Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cancer: Penny Candles

Title: Cancer: Penny Candles
Author: Vivien Dean
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-60272-708-3
Genre: {M/M} Futuristic
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Set in 2184, the United States is split, the middle half is leading a more primitive existence, struggling to survive after a biological attack on the country. Even though almost a century has passed, the people who live beyond the borders are distrustful of strangers and even the trained military personal are reluctant to cross into its untamed lands.

That doesn’t stop Sullivan Eberle. After experiencing a severe head injury, he’s discharged from a military hospital and he suddenly finds himself compelled to cross the border and find one specific man—Rafe Hamada. He has a note with a name, but he doesn’t remember who gave it to him or why and he doesn’t know where to look for Rafe, he only know he must find him.

Raphael Hamada and his mother left so-called civilization when he was eleven and the last thing they want is to be found, especially by a Strike soldier, even if the man who finds him can’t tell him why. Rafe knows he should tell Sullivan to leave town but he can’t turn his back on the sincere, friendless man. The truth is that, despite what his mother and some of the other townspeople say, Rafe trusts Sullivan, cares for him and doesn’t want to lose him. The question is what keeps him safer? Sullivan leaving town or staying?

Cancer: Penny Candles is part of the Boys of the Zodiac series. This newest release pulled me into the story from the very beginning and left me wanting to know more about Sullivan’s history, and what drove him to find Raphael.

Due to Sullivan’s head injury, there are huge holes in the plot because he just doesn’t know - his memories of the past are gone - and the author does a nice job of handling the uncertainty and unrest of this gentle giant. He’s a quiet, intense guy who only wants to be accepted as the man he is now—not the killing soldier he used to be. The author did a nice job with the mutual interest between Rafe and Sullivan at their initial meeting. She did an equally nice job exploring their simmering attraction and passion as Sullivan settles into life in Chadwick. Rafe is an interesting man; he’s kind-hearted, sincere, passionate and open-minded and ready to allow his heart to love a former soldier, in spite of the possible danger.

The pacing of the story is a bit slow, and there are lots of plot details missing from the first half (unrelated to Sullivan’s injury) of what life in this futuristic world is like. This left me with numerous questions, some of which weren’t answered until the final chapters of the story. The hints and hope for at least some of those answers kept me turning the pages and when the explanations finally arrived, the story buildup finally made sense. By the end, it was a touching romance and a hope for a happy future.

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