Hi all! Today’s book, WORLD’S END, is contemporary (?) historical (?), uh, look–I KNOW it was a M/M FANTASY (!), but let’s just say the timeline is subject to whimsy. It’s out now, from a new-to-me author M. LeAnne Phoenix. Jump on the Book Blog Bus, with me.
Kiyoshi awakes from a fever aware of two things. One, he is not in the home he can for some reason only vaguely recall. Two, he has fallen for Shelly, the man who cared for him through his fever. Shelly is as enigmatic as the island he has found himself on.
With few answers about who he is, Shelly’s own identity, how he came to be there with Shelly, and just what this strange place is, Kiyoshi comes to accept just one thing. He and Shelly are meant to be no matter what befalls them. They are tied together by fate, all the way to what just may be the end of their world.
Well, me hearties! This be a…
Okay, okay. I can HEAR your eyes rolling. No more Pirate-speak. (Beware of bad puns, however!)
So, this book took me on a ride from the historic netherworld to Sunny California. Kiyoshi is a slight Japanese man on a deserted island with one other soul–Shelly Gwynne. In World’s End, it’s the 18th century, and Shelly is a reformed pirate who spends his days making swords. He nursed Kiyoshi back to health when he washed ashore suffering amnesia and a fever.
Kiyoshi and Shelly have just come to terms with their isolation (and mutual attraction) when some of Shelly’s pirate comrades show up. Shelly had made a vow to bring back the soul of Capt. Cam Morgan, and he will get no rest until he does so. The thing is, Shelly doesn’t want to leave Kiyoshi behind, but taking Kiyoshi from the island results in tumultuous storms.
The thing is, Kiyoshi’s having strange dreams about an alternate life. A “modern” life he doesn’t understand. And, the unnatural darkness closing in on Shelly and Kiyoshi’s idyllic island is soon tearing these men apart.
It’s an interesting book–lots of twists. I had wished for a little bit more build-up in the romance, because we essentially meet Shelly and Kiyoshi at the point where they have fallen for each other. I do love how passionate they are, and their anxiety surrounding their separation feels real–but I hoped for a bit steamier smexytimes. I struggled a little with tense in the book–because we shifted from past to present in dreamscapes and then reality. I did enjoy the historical scenes, mostly because I’m a sucker for vernacular.
Day Three, The Island:
I don’t know where this place is that I find meself. I’d wager that it’s no hell place, because I fear that a hell place would be hotter and with much less water and vegetation. I’d also wager it ain’t heaven because I figure heaven would be in possession of more souls’n just this one. It cain’t be purgatory because even pirates don’t truly believe in a middle ground when it comes to the afterlife.
I sighed, pausing in my musings as the tide tickled my toes, squinting my eyes at the light from the rising sun. It’d been two days since I coughed all the water out of my lungs and dragged myself onto dry land. I remembered waiting for Hunter on the deck of the Kingston, and I remembered the sharp pain in my side, reaching down a hand to find blood staining my vest. I remembered turning around to see Hunter standing behind me, her face set.
“I’m sorry about this. You must understand that I don’t want this. You can’t come with me now and you cannot tell Cam what I know you long to tell him when we find him.”
“Ye’d rather me die? Hunter… have ye truly turned pirate?”
“I’d rather spare you the pain of living alone than being left again—”
“I’d rather ye didn’t kill me—”
“Too late, Shelly Gwynne.”
She’d pushed me over the railing and I’d fallen into those frigid waters, certain that the blood from my wound would call all manner of hungry animals, but the cold had sent me to sleeping and I only vaguely remembered slipping beneath the waves.
I furrowed my brow as I saw something riding the tide coming to shore. Getting to my feet, I walked towards the shape, finding it to be the first of what would be many supplies. Wrapped in nets I would later use to catch fish, I found a bushel of apples, a case of straw packed green bottles containing rum and wine, and as I dragged them in, the next wave that nearly swept over me sent a heavy wooden chest slamming into the sand, creating a deep furrow next to my feet. Seeing the lock on its front, I frowned.
How in hell am I s’posed to get into that? I reckon it needs a key—
Something cold tumbled over my feet in the froth washing over my feet and I looked down to see a two-pronged iron key lying in the sand by my right foot. Picking it up, I lifted my gaze to the sun and squinted again as I thought, What is this place?
Kneeling before the chest, I inserted the key and gave it a twist. The lock opened and I removed it, lifting the heavy lid to find it full of smithy’s tools. A small smile touched my lips when I lifted one and found the initials S. G. burnt into the handle. I shook my head and took a look around me.
“Well, m’boy… looks like we might be here for a time.”
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About the Author:
M. LeAnne Phoenix would tell you that the worst time of her life was the two years that she attempted to take off from writing. If you asked her to explain exactly why she did such a thing, you would most likely get the mad attempt to arch an eyebrow like her dad and then a shake of the head as she told you it was unlucky to speak of such things. Suffice it to say, it will never happen again!
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in the mid-1970’s, Ms. Phoenix was young and wild (and even free!) during the crazy wondrous decade known as the 1980’s and the even crazier but now grungy decade of the 1990’s. Music is second only to the muses that live and breathe to fill her mind with beautiful men, and music always helps them to tell their stories. She is never without her iPod or her computer no matter where she goes, although, she does like to hike and take pictures of the sky and the moon, and even the occasional shot of the sun through the branches of a tree.
An avid cat lover, Ms. Phoenix has been owned by many throughout her life, though her current owner is one Lily-Rose, who really would like for her to step away from the keyboard and pay her some attention! After all, hasn’t she earned it?
M. LeAnne Phoenix can be found on Facebook. As this is her first real foray into the professional world of writing, there will be more social media to come.