Friday, June 3, 2016

A Decade of Visions by Cameron Ramses

Born to a single mother in Dust Bowl-era Nebraska, Roy Manger learns to deny his true self from an early age. The rural Midwest is no place for a boy who wears girls’ clothes for fun—let alone for one who suffers gruesome hallucinations. It is only when he leaves home that he can embrace his true identity, spending his days as Roy and his nights as Raina, working as an escort in a ritzy Chicago bordello. But after a run-in with the law, Roy is torn between extremes: to live as a man or as a woman; to ignore his grief or struggle to accept it; to suppress his visions or seek to understand them. With the support of Woodrow, a convict with a murky past, Roy will have to come to terms with the fact that, in life, all of the greatest joys must come from within—and the greatest dangers, too.

A Decade of Visions contains adult content suitable for mature readers only. There are also instances of graphic gore and period typical homophobia.

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NineStar Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Cameron Ramses is a new-to-me author.

To be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea how to review A Decade of Visions, or how to rate it either. All I can say is it was unexpected, original, intriguing yet confusing, and in a niche genre unto itself. So while I don't want to steer anyone away from reading it, I fear those looking for a mainstream MM romance will be confused. While those who 'get it', which I was one of them, will find it a very unique read.

The book itself is broken up into sections, beginning early in Roy's life at age 12. Honesty rearing its ugly head again, the beginning was not a hook for me. I struggled something fierce, but the story itself kept me engaged. Most of the scenes setting up the book were odd – the whole book was odd, truly – but these were odder than odd. There was some head-hopping, so I had a hard time keeping up with whether or not it was Roy, his mother, the various members of the vet's family. It was just back and forth in a very odd fashion. So when 'book 2' came about, I was seriously doubting whether or not I would continue. But I stuck with it.

Truthfully, when I came to the page that said Book 2, I got on Goodreads to make sure this wasn't an anthology of short stories, because I was beyond confused. In this instance, Book 2 was a jump in time – in other instances, it was no different than going from one chapter to the next.

Years later, in Chicago, Roy was Raina at this point, told by a man who would get 'Roy' arrested, where he meets the main love interest. In jail of all places. So while the delivery was inventive, it was still slightly dry. But, as I said, the story itself kept me going. Full circle – the reader is then thrust back to where we began – Nebraska.

Without giving the plot away, because I'm not sure how to explain it if I tried, I'll give out some key information. A Decade of Visions begins in the dust bowl in Nebraska, where a little boy is too sensitive. I'm not sure if you can call him gay, or transgender, as Roy himself says he feels like neither a boy or girl – he's just Roy or Raina, he or she, depending on how he is dressed. I did enjoy Roy/Raina.

Roy sees shadows of his dead loved ones – schizophrenia is mentioned, but those of faith would see it as seeing spirits. This is a large part of the storyline. It's not paranormal in nature, I need to add.

In a nutshell, the premise is unique, unlike anything I've ever read, but the writing style was just as odd – many conversations flowed like an interrogation, with paragraphs of 'telling' dialogue broken up with, "Roy asked a question." But the reader is left to guess what the question was by how the dialogue speaker answers. Then, as to break up the dialogue again, "Roy thought as much." "Roy asked another question." This happened frequently, and I found it jarring.

As for the blurb, which makes it sound like it's a sexy, running from the law type of read...10% was in the bordello, with not much of anything dealing with the world's oldest profession. All between the sheets action is fade to black. The other 90% was as dark and depressive as Nebraska during the dust bowl.

I'm not saying the book won't stick with me, or that the characters weren't developed or intriguing. Just that A Decade of Visions doesn't read as the blurb made it sound, and I felt I better issue that as a warning. Because from the blurb, you'd expect a sexy, exciting read. For a reader like me, who enjoys books which don't follow the norm, I was entertained. For someone expecting what the blurb is offering, they may get a bit bent out of shape with their review/ratings.

An author and lover of queer literature, Cameron Ramses lives in Virginia and has never set eyes on a straight person.

Connect with Cameron

NineStar Press  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Decade of Visions by Cameron Ramses to read and review.

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