Neko Parks

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Smashwords book reviews by Neko Parks

  • Might Have Been on Jan. 23, 2013

    Captivating Time Travel Erotic Romance Partially romantic wish-fulfillment, partially quantum-mechanics driven science fiction-- words are inadequate to express the humor and humanity that infuses Jeremy Sterling’s new novel Might Have Been. From the opening sardonic vignette of thwarted birthday sex, we learn that the hero Lance is trapped in an emotionally arid and sexually demoralizing relationship. Lance’s self-reflection reveals a man facing the dilemma that devotion is not enough to save the woman he loves: "In truth, my stomach churned at the thought of losing her. She needed me, and God-help-me I loved her. I had promised I wouldn't leave. I was better than all the other men in her life, and would honor that promise. She was testing me, forcing the proof that my love was unconditional and could be relied upon. Eventually, she would gain confidence and feel the security she needed and we could be a normal couple. That is what I had been telling myself for five years, but I was less convinced every additional morning I pulled away from the cold lover in my warm bed." While Lance is a man steeped in regrets for missed opportunities (both professionally and romantically), his character’s basic decency and charming self-effacing humor shines through the futility of his current existence. As a scientist at a fictional physics research lab Fermilab in Chicago, Lance helps develop a time travel device that allows him to revisit the woman from his past—not the women he dated but his” might have beens.” Often on his lonely commutes to and from work, Lance recalls that his “ favorite fantasies were women [he} never dated, but almost did – where time unfolds otherwise. . . [he] rewrites [his] life’s history with a better plot, hot sex, and a happy ever after. . or take a chance that only made sense in hindsight. . . [his] Might-Have-Beens – who have the perfection of potential.” While time travel plots are difficult to construct due to paradoxes caused by knowledge of future events influencing and altering past events, Sterling avoids these plot pitfalls by applying the Many Worlds Theory or a type of string theory to Lance’s time traveling exploits. Since Lance’s reality is woven within many strands or worlds of existence, his experimentation is not altering the main path or strand of his life. He cannot tell his father not to sell his Apple stock in 2001 or warn people of the 9/11 attacks. All he can do is influence his own personal history regarding decision made in his recent past. After exploring romantically and sexually various women from his past, Lance has to face the most destructive force in his life—Tasha. By using time jumping, he is able to explore different points in his relationship with this beautiful but emotionally unstable woman. Ultimately, Lance realizes that it is not one of his “might have beens” that is the key to his future romantic happiness, but a woman from his past that was once a friend. In one of the most endearingly funny and sexy scenes ever written in romantic fiction, Lance begins to woe the love of his life: “How are you going to seduce me, Lance?” “That's up to you. You get to set me three tasks. If I complete them, I win.” “You win?” “Your heart, or at least a chance at it.” Sarah considered. “Any task?” “Yes.” “So I could tell you to climb the Empire State Building and swat down airplanes?” Her smile was sufficiently wicked that I knew she was considering it. “You can indeed set a task that you know I will fail, which will tell me that I cannot hope to win your heart. At least not today.” Sarah pursed her lips in mock disapproval. “This seems to be a lazy seduction, Lance. All the creativity is on me.” “Which is why it's brilliant. I set a creative challenge in front of you that will be irresistible, and make you complicit in your own seduction, which you will find kind of hot.” “You haven't seen me for ten years, and you think you know me well enough to make very specific predictions about what I find irresistible and what makes me hot?” “Yes.” “You don't think making such presumptuous predictions will make me say otherwise even if you are right?” “Honesty is too important to you.” Sarah screwed up her lips as she considered that, but I could see the laughter in her eyes even before she spoke. “Alright, Lance. Game on.” Jeremy Sterling’s erotic romance MIGHT HAVE BEEN features smart characterizations, poignant humor, and a possible answer to the age old paradox of whether one can love and be wise.
  • Tales of The Circle Aurora's Punishment. on May 22, 2013
    (no rating)
    Intriguing BDSM Novel of Sexual Politics TALES OF THE CIRCLE: BOOK ONE is a brilliantly written book concerning the Byzantine world of sexual politics in an exclusive BDSM club. Craft has penned an erotic novel full of compellingly intelligent characters and erotically charged scenes that do not romanticize the hardcore elements of the BDSM life style. This book is not your sugar-coated, many shades- of- whatever type of BSDM erotica, but a novel that depicts the BSDM world with truth and emotional complexity. In some respects, this novel is reminiscent of Laura Antoniou’s series THE MARKETPLACE. While the characters of Justine and Tyler are written with intelligence and verve, it is the beautiful but emotionally damaged Mark Phillips that is the stand out character and the main reason to read this novel. In character of Phillips, Craft has created a memorable anti-hero of such beauty and heartbreaking complexity. Phillips’s sexual energy cannot be contained but is a force of nature. Clearly, the author does not intend for Phillips to be a romance novel style hero. Not to give away any of the plot points in this review, but Craft has the ingenuity and integrity to not sanitize Mark Phillips’s past and character. Craft portrays Phillips as a dangerous bad boy with all the beauty of a fallen angel and the mercurial nature of a rising thunderstorm—and curiously at his most compelling and heartbreaking in the jagged points of his scarred psyche. I highly recommend Tales of the Circle: Book One to any reader that love enjoys deliciously edgy and intelligently written erotica.
  • Tales of the Circle Book One: Welcome to the Circle on May 22, 2013

    Intriguing BDSM Novel of Sexual Politics TALES OF THE CIRCLE: BOOK ONE is a brilliantly written book concerning the Byzantine world of sexual politics in an exclusive BDSM club. Craft has penned an erotic novel full of compellingly intelligent characters and erotically charged scenes that do not romanticize the hardcore elements of the BDSM life style. This book is not your sugar-coated, many shades- of- whatever type of BSDM erotica, but a novel that depicts the BSDM world with truth and emotional complexity. In some respects, this novel is reminiscent of Laura Antoniou's series THE MARKETPLACE. While the characters of Justine, Victoria, and Alex are written with intelligence and verve, it is the beautiful but emotionally damaged Mark Phillips that is the stand out character and the main reason to read this novel. In character of Phillips, Craft has created a memorable anti-hero of such beauty and heartbreaking complexity. Phillips's sexual energy cannot be contained but is a force of nature. Clearly, the author does not intend for Phillips to be a romance novel style hero. Not to give away any of the plot points in this review, but Craft has the ingenuity and integrity not to sanitize Mark Phillips's past and character. Craft portrays Phillips as a dangerous bad boy with all the beauty of a fallen angel and the mercurial nature of a rising thunderstorm--and curiously at his most compelling and heartbreaking in the jagged points of his scarred psyche. I highly recommend Tales of the Circle: Book One to any reader that enjoys deliciously edgy and intelligently written erotica.