Friday, July 15, 2016

Blog Tour ~ Man Soup - A Tale of Sink or Swim by Alexander Clifford ~ (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Blog Tour ~ Man Soup - A Tale of Sink or Swim by Alexander Clifford  ~ (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)
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Title: Man Soup - A Tale of Sink or Swim 
Author: Alexander Clifford 
Release Date: May 12th 2016 
Genre: Dark erotica, Gay fiction


21-year-old Ed leaves his English village for London on a quest for fame, fortune and sex. But as he starts to conquer the city he discovers his own demons and the darkness of others. As he travels and pursues lovers he burns out. Will Ed ever find satisfaction or will he drown in the depths of man soup?

This is a gay coming of age story with some heavy topics and dark erotica themes. It'll make you hard and break your heart. You have been warned.



Ed tippytoed awkwardly down the red steps. He was excited but confused. He came to the changing rooms and the lockers and was overawed by the energy he felt and saw. All these men, half naked putting on socks, taking off towels, pulling off shirts - like it was the most natural thing in the world.

It only made him aware of how self-conscious he’d always been, especially around his body and nakedness. Here were all these fully grown men, some older, some more nubile - just changing. Being men. It was like in that moment his mind, his barriers, his awkwardness were all coming down, he felt suddenly so liberated and excited that he could be proud of his body here. He could be naked without weird looks or judgment. He could be admired for his body. It all felt so dirty and wrong and exciting.

He eagerly took his clothes off, but didn’t look around much. That must have been a habit from the PE changing rooms at school. Get dressed quickly. Don’t look around. Don’t get accused of being gay. Take a sneaky glance here or there but don’t do anything that will make them think you fancy them. He exhaled loudly. He was almost shivering at the anticipation and excitement he was feeling. It was like a new fantasy world that he was discovering, well beyond his imagination."

***A copy of this book was provided by the publisher to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review***

Man Soup describes itself as a gay coming of age story with some heavy topics and dark erotica themes, giving the reader a quick warning before they dive in. This is definitely not a sweet tale of young love, but more an existential journey for both characters who have grown jaded with the stereotypical, darker, seedier side of nightlife.  It's a quest for love and acceptance and two very different men who somehow come together in a confusing friendship.

I had trouble deciding whether or not Ed was truly human or not. From the beginning of the book he gave off a dark almost predatory vibe. I couldn't quite decide whether he was good or bad, young or old.  Nothing was clear about Ed until closer to the end and unfortunately that was when I decided I didn't care for his character at all. Ed was not good, he was an extremely troubled man who seemed to get off on abuse.

Young men were a big part of Ed’s life. He had a charm, charisma and a killer stare that would win over even the most reticent guys. Sex was an outlet, an escape from the frustration of his day to day life. Behind closed doors he could be a beast and devour his prey. And what was even better is the guy would love it. He would love being taken home on a night bus, kissed tenderly, thrown onto the bed. Teased, touched, bitten, scraped and licked in all the right places.
 Sex was Ed’s domain. He loved stimulating, arousing, playing with that desire in himself and another boy. Much like a cat with ball of string. This was his place. It was art. A creative expression where boys were a fleshy toy. They would make all kinds of noises, moans, grunts and snarls. And they would beg. Beg for more. Beg to be hurt. Pain and pleasure were so intense that they would be indistinguishable. Ed would bring these boys out of themselves, into the realm of pure desire, pure wanting, pure trust. He was rough and mean with a caring touch.

Timothy was softer, brighter, yet dissatisfied with his life in many ways. He craves love, but unable to find it, he continues to look for it everywhere he goes. His friendship with Ed is bittersweet, he wants more but is pushed away time and time again. His character is more likable than Ed's, but honestly not by much. I found him to be needy and blind to Ed's true nature. And while some may find his persistence to help Ed admirable, I felt as if it was self-destructive.

He put the phone down and sighed again. Why was life so tough? His heart ached. Everything was so transactional. So tricky. So give and take. Why can’t we be like children who just play and love and laugh? Or dogs? They know what life is about. They laugh, cry, smile. Everything is so warm and immediate. There were no power games, or pretenses. Nobody was reserved. Or selfconscious. It was just being. Being!

He smiled and put the phone in his pocket and stared as the horizon became a big stripe of pink, green and navy blue of night. It wasn’t that bad after all. At least he had himself. He’d seen life. He’d acted. He’d danced. He’d met peasants and kings. He’d traveled. He had a roof over his head, food in his belly. A holiday to enjoy, that he was finding it hard to enjoy.

I'd like to say this book had a happy ending, but unfortunately, I'm not quite sure if it did. Ed and Timothy both are smiling at the end but in all honesty I didn't feel the resolution. Too many unresolved questions for me. I am not even sure of the ambiguous message of the story. I guess I'll just say it's open for interpretation.

3 Stars!

✮Note: Possible trigger Rape/Dubious Consent✮

  GIVEAWAY: WIN a $10 Amazon Gift Card

About the Author

AlexAlexander Clifford is a young British author. He is very perceptive and curious and has always been fascinated by practical psychology and what makes people tick. His biggest influences are Stefan Zweig and Colin Wilson - whose writing asks the big questions. Who am I? How can I fit into the world despite being an outsider? What is it like to really be human? His curiosity led him to working various jobs in marketing, as a copywriter, journalist, salesperson, estate agent and masseur. He's also traveled the world to the Caribbean, America and many European countries. All of this observation and curiosity has given Alexander a wealth of material to write books that he hopes resonates with you.  

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