The Time of the Singing by Louise Blaydon

Note:  I am invoking my right to distance myself from the drunken rants of any and all of my reviewers.  In the event that you take offense to any or everything that you read below, please limit your comments to her inbox.  Thank you, Portia.♥

Title: The Time of the Singing

Author: Louise Blaydon

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (195pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (11th November 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Raised by devout parents, Israfel Vacek is a teenager before he realizes he may be turning into someone his parents would shun. When he confesses his fears to his brother, Michael suggests Raf might be able to save himself if he joins the clergy.

Though Raf is well-suited to the clerical life, enjoying the piety of his parishioners, his homosexual desires don’t go away. Still, Raf is able to repress them, until one young churchman decides he wants Raf for himself. Nate Mulligan is a bundle of contradictions, a devout believer who insists their love can’t be wrong, and Raf finds himself powerless to resist.

At first, Raf puts his guilt out of his mind, but when a misunderstanding brings his relationship with Nate to Michael’s attention, Raf realizes he has to make a choice: give up Nate to serve the Church and save his relationship with his family… or find his own path to grace and save himself.

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Review: Okay, so this story has me heavily conflicted.   Mainly, because I hate religion based books.  Yes, I know I should show some compassion for the deluded fools who read a story book and believe it’s written by God. (No offence meant) So I got 3 sheets to the wind (drunk) and cracked the book open.

Raf has always known that he was gay, but because of his religion believes it to be a sin.  When he confesses to his brother, his brother tells him not to be stupid and the second time gets help from the local church to help Raf out. They advise him that it is his ‘Trial’ and to enter the clergy and serve God.   He finds it hard after he takes over a new parish and one of the churchmen sets out to seduce him. Nate is a determined young man when he sets his mind to it and he wants Father Raf.  Nate doesn’t believe everything in the Bible and sets out to show Raf that.

Now, some people have said stuff about Nate’s age ‘cuz he is 17, but in my Country the legal age is 16 so it didn’t bother me in the least.  Some people have said stuff because of the age gap of 12 years, but well my hubby is 10 years older than me so doesn’t bother me in the least.  Some people have said stuff about a clergyman abusing his position but from what I read the poor bloke didn’t stand a chance against Nate.  Nate was a force of nature that got what he wanted no matter what.

This was a well written story that tried to come across as a soul-searching, life-changing, smack in the head by God epiphany but didn’t quite pull it off.  Now don’t get me wrong, it came close, but the writing style was a bit too choppy and bland and stilted to pull it off. We see a lot of Raf in this; including his early struggles with his sexuality and the ‘support’ that he got from the church as well as his internal struggle about his attraction for Nate, Nate’s age and his responsibilities to the church and his family. But what we don’t get much of is anything about Nate, we don’t get Nate’s struggles or fears or doubts, we don’t find out how or why he has so much confidence or conviction, we don’t really know much about him other than the bits and pieces that were thrown at us by way of Raf.

Morningstar by S. L. Armstrong

Title: Morningstar

Author: S.L. Armstrong

Genre: Religious Theme, Angels

Length: Short (29pgs)

Publisher: Storm Moon Press (5th October 2010)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: This retelling the Biblical mythos of the Creation and the Fall comes from the perspective of the Fallen: the angel Morningstar. It is the story of an angel, not of pride and envy, but of confusion and frustration. Forced to watch as the place of the angels as the Creator’s favored is slowly taken over by the rise of Man, Morningstar seeks solace with his lover, Radueriel.

Radueriel has a fanatical devotion to the Creator, and he repeatedly urges Morningstar to surrender to the Creator’s will. Unable to do so, Morningstar revolts against the Creator and His ineffable Divine Plan, jeopardizing his relationship with Radueriel and risking the wrath of God. The revolution fails, and the rebelling angels are expelled from Heaven.

Not to Hell, but to Earth.

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Review: Morningstar has lost faith with God.  he believes the Almighty is pushing the Angels away and is also making a mistake of His treatment of Man. Radueriel still believes in the Almighty’s wisdom and tries to steer Morningstar from his rebellious path.

This is a beautifully written tale of the Fall of the Angels and is told from Morningstar’s point of view. This story for the first half reads like a biblical tale.  Morningstar begins to doubt God when he creates Man and then punishes those who did not deserve to be punished. Morningstar starts to have other doubts and so begins his rebellion. Radueriel does everything he can think of to save Morningstar but failed, now after thousands of years he goes to Morningstar on Earth.

This is a beautiful rendition of the Fall of the Angels while showing that Morningstar was not filled with envy or pride but believed that the Angels rightful place was being usurped by the humans. The love between Morningstar and Radueriel is loving and pure even when they are on Earth.

I will recommend this to those who love religious themed m/m, that has sweet and rough love and an alternative to the normal Devil/Satan/Lucifer Fallen Angel theme.