Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations#1)

Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations#1) A Search For Missing Children Throws A Misanthropic Human GPS And An Obnoxious Human Torch Together In A Struggle To Survive Dangerous Conspiracies And Each OtherDamien Just Wants To Be Left Alone Too Bad His Variant Talent As A Locator Makes Him The Go To Contractor For The Government S Missing Person Cases He Can Refuse, But It S Not So Easy When The Missing Are Variant Kids Blaze Emerson Is A Sparker People Fear Him As Much For His Ability To Call Fire As His Obnoxious, Violent Temperament He S Good At What He Does, Though, And He S Intrigued By The Quiet Man Who Can Find People With His Brain Conspiracies, Treachery, And Wild Rumors Are Only The Start First Damien And Blaze Have To Survive Each Other

Angel Martinez currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head She has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate Angel s alter ego writes the all ages science fiction Sandra Stixrude.

[Download] ➵ Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations#1)  By Angel  Martinez – Stockbag.info
  • ebook
  • 145 pages
  • Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations#1)
  • Angel Martinez
  • English
  • 17 October 2019

10 thoughts on “Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations#1)

  1. says:

    3.5 stars Overall I thought this was a very enjoyable sci fi dystopian romance about two very different variant men whose powers, personalities, and histories often keep them very separated from others, but who end up fitting very well with each other.What I liked I ve only read one other work by Martinez, the sci fi epic adventure Gravitational Attraction, which I also enjoyed I like Martinez s style She packs in a lot of action and activity without overwhelming the story too much, and she moves in directions that are not easy to forecast ahead of time, which means lots of interesting surprises story wise Gravitational Attraction is a great example of this That story goes way beyond its blurb Rarely Pure and Never Simple shares that trait The story starts off far in the future, where our world has been darkened by pandemics and other events, and where variants people with special abilities, kind of like mutants in X Men have been born and are now living amongst normal humans, although they have to deal with discrimination and fear from the majority.Cranky, abrasive Blaze, who is a sparker can create fire with his hands is brought in as the muscle to protect Damien, a locator who has the ability to find people, and who has been tasked with finding a group of missing variant children What makes Damien a little different from the variant norm that Blaze usually deals with is his extreme anxiety that causes a lot of OCD patterns and makes him afraid of dealing with most people Fortunately for Damien, Blaze has a keen understanding of what he needs to work, and gives him the space he needs without judgment.The story moves on from there, and Martinez kept things up at a quick clip as the plot shifted from the school where the kids had studied to an extremist compound to a hidden sanctuary and so on Damien is following the threads that he innately feels inside of him, leading him to find out what happened to the kids, and Blaze is right there with him, trying his best to protect a man who sometimes will run out of the car without notice, fueled by the intense need to find, and blind to the dangers that might be around him Martinez s ability to keep the plot shifting along meant that I was often happily surprised in how the story moved, and it really kept my interest The main characters were great, sympathetic and appealing It s easy to fall for Damien, who was abused as a child, and who falls back on his OCD patterns to maintain control and feel safe Blaze comes off as a bit of hardheaded jackass at first, but he quickly grows on you, especially as he realizes what things Damien needs, and responds accordingly without being condescending.That was actually one of my favorite things about the story Both Damien and Blaze had things that others might have seen as abnormal or kinky, in regards to Blaze s love of fun underwear , but they made efforts to understand and accept each other rather than trying to change or fix Blaze gave Damien the space he needed, even if that meant extra time as Damien packed and repacked the car in the morning, and Damien found Blaze s collection of lacey and outrageous undergarments as quite entrancing and sexy.Big A points for not involving healing sex to fix Damien s tics and fears His anxiety does not go away through the story, but he does learn to be comfortable and intimate with the one person who makes him feel safe.So, really the characters and their developing relationship and how they worked and accepted each other were definitely my favorite parts I thought Blaze s understanding of Damien s anxiety issues was very refreshing and SEXY Speaking of sexy, this book is low on sexy times, but not sexy tension There are a couple intimate scenes, but they do not overshadow the story I actually appreciated that because it meant that Martinez wasn t artificially trying to insert sexy times in between action set pieces So no awkward instances of We re running from bad guys, so let s have sex or You re terribly injured and tired, so let s have sex The few scenes she has make sense for the story and what was going on.I also thought it was refreshing because what intimacy was there didn t focus on specific sexual dynamics Blaze might be a big strong guy, but he does like lacey thongs Damien might be shorter and pretty to some, but he doesn t get relegated immediately into the bottom drawer I liked how Martinez steered away from some well used patterns here, mostly by avoiding the issue of penetrative sex, which is fine It s one of those things that s not necessary to reveal developing intimacy between characters.What was a little harder At around 58,000 words, it s a good sized novel, but I wished it was longer Not just because I d liked to read about the characters which I do I like them a lot , but also there s a lot going on in the story, and a lot going on in the background of this future world roving gangs, wildlings, government discrimination of variants, potential corruption in the variant superhero group The Guild, etc I wouldn t have minded if it the story was given some space to flesh out some of the scenes and background conflicts There s a climactic ish scene around the third quarter that moves quickly, but I wouldn t have minded if that scene was a little longer and had some conflict There s not a Big Baddie here, and I don t think it s necessary to have a Big Baddie, but I missed some of the tension that a Big Baddie or something like that can bring to a story There s a lot of movement in the story, which is great for quick pacing, but I wished there was a little tension The baddies are kind of in the background , and that dulled the edge of the last quarter, rather than have a ramp up There s a little bit of a love triangle Not too much really, because the reader really knows what s going on, but the MCs don t I liked the side character, but the fear over the potential love triangle felt a little inserted to add some angst and to create the reason why our heroes would eventually separate but not for too long, so no worries there I love Damien, but for those who like a little hurt comfort, he s a little bit of woobie character that could fall into the broken man trope It s not too bad though Martinez didn t delve into deep h c territory, which I appreciated, but he s definitely a character that has some issues, and has people worrying about him on page a lot, which if you re an h c fan, you ll be good, but if you re not at all, you might find it a little off putting Again, I do appreciate that Martinez didn t focus on fixing Damien though That was a nice change of pace OverallEven with my few caveats, I really enjoyed the story, and I really liked the main characters, their relationship, and how they bounced off each other and fit together I think Martinez is good at creating really appealing characters, very fast paced, plot driven stories, and very interesting sci fi worlds.I m very happy I read it, and I m definitely on board if there will be stories with Blaze and Damien Their story has a nice ending here, but I would definitely line up to read adventures with them Plus, we d get to see of Blaze s underwear choices Originally reviewed for

  2. says:

    4 STARS MY 1ST READ OF 2014 AND I LOVED IT I m not really into the Sci Fi Dystopian genre but the I read of it I really enjoy THIS BOOK WAS STELLAR Damien Ahhhhhhh I loved him from the beginning, he seemed so broken and lonely, and my heart hurt for him I wanted to just hug him lots and lots and always.Blaze Oh whaaaat a Blaze of glory I love him, his sarcasm, his wit, his heart, him him him himThe story is fast paced and really interesting The plot kept you wanting .Fire starters, trackers, earthquakes, heartaches.The supporting characters you either loved or hated For them there was no in between.There were things that I didn t get, like wtf it was that they were driving I was really hoping for pics at some points but you know what, it worked so who cares After a while I just pictured what I wanted to picture and it was even better The sexual chemistry and the sexual tension was delicious Loved it.Loved Blaze s jealousy, loved Damien s jealousy LOVED.ITThe angst is subtle, there is sarcasm in spades, and the ending made my heart sing.Try Macy Gray 2 as this is a series, I m pretty sure it is about Shudder and I can t freaking wait cause he deserves his HEA.Mare Slitsread

  3. says:

    3.5I m having good luck with this author s paranormals I really enjoyed the X men type story about variants You read this author for the well drawn characters and dynamic between the leads I loved both Blaze and Damien here, and especially admired the small notes like how Blaze gives Damien space to deal with his issues without acting like it s a big deal ALSO there are MANTIES, including blue velvet ones I ve noticed that Martinez seems to like bringing ex lovers into her stories in ways that always feel fresh and constructive, unlike the usual caricatured nightmares or annoying love triangles Like Quinn s Gambit, this is a low key read there is no big villain or enduring threat that needs to be conquered, which means that unlike X men there s no overarching allegorical theme or sense of larger consequences to the story That s refreshing in that it keeps the focus entirely on the main relationship, and too often those big bads are rote or just dumb but it also gives the paranormal world less heft than it might have or to say the same thing in another way, makes the book feel a bit slight Still, paranormal is one of my favorite genres, but also the one I have the worst luck with in terms of books I can actually finish Martinez has the gift of consistency her books are always well written, with interesting, believable characters, and great sexytimes including here MANTIES That s enough to earn her a permanent place on my auto buy list.

  4. says:

    4.5 stars rounded up I love a good paranormal sci fi story Add in two quirky, very different, flawed but likeable men, smoldering sexual tension, a hurt comfort theme, and a believable to me anyway romance, I m happy There is not a lot of smut in this book and that is than ok with me The best books I have read in this genre use sex scenes very judiciously and to great effect I liked the interesting take on genetic mutants with special abilities called variants here view spoiler I have to think about the science some to see if I truly buy it a nucleotide analog Fredamine inserted into DNA that has cured genetic diseases and rarely bestows special abilities but honestly, it didn t bother me as I was reading And yes, there are parallels to some themes seen in the Marvel universe, such as rogue government exploitation and experimentation on variants , the mutant vs non mutant politics, etc but the nice pacing and the character driven story keep it fresh and interesting I came to really like Blaze, the badass alpha male who blusters and pisses everyone off to hide his wounded heart, and Damien, who has had to isolate himself and turn to repetitive behaviors to barely cope with the psychological damage stemming from child abuse hide spoiler

  5. says:

    Note A free copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review I honestly don t know what word to use to describe this story Outstanding Amazing Phenomenal Perhaps I ll just use all three It was also highly creative and original, exciting, suspenseful, and I truly didn t want it to end I couldn t put it down, but I tried to read slowly because I was enjoying it so much that I felt I needed to savor every page The author created a future world where scientists developed a new nucleic acid, fredamine It was designed to alleviate a variety of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer s, Parkinson s, and Multiple Sclerosis But there were also recessive gene traits which caused some children to be born with special gifts The children are called variants and are usually sent to a special school so that they will be with others like them It may also be because normal people don t want to mingle with them The variants have formed an agency, the Guild, which acts to promote, protect and police the variant population Not all variants care to work for the Guild but some are available as contractors when special cases arise One such man is Damien, a locator His ability to locate people is desperately needed by the Guild when over twenty students from the Western Academy have been reported missing The Academy is one of the two special variant schools in the US Damien suffers from OCD, and is neurotic and introverted as well When contracted for this job, he s assigned a helper whose role is to guard Damien and provide muscle and fire power literally, since Blaze is a sparker, a variant who can ignite fire from his fingers Though resistant to having a partner, Damien finally agrees and the two set out to locate the students Unfortunately, the first two students Damien locates are dead At the site, the partners encounter a group of extremists in a variant free zone and chaos ensues with Damien losing his mind and beating one of the men to death with a shovel Fortunately, though slightly wounded, Blaze is able to subdue the others and Damien is able to summon a Guild rapid response team to the area to help with exhuming the bodies and securing the area It s through this first incident that Blaze finally sees the effect that Damien s early life and neurosis have had on him mentally and emotionally Damien breaks down and shares a bit of his past with Blaze when he also discovers that he s at ease around Blaze than he ever has been with anyone else Moving onward on their quest to find of the missing students, they discover an isolated camp run by Shudder, a variant who was once Blaze s boyfriend and is now on the outskirts of the law, both from the Guild and the federal agencies But Shudder offers to help them in their quest and ultimately joins them, providing his own special talent the ability to make the earth move when they need it to rescue the next group of students Throughout this time, Blaze and Damien had been getting closer but Damien fears that Blaze still loves Shudder and that he ll never be able to have a future with him On the final leg of their journey, Shudder has virtually collapsed from a head wound he received during the last rescue and has to be carried by Blaze as the little group comes upon the location of the final group of students The twist the story takes at this point is unexpected but perfectly fitting for these missing young variants This story is so much complex than my simple summary indicates It just has to be read to be appreciated The physical journey to find these groups of students covers multiple states, and the author s descriptions of our country after it had been devastated by war, famine, and disease is amazing The outcome for each group of students is highly detailed and the final destination of the last group of students found was a nice surprise My heart broke for Damien as he said goodbye to Blaze, knowing that he could never have a long term relationship with this man, a man who deserved a normal life partner His follow up discussion with Dr Parma, the head of the Guild, and the things we learn about Damien s past throughout the story, just endeared him to me Do the guys get a happy ending Well yes, they do But it s hard won and well deserved and, if you re like me, you may shed a tear of happiness for these wonderful men at that point I highly recommend this one to all lovers of M M romance, as well as those who enjoy sci fi futuristic post apocalyptic adventures generated by an author with a vivid imagination and highly descriptive writing style You ll be engaged from the very first chapter Don t miss out on this one.

  6. says:

    4.5 out of 5 stars This book was provided free by the author in exchange for an honest review, through the Goodreads Don t Buy My Love program When I first started reading this book, I was struck by the similarities in this fantasy world to that of the X men movies, to the point that it seemed like fanfiction, albeit extraordinarily well done fanfic But the longer I read, the I was drawn into the adventure, and I quit thinking of X men The setting is a future United States where the interior of the country has become almost entirely depopulated due to a variety of man made and natural disasters A miracle drug, Fredamine, had been introduced years ago, and though it cured many previously incurable diseases, it had the unforeseen property of leading to the birth of variants like the mutants of the X men who have all kinds of superpowers Some of the variants joined together to form the Guild, which works with government agencies to keep the peace and protect the populace But, again like the X men movies, some humans are suspicious of variants, and want them destroyed, locked away, and experimented upon.The story starts with the disappearance of 20 or so children from the Western Variant Academy The Guild steps in to solve the mystery and recover the children, and they contract Damien Damien is a locator, who s variant ability is to find people by following invisible trails with his mind He is profoundly distrustful of everyone, cannot bear to have people touch him, has severe OCD and anxiety and usually lives in an isolated cabin He only leaves it because he cannot turn down a call to help variant children, but he usually works alone Because this assignment is dangerous than usual, the Guild also hires Blaze Emerson, a sparker who can control fire, to protect and assist Damien Blaze is unpredictable, and used to people assuming he is violent and uncontrolled The two men don t want to work with each other, but they have no choice, as for both this is a job they can t turn down.There is fast paced adventure, surprising twists and turns, danger, bravery, and mystery I couldn t put it down, and read to the wee hours The characterization is amazing I loved how there was a gradual revelation of what happened in the past to make Damien and Blaze into the damaged men they are now As they discover and follow the trails of the missing children into the wilds of the interior, they reluctantly start trusting each other, and eventually become lovers They run across Shudders McKenzie, a variant activist or terrorist, depending upon viewpoint and old lover of Blaze s, whom they recruit to their mission even though his presence creates a pseudo love triangle and threatens to disrupt the fragile bond forming between Damien and Blaze I really want to see of this story it just seems like the perfect start to a series I see that it is listed as Variant Configurations 1, so I am hopeful I want to see Damien and Blaze go out on another mission, and I want to see how their relationship prospers or doesn t I want to see Shudders continue his crusading for variant rights I want to see of the Guild, and the variants outside the guild I want to know of what happens to the humans and variants out in the wilderness that was America s heartland I want to know the history of this world as well as it s future Ms Martinez is an exceptionally talented author, and I would love to see her take this story and continue to move further away from the X men similarities I gave the book 4.5 rather than 5 stars only because the ending seemed so abrupt, but I ll change that if when a new book comes out.

  7. says:

    Definitely went into my 2014 best book read list 5 Stars.I honestly am going to add Damien Blaze in my favorite couples list Here is the thing, there wasn t any sex involved, unless you count mutual oral stimulation other than those few moments no penetration and this book still rocked.We begin the book with Damien chiseling ice away in never never land Cannot remember where he was at exactly He was having a moment when two feds showed up at his property Then he kinda zonked out whenever this new feb decided to cross that boundary line and touch him It was almost like when Bilbo Baggins in the Fellowship of The Ring zonked out when he saw Frodo with the ring in Riverdale How his face morphed, and he lost himself Note to self, try to find photo of that picture for review Now to explain this reaction he is what is called a Variant, Variant are people who are born with this special strand in the DNA, that makes them special Damien is a locator, which means he can people He does work for the government sometimes, but according to his own tragedy He goes and meets Dr Parma who I think is his surrogate mother, and in walks badass Blaze Emerson, resident bad boy, shit starter and mother killer The last is true but only in the sense he had no control Blaze variant is a sparker, who can produce fire and use it well Plot, plot, plot, realization that it is sexual tension, kiss here, kiss there, Shudder Mackenzie makes his on page debut I kinds liked him Of course plot, which is good, sexual tension, and a dominant Damien in the bedroom or lack there of whenever these things go down All in all this superseded anything that I thought was going to happen They work well together, Blaze is a protective SOB, who falls in love with a scared, timid, Damien I cannot wait until book 2.

  8. says:

    I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.4.5 StarsBrilliant That about sums the book up If you enjoy a good paranormal mystery story then you must read this book Has a strong X Men feel to it The book takes place in a dystopia world Scientists developed fredamine, which was created to cure neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson s Little did the scientists know that fredamine could potentially alter the genes in some children and cause them have special abilities Those children that survive birth are called variants At the beginning of the book you meet Damien He is an extremely rare variant called a locator His ability is to locate individuals Damien is a fantastic, complex character He is very neurotic, suffers from OCD, and when he is pushed beyond his limit he violently lashes out He comes across as needing protecting from the world around him, but he truly only needs protection from the turmoil in his head Such an incredible character Damien is contracted out with the Guild to find missing variant children Though he usually works alone, due to the amount of children missing he is paired up with another variant, Blaze Blaze is the bad boy everyone loves He is snarky and enjoys annoying people He also has a huge reputation of being a bad ass and loose cannon It is hard not to fall in love with Blaze From the moment he meets Damien, he is drawn to protect the other variant but he also pushes Damien s limits Underneath is tough exterior Blaze has a heart of gold, though he might kill you if you say that to his face These two make a great pair.During Damien and Blaze s search, you meet some great side characters Martinez does an outstanding job creating a vibrant plot and well developed characters Once you get started, you ll have a hard time putting the book down Can t wait for the next book in the series.

  9. says:

    3.5 starsThe blurb for this sounded wayyyyyy cooler than the final project In saying that, I still really liked this book, but it got a little draggy for me Characters were good but the pacing just didn t hold my interest.Damien is a variant whose talent is the ability to locate people, in which the government tries to use him often for their missing person cases He wants to be left alone and the less interaction he has, the peaceful he feels Blaze is a sparker, and just like with most sci fi characters that have fire as a power, he can bring about flames usually the easiest when he s at his most temperamental The two of them are paired together to find some missing children Damien as the locator and Blaze as Damien s protector and come across all kinds of different obstacles, from a government agency that may or may not have their best interests in mind, to an ex and rogue variant, to lost and determined individuals working towards a cause.I loved Damien right from the start I don t know why but if you give me a character this is all scraggly and isolated from society by his own choice and because he s a smart mofo I m usually sold He s broken and tired, but good at his power, even if it s unwanted at many times His issues and broken man trope did become a bit tiring at times, but I still enjoyed him as a character However, I did appreciate that the author combined his power and his anxiety and OCD tendencies together in a realistic way The need at which Damien feels to control his surroundings and the need to feel safe and have others safe was written beautifully and with care.Blaze made me laugh and he s a very emotional feeler, he s a protector, he s been hurt before and it s all a bit sad There is a lot of sexual tension between Blaze and other characters and he seemed to be a nice, comfy guy that people wanted around them.The plot is action packed and initially moves fairly quickly Right from the start I was totally interested in the missing children, Damien s role, and whether or not some sinister actions or people were involved But towards the second half everything started going downhill for me in regards to tension, character relationships, and whether the cause felt fresh and interesting I kept wanting something awful to stand out, something to root against, but there wasn t really anything that was so cut and dry A third character had personality enough, but what was presented felt unfinished Maybe we ll get to delve deeper in to him in future books But that brings me to my next problem I felt connection between Blaze and this third character than I did between Blaze and Damien It isn t necessarily the author s fault or anything written there or not written there for me to feel that way I can see that the way it s written, Damien and Blaze are affectionate and have a ying yang ease with each other, but I still felt of connection with the other two men I guess maybe I wish that the added drama of this had been excluded so I could focus solely on the two main characters and their fight with the outside world.Overall I liked this I d definitely read the next book, but I m not necessarily desperate to read it It s good, solid fun with likable characters and a nice X Men ish plot line.

  10. says:

    Rarely Pure and Never Simple is the third book by Angel Martinez and has cemented her as a new favorite author for me I enjoy her writing style, the worlds she builds and the complex characters who populate those worlds The other two books I also loved were Vassily the Beautiful and Gravitational Attraction The setting of Rarely Pure and Never Simple is a dystopian future Earth in which much of the United States is a wasteland and an engineered genetic mutation causes a small percentage of people to be born with special abilities often accompanied by neurological issues These people are called variants The two main characters are both variants who eschew authority and refuse to join The Guild They do, however, accept contract work from them and other organizations.Blaze and Damien are both broken in their own ways Blaze hides his behind anger, a sharp tongue, and a tendency to resolve conflict with his fists and guns Yet, he is also surprisingly empathetic and tender with Damien Damien is a hot mess he does not tolerate other people well and maintains some semblance of control by isolating himself, burying his feelings and performing OCD rituals to make his environment stable Yet, he is willing to forgo the safe environment he has created for himself in order to find a group of missing kids I fell in love with both of them.Shudder is a wonderful auxiliary character he plays a bit bigger role in the story than side characters often do His personality is quite opposite of both Damien and Blaze Damien thinks of him as, ebullient, stubbornly cheerful He is also a variant activist Blaze calls him a terrorist.The search for the missing kids leads the reader and the characters on an exciting, dangerous adventure across the country Starting in the CA town where I grew up As their journey progresses, the relationship between Damien and Blaze grows and secrets from their past are revealed I found their back stories and relationship development as interesting as the adventure truly the emotional aspects were an adventure as well I also loved how there was a sort of almost paranormal connections between the two MCs Near the end of the book, Damien comes to the revelation that, To be whole, one needed to first concede to being only half There are only a couple of sex scenes in the book, but in this case it is all about quality over quantity I love the way Angel Martinez builds up to and then executes erotic scenes Damien s little kink adds another bit of spice.Throughout the book, Blaze and Damien play a game in which they try to use old or unusual words As a reader I enjoyed the game as well, looking up words on my Kindle.As this book is listed as Variant Configurations 1, I am going to assume there are to come I look forward to additional stories in this series I will definitely be reading them, as well as other books by Angel Martinez.

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