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review 2017-12-27 04:47
Man & Beast (The Savage Land #1)
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen

CW: One scene of attempted rape; discussion of rape, assault and atrocities done to Native Americans; and lots and lots of racists dirtbags. This is the frontier, y'all, and the author doesn't shy away from how icky a lot of these people were.


This was unexpected, and in this case that's a good thing. You do need to check your disbelief at the door on this one, at least for the climax. It was a Monty Python case of horrors, that's for sure.

I'm surprised no one yelled, "Why won't you DIE?!" at any point. ;-)

(spoiler show)

The emphasis is on horror because right away you know things just aren't quite right, and by the end you've got a Most Dangerous Game situation that'll keep you flipping the pages.


What I really liked about this is that it wasn't your typical M/M novel. I would even go so far as to say this isn't a romance, though there is a love story of sorts and an HFN. But this didn't follow the standard formula that has, let's be honest, become somewhat stale. And after The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, it was nice getting an historical where the characters sound like they're in an historical. It still could've used a bit more detail than what we got, but again, still much better than Gentleman's. 


John's struggle to learn to speak up and act on his own behalf and those he cares about was a nice journey to watch, even though it was painful at times. He starts off as a man who just runs from everything and has to figure out through many trials what's worth standing up for. He makes a lot of bad decisions and indecisions along the way but I was never frustrated with him. It was obvious why he acted the way he did, not least because he was trying to save his own hide if people found out he's a sodomite. 


Gwennie, Thomas and Palmer are all great supporting characters, and even Samantha gets a point or two in her favor. The ending was a bit abrupt and the epilogue doesn't really wrap up the loose ends. Since the next book is centered around another main character, I'm not sure if we'll see these characters again or not. Hopefully we do because there is certainly more to see with these guys. 


For this being self-published, it was surprisingly light on typos. There were a few more near the end than throughout the rest of the book, but it's still much cleaner than most self-published books out there. The story is in first-person, if that's something that concerns you, but John has an easy and approachable POV, so the writing flows rather well. 

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review 2016-12-18 15:55
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) by Michael Jensen
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen


John Chapman, (loosely based on Johnny Appleseed), led a pretty exciting life towards the end of the 1700's. Man & Beast makes it even more exciting by exploring the romantic side of John's nature. This was my first book containing m/m romance and I found it to be just fine.


Chapman isn't much of a frontiersman and when he turns up on Daniel's doorstep in Pennsylvania, alone with no supplies and winter close on his heels, Daniel takes him in. "In" being a one room, two story cabin with an outhouse and a small barn. Soon snowed in, Daniel and John get to know each other better, but that soon turns out not to be a good thing. Daniel has a very nasty side and likes to drink and John can't wait for the spring thaw to make his escape.


The second part of the novel is about exactly that-John Chapman's escape. He soon begins to make a life for himself in a small town, even though he still has to hide his true nature, (being a homosexual during this time in American history is about the worse thing a man can be.) But not long after his new life is established, his past catches up to him as he always suspected it would, and John is forced to finally make a stand. Instead of running as he always has before, John turns and faces the enemy. Will he survive? You'll have to read this to find out!


Not being a reader of romance at all, never mind a gay one, I was extremely nervous to read this book. Turns out, I needn't have worried. Most romances I've tried in the past just seemed silly and the characters rather vapid, but none of that occurred here. The story took precedence, the romance being secondary, and that worked well for me. To be honest, I was a little freaked out by the sex scenes in the first half of the book, but those scenes were distinctly different in the second half and I settled down with it.


For a novel entirely out of my wheelhouse, I enjoyed Man & Beast. Not having had much experience with romances or gay fiction, my opinion may not mean much, but what's important to me is the STORY, and in that regard, this book delivers. I learned a lot about history, (this book was thoroughly researched), and a bit about gay relationships as well. I learned that in the end, we're all the same and we just want to be ourselves and to be loved. How can a book with that message be a bad thing?


Recommended to fans of historical fiction and romance!



You can buy your copy here: Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1)


*I was given a review copy free of charge, in exchange for my honest feedback. This it it. Additionally, I've known the author online for a while now and consider him to be a friend. This did not affect the contents of my review.*

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text 2016-12-13 02:52
I'm starting Man and Beast by Michael Jensen and...
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen

for some reason, I'm nervous as hell. Why, you ask?


This book is historical fiction and I'm down with that, but it's also partly a romance and a m/m one at that. I've got nothing against the m/m part, it's the romance part that makes me nervous. I just don't do romance. But now I am. 


I feel like I'm the one exploring a new frontier, along with the protagonist. Wish me luck!

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text 2016-11-21 13:25
Savage Beast (Savage People Book 2) - Charleigh Rose
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review 2016-10-19 00:00
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1)
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen
Man & Beast is the updated, re-titled version of Frontiers is a gay historical thriller set in the 1797-1798. It tells the story of John Chapman, a 24-year-old young man, who has to flee his home town in Lower Canada, when his forbidden relationship with a British major has been discovered. To escape from death that threatens him for sodomy, he sets out for western Pennsylvania, to a frontier outpost, where the Holland Land Company offers free land and supplies to settlers. It is his only chance to survive.


Without enough supplies (and money), without a gun, and with a bad sense of direction, exhausted and at the end of his tether, three months later, he stumbles upon a lone cabin. It turns out that Daniel McQuay, an owner of the cabin is a frontiersman, a very experienced hunter and pioneer, who not only lets John to winter over with him, but also teaches him everything a frontiersman has to know to survive in the wilderness. And a bit more… Daniel is like John.

Very quickly they become closer, and even if Daniel is a rough, reticent, grumpy and a very moody person, sex between them at the beginning is the best one, John has ever had. But something in their relationship is missing, John wants more than sex, and he realizes how little he knows about his host.


The longer they stay together, the more difficult their relationship becomes. As the winter progresses Daniel lets off bursts of anger, uncontrollable temper tantrums more frequent, and his alcohol consumption becomes a serious problem. Gradually he begins to feel himself like being in a trap and he decides to leave Daniel as soon as spring comes. Knowing that Daniel is not very enthusiastic about his intention to leave, he tries to keep them secret, but when he finds accidently a shocking truth about the lone frontiersman, he can’t wait any longer to run away.

It is exactly a point in the book, an unexpected twist that turns the whole story suddenly into an engaging action thriller, and…where the first part ends.
The second part starts almost with the same situation, that the first part began with: John Chapman flees fearing for his life. Again.

I’m not going to tell you the whole book, but it will be much more than this. When John’s life seems at last to be settled, his past catches up with him, and demands all his survivor’s skills to not be completely swallowed by it. Again.


I very enjoyed this novel, it seems to waver for a little before it really gets going, but it is exactly what makes it so interesting: very REAL historical settings and atmosphere, but with a healthy dose of fairy tale, a slow beginning and an enchanting speed-up towards the end. A well-done balance between the first and the second part of the book: while the first part is mostly character-focused, the second part is plot-focused, full of actions and twists, that will rope you in and not let you go until you reach the final word.

I wouldn’t consider Man & Beast as a MM romance. I see it in the first place as a historical gay fiction, though romance is present here, but it is rather as a sub-plot that accompanies a main story-line. Some parts of the book are not for the faint-hearted. But as the title of the series betrays, it was a savage time of period, and everything else would be a lie.

I’m definitely going to read the second book, and can’t wait for it to be released.

Highly recommended to all fans of gay historical fiction.

P.S I have just learned that John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed did really exist. Maybe this fact is well known for an average American reader, but it was a new one for me. It made this story even more interesting. The author gives us his idea of John Chapman's life, based on known historical facts, that is totally acceptable and realistic.

***Copy provided kindly by the author in exchange for an honest review***

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