action adventure

Caged (Baal’s Heart Book 1)

Caged (Baal’s Heart Book 1)
Sheltered and lonely, Jon’s life changes drastically when a strange ship sails into the harbour of his small port town one day. Trapped between the possessive pirate captain and his murderous first mate, he must learn to adapt or he will lose himself completely. An epic tale of love and jealousy, treachery and revelation, this first installment of the Baal’s Heart trilogy brings you into the lives of three men so bound together by jealousy and lies that they must sail to the very ends of the earth to find forgiveness. Deckard’s first novel is a masterful portrayal of sorrow, hope, and passion, with a narrative that twists the reader through a world set in the Golden Age of Piracy.

Reviewed

4 stars

Caged follows the story of Jon, a meek young man who possesses an unusual ability to read people. Pirates kidnap him from his hometown in the hopes of utilising his abilities in their business deals. This plot is quickly sidelined as he soon becomes enmeshed in a love triangle with Captain Baltsaros and his first mate Tom.

Caged is a decent erotic fantasy with characters and story that are more developed than usual for the genre, but it’s not extraordinary. There are extremely frequent and graphic sex scenes between the main characters that often involve bondage.

The prose is passable, but some passages are overwritten. When I came to “pearls of desire” I snickered. Caged kind of reminds me of the trashy novels I used to filch from my stepmother when I was too young to be reading such stuff. Although the sex in them was straight, not gay, the descriptions pretty much followed the same pattern, and the tone was the same, emotional and romantic.

Structurally, I didn’t feel that there was much of a plot. Rather a collection of small events happened with no clear goal and no obvious antagonist until 80% of the way through. I found the pacing very slow, but the focus is on the erotica. The scenes tended to jump around in time, which I sometimes found confusing.

Reviewed by Starr

5 Stars

The first two books of the Baal’s Heart series are in my all-favorite list. Bey is a fabulous writer. I could feel myself seeing this world. I could feel what the characters were dealing with. This is not dime-store erotica. This is a deeply emotional dive into the human psyche. The characters are well fleshed out. I love all the main characters, but Tom… How I wish I could bring that man to life. This book is sexy… even for someone like me who doesn’t even read erotica. I can just imagine the genius it takes to create an entirely new world and such beautiful characters… such a beautiful story. Bey is a force to be reckoned with.

 

 

The Wrong Stuff

Wrong Stuff, The
The Pan has rescued Ruth. To make it stick, the two of them must find the Candidate. But with the security forces of two realities on their tail, it's a challenge. The Pan of Hamgee is not a natural knight in shining armour. Yet he has escaped from police custody in K’Barth, switched realities and foiled Lord Vernon’s attempt to kidnap Ruth, the Chosen One from the Festival Hall. Pretty good, he thinks. However, Ruth thinks otherwise. Being pursued by Lord Vernon is bad enough. Now, thanks to The Pan, she’s on the run. They are both alive, of course, but with Lord Vernon on their tail neither of them can be sure how long for.  To save her life The Pan must introduce Ruth, the woman of his dreams, to the person prophesied to be the man of hers. And he knows he must do it fast – before Lord Vernon finds her. But, the gentleman in question is in hiding and no-one knows where. Only The Pan can find him, if he can bring himself to unite them.  

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland

January 7, 2013

This is the second book in the Pan of Hamgee series. I loved the first one and this is even better. The author has created a bunch of truly loveable – and in one case, truly scary  – characters that I just love to hang out with. They come from an alternative reality, the same earth but populated with a variety of different sized and coloured creatures, some more human looking than others. The Pan  – basically human –  enters our reality with the help of a portal in a thimble to rescue the one chosen by the Candidate for the role of spiritual and temporal leader of his country, but the arch bad guy follows him. A destructive chase through London in flying cars starts off the action and it just keeps moving.

The Pan of Hamgee is one  of my favourite characters of all time, the best getaway ever because he’s a coward – or so he says; it makes him good at running away. But the Pan is much more than just the getaway man he thinks he is; he’s funny, smart, noble, humble and, best of all, is just a really a good bloke. He always does what’s right even when he’d rather be running in the opposite direction. However in this, the second of the Pan of Hamgee series, his negative opinion of himself is holding him back from realising his true potential.

Ruth is another wonderful character, one we didn’t have the chance to get to know in the first book, but in this one, she plays a major role, and her feisty interactions with the Pan are just delightful. Their relationship grows as the story progresses. First, he rescues her from a couple of Grongles who want to take her to the very nasty Lord Vernon. She has never met the Pan before and is, quite rightly, suspicious, but they end up spending a lot of time together because they’re on the run, and he’s not only the best getaway man in the business, he’s also pretty adorable.

 

Big Merv, the bright orange Swamp Thing also deserves a mention, as another delightful character, and Lord Vernon deserves an award for one of the creepiest bad guys ever.

The story is tight and unpredictable and the pacing excellent. The characterisation is superb and the humour delightful. I don’t like the use of the word alright instead of the more correct, all right, but since this is becoming an acceptable usage in dialogue, I’ll have to pass it. The copy editing could be better; it’s not bad, just the occasional lack of punctuation where it would have been helpful, certainly not enough of a problem to stop you enjoying this delightful story.

 

 

Few Are Chosen

Few Are Chosen
Charming outlaw with own transport and limited social skills seeks lucrative, employment at minimal risk.  When you're running from a murderous government and work for an equally murderous gangster, accidentally torching his apartment is a bad move.  The Pan of Hamgee just wants a quiet life but destiny has other plans.   The Pan of Hamgee isn’t paranoid. There must be some people in K’Barth who aren’t out to get him. Unfortunately, right now, he’s not sure where they are. His family are dead, and his existence is treason. To survive he does the only thing he can – getaway driving. As if being on the run isn’t bad enough, he finds a magic thimble and decides to keep it. This can only mean trouble and sure enough, it does. By doing so, he unwittingly sets himself on a collision course with Lord Vernon, K’Barth’s despot ruler. Unwillingly, The Pan is forced to make choices and stand up for his beliefs. It’s a challenge, since previously he had no beliefs he was aware of. But faced with a stark moral dilemma, he realises his new found integrity might even stick… if he can stop running.

Reviewed by DL Morrese

February 7, 2013

5 stars

This is a cross-genre story that feels like it should be classified somewhere between Doctor Who and Discworld. I’m calling it science fiction rather than fantasy because at one point the ‘magic’ is described as the clever application of the strange effects of quantum mechanics. This is no more outlandish than the Doctor’s TARDIS, although instead of the unlikely time travel of Doctor Who, this story includes travel between our reality and an unlikely alternate dimension.

It’s an interesting place.

This alternate Earth is run as a police state, and our reluctant hero, The Pan of Hamgee, is a Goverment Blacklisted Indivdual. His existence is therefore illegal, and the fact that he has survived as a GBI for five years, which is about four and a half years longer than normal, proves that he is very good at not being caught. This talent comes to the attention of Big Merv, a major crime boss, who recruits him as his new getaway driver.  For the Pan of Hamgee, this is good news for two reasons. As a GBI, no legitimate employer will hire him, and Merv’s other option was dumping him in the river – with cement overshoes – but these are details we don’t need to go into here.

This story has flying car chases, a bad guy you love to loath, likable gangsters, and a hero you can really identify with since, like most of us, he’s not terribly heroic – at least not intentionally. He reminds me a bit of Rincewind in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. He’s a professional coward whose talent for getting into unintended trouble is only exceeded by his talent for escaping from it. All he wants is a simple, normal life, but the universe seems to have another fate planned for him. The book also has a few laughs, a lot of smiles, and even a bit of political and religious satire. There are far too few books like this. Great characters, interesting setting, humor, and cultural satire, with a genuinely good plot providing a framework holding them together is a hard blend to achieve and an even more difficult one to do well. This book does.

The prose is well executed with just enough description for the reader to visualize the scenes. Backstory, where needed, is integrated seamlessly into the narrative. Dialog is believable and suitable to the characters and to the situation. Grammar, spelling, formatting, and other of technical requirements of the storyteller’s trade that sometimes pose a problem for the independent writer are executed professionally in this book.

It passes my personal 5-star test. In addition to all the basics needed for a well-told tale, it has that something extra that would prompt me to read it again. I enjoyed following the misadventures of The Pan of Hamgee, a likeable sod thrown into an uncomfortable situation in an imaginative world that has certain parallels to our own. I highly recommend it to readers of lighthearted speculative fiction or anyone who may be looking for something a bit different and a lot of fun.

 

Reviewed by Richard Bunning

5 stars

This is a good comic fantasy title off the same sort of humorous planet as writers like Tom Holt, Ben Elton, and Terry Prachett. There is satire and certainly parody, and as with those listed she has the gift of dramatic timing. In other words, MT McGuire is in great, Great British, comic company. The fact that she used to do stand-up comedy doesn’t surprise me a bit.
I’m sure it helps to be a Brit to catch all the clever turns of phrase in this book, but those from once were distant outposts of Britannia will get just as much out of this read; even The ‘us’ should be able to catch the crest of her comic wave.
Of course, if you are not into Peter Cook, John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders, Sandi Toksvig, or MT McGuire Authorholic then you probably won’t like K’Barthan books either. Get a life!