Kelly McClellan, Konstantin Pogorelov and Jason Thompson. Cover artwork by Brinson Thieme
Published by Northwest Press
ISBN: 9780984594054
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Hey, I liked this. When I started getting emails about it, I thought it was about some kind of Irish superhero, but it’s really the story of a mythical princess in a mythical land who gets bored with the royal life and takes off to have adventures. And she has some good ones with gods, demons, eldritch creatures, and beautiful women. Leia Weathington has written a series of wonderful tales with adventure, romance, and happy endings even when they aren’t happily ever after endings. I could go into a whole philosophical discussion here about happiness, duty, sacrifice, bravely, and love, but I don’t want to scare anyone off. There are several artists on this book: Ms. Weathington, Marco Aidala, Vanessa Gillings, Kelly McClellan, Konstantin Pogorelov and Jason Thompson, and cover artwork by Brinson Thieme. It’s a gorgeous full color book that would spruce up any library. Thank you Northwest Press for the review copy or I’d still be thinking Bold Riley was a Sean O’Casey character with superpowers. Eeek! Click on the link above and go check out the previews. You’ll be glad you did.

Industry news: Alan Moore’s new book

“One of the world’s foremost authors of the fantastic, Alan Moore, joins internationally esteemed photographer Mitch Jenkins for an unprecedented visual and literary experience.

“An intensely poetic and innovative work of biography, Unearthing maps the lifetime of author, orientalist and occultist Steve Moore, while simultaneously investigating the extraordinary history of South London with which that life has been intertwined. Integrating text with haunting and exquisite imagery, Unearthing excavates a territory at the margins of a city, of reality, and of human imagination.

“Starting life in Iain Sinclair’s seminal anthology LONDON: City of Disappearances, this dazzling and hypnotic piece has evolved through a series of live performances and acclaimed recordings, culminating in this breathtaking full-color volume.”
Unearthing in hardcover, softcover, and special signed numbered oversized hardcover edition, a website pre-order exclusive (yay!), publishing December 2012, Top Shelf Productions

So there is something to look forward to.

Book Review: Seasons of Infidelity

Season of Infidelity: BDSM Tales From the Classic Master
By Oniroku Dan
Translated by Chris Violet
Vertical Inc. 2010
Copy supplied by Publisher

Review by Linda Yau

Controversy and intrigue may surround the topic of eroticism and nudity. It is quite the lucrative business. There’s an audience, and for those who corner the niche in the SM market, infamy occurs. Sadomasochism is not for the fainthearted and it has carved a place in Japanese society.
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Convention Report: BENTcon 2011

I was only able to attend BENTcon 2 at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA on Sunday December 4th. It was, I’m told in full swing from Friday night, and I’m sure I missed some good events and panels but what can one do? I am rather kicking myself that I misread the time of the Women in Gay Comics panel and missed it. Oh well, I got to talk to lots of cool artists and exhibitors on my one afternoon at BENTcon 2.

So here’s who I talked to that day: Continue reading “Convention Report: BENTcon 2011”

Convention report: BENTcon 2010

BENTcon 2010
4232 Melrose
Los Angeles CA
12-7PM, December 5, 2010

This was the first BENTcon, a select group of GLBT comics creators in a nice little space on Melrose. According to Charles “Zan” Christensen, this is the first ever GLBT dedicated convention so I was very glad to be there. Here’s who I talked to:

William O. Tyler

William O. Tyler has been publishing Carabosse Comics for the past six years. “Fairy Tells” are comics about what the fairy saw other mythological creatures doing, and “The Goth Queen Needs a Mate” is the story of a widow whose grief was so profound, it awakens gargoyles who go out to find her a new husband. William is originally from Washington D.C. but moved here in 2006. He has a degree in film from the American University in D.C. His website is www.CarabosseComics.com.
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Yaoi Review: Exotic and Delicious Fate

Exotic and Delicious Fate
Story and Art by Ryoku Tsunoda
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Copy supplied by Publisher
ISBN10: 1569700745
ISBN13: 9781569700747

Review by Linda Yau

Kaoru Miyagi is a bartender who found luck when an elderly benefactor gave him a job at the branch Tachibana restaurant. Fast forward eight years later, he is the manager of the restaurant. Enters the restaurant’s newest chef, Kasuga, and he is very interested in Miyagi. Kasuga also knows of Miyagi’s past that definitely changes his world, when reality comes to light.
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Yaoi Novel Review: Secret Moon

Secret Moon
Written by Siira Gou
Art by Satou Tomoe
Published by Juné, imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Copy supplied by Publisher
ISBN10: 1569706166
ISBN13: 9781569706169

Review by Linda Yau

After years of living abroad, Viscount Akihiro Tomoe moves back to Japan where he lives with his servant, and has enough business and money so that hardly anyone questions the front that he has. He is a vampire and shares the allergies of a vampire in only be able to go out after dark, but what sets him apart from being a vampire, is the fact that he doesn’t have any fangs. He is living what he believes to be a monotone life. One night after checking one of his many businesses, he sees a fight between a young man and some street thugs. Continue reading “Yaoi Novel Review: Secret Moon”

Book Review: Obscene Interiors

Obscene Interiors: Hardcore Amateur Decor
By Justin Jorgensen
Published by Baby Tattoo Books
ISBN-10: 0-9729388-0-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9729388-0-8

Review by Kris

Each species on earth has developed a way of attracting a mate. Be it peacocks and their beautiful tail feathers, the sage grouse and their magnificent mating dance, or even the bighorn sheep with butting horns to prove their strength. For humans we have developed the ability to accessorize and decorate not only ourselves but our surroundings as well. With these tools in our arsenal and the prevalence of the internet you would imagine that finding a partner has never been easier. Well thanks to Justin Jorgensen and his eye for design and quick wit for commentary he has scoured net for personal ads to provide a no nonsense look at some of the absurd and embarrassing rooms that people live in.
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Yaoi review: Hey, Sensei?

Hey, Sensei?
By Yaya Sakuragi
Published by Juné Manga
ISBN 13: 978-1-56970-047-1

Review by April Kimm

Yaya Sakuragi is the mangaka of “Calorie,” “Soba ni Oitene,” “Renai Kyoutei Nukegake Nashi!,” “Koi Cha no Osahou” (Tea for Two) published by Blu Manga, “Mizu no Kioku,” “Plus 20 cm no Kyori,” “Yume Musubi, Koi Musubi,” “Hotel Traffic,” and “Oujisama no Ren’ai Jijyou.” “Hey, Sensei?” is a manga with four chapters and an epilogue of the main story, an unrelated one-shot “Unbreakable Bones,” and an afterword by the author. It’s soft yaoi, and sensei doesn’t lose his virginity until the last chapter, which may be why there’s a smut scene in the one-shot.
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