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Currently Browsing: m/m romance
May
12

Review & Giveaway: Daylight Again by SE Jakes

Review & Giveaway: Daylight Again by SE Jakes Daylight Again Author: SE Jakes Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: The Hell or High Water series is one of those that I liked a lot from the very beginning, but I’ve since become somewhat obsessed with. Prophet and Tommy are incredible characters, both of them tortured, scarred men who’ve never held much hope for themselves, or anything else, really, until they met each other. If Long Time Gone, the previous story in the series, was about Tom dealing with his demons, then Daylight Again is Prophet’s turn. I absolutely love Tommy and Prophet. Watching them evolve from being solitary warriors who always insisted on taking care of themselves, isolated from everyone—even those who are closest to them—into lovers who now depend on each other so completely has been a real pleasure. The way they care for one another is so intuitive and selfless that neither has to ask what the other needs. There’s a genuine sense of completion about their relationship, even though they’re still working on their respective issues. It’s the “work in progress” part of what they have, and their commitment to face whatever comes their way together, that keeps the romantic elements of Daylight Again unpredictable and pleasantly edgy. Often, I avoid talking too much about the erotic elements of a story, in an effort to avoid redundancy and clichés, but I’m going to make an exception in this case. Prophet and Tommy together are magic. Wonderfully sexy magic. Every time they’re together is so filled with purpose and intensity that there’s no mistaking it for anything less than real devotion. Sex between these two is usually demanding and rough, and rather than using it as a means to avoid their troubles, it’s the way in which they work through them. It’s how they understand one another best when words aren’t enough. For all these reasons I loved these moments. Plus, they’re just really, really fun to read (and reread). Although the relationship between Tommy and Prophet is the main focus of Daylight Again, the action is fairly relentless and kept me on edge for the duration of the story. Ms. Jakes doesn’t take it easy on her characters or her readers, carefully weaving one story together, only to turn the scene on its head by revealing the missing pieces at the last minute. In fact, there’s so much going on beneath the surface that wondering about what was really going on kept...
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May
8

Review: Tropical Paradise by Evelise Archer

Review: Tropical Paradise by Evelise Archer Tropical Paradise Author: Evelise Archer Reviewer: B. Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Lonely, but content with his life as a ferryman for a lush, tropical resort, Leo Santos only has one real regret: the college boyfriend he left behind when he returned to Puerto Rico to care for his ailing father. Skyler Macy never got over the sexy history major who broke his heart, but with a push from his sister, and some help from the 1Night Stand dating service, he’s ready to try to love again. One thing that’s certain, though, is that if Madam Eve becomes involved, miraculous things are bound to happen, and these two former lovers might find exactly what they’re looking for after all. While I’ve enjoyed all of the 1Night Stand stories I’ve read so far, I found it a little more difficult to get into Tropical Paradise. The two main characters, Sky and Leo, have been torn apart by obligation, but stayed that way when Leo stopped communicating with Sky, leaving a lot of hurt feelings for them to get back together as quickly as they did. But the 1Night Stand tales are known for being sexy and short, and Tropical Paradise definitely fits that description. I thought both men were incredibly sweet towards the end, though, and I wish there was a little more to their story so I could get to know them better. As an erotic romance, Tropical Paradise has plenty of enthusiastic make-up sex, and that’s where these characters really start to shine. Although the wording pulled me out of the story once or twice, Leo and Sky can’t resist each other, and as their time together progresses, their physical connection makes them realize they never stopped loving one another, leading to the happy ending they both deserve. The 1Night Stand series is ambitious and wonderful in that it is so diverse that there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for contemporary romance, historical fiction, LGBTQ titles, paranormal, or some combination of the above, you can find what you’re looking for and, in most cases, enjoy the story through to a happy ending in one sitting. Tropical Paradise is a good addition to the series, delivering a wonderfully sexy reunion and the promise of the happily ever after that makes this series so rewarding. My Rating:  B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues About the Book: Can Madame Eve work...
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Apr
22

Review: Catching Cary by Megan Slayer

Review: Catching Cary by Megan Slayer Catching Cary Author: Megan Slayer Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Can a formerly famous singer find real happiness with a younger man he just met who’s trying to escape his past? He just might in this short, sexy read about mistakes and second chances. Stuck in what seems like an eternal holding pattern, but for very different reasons, Layne and Cary are both ready to move on from their current situations. While neither of them is looking for a relationship, they don’t realize how lonely they really are until happenstance and bad karaoke bring them together. Easily read in a single sitting, with everything a story needs for a happily ever after, Catching Cary has it all covered: a likable main couple, drama, explicit sex scenes, and the bad guy even gets his comeuppance in the end. While the story itself progressed just as I expected it to, this is still a sweet tale, with plenty of heat between the main characters and a happy ending, too. If you’re looking for a quick m/m read with a feel-good resolution, then Catching Cary might be the perfect addition to your list. My Rating: B+: Liked It A Lot About the Book: Sometimes giving into fate gets you to the place you most want to be.  Cary Hazard walked away from his life as the front man for the band, Cascadia, to embrace a quieter existence in Zero. With no celebrities and no one wanting things from him, he’s happy. He’s also lonely. He wants to find that one special person to warm his nights and love him tattoos and all. Will he find what he wants or end up alone again or will the hunk at the Eight Ball bar be his saving grace?  Layne Stevens has a past he’s not proud of.  He’s looking for redemption, but not in the hands of a former star. If he can stay in the shadows, he’s happy, but lonely. The man singing at the bar has his full attention. He wants to wrap himself up in the guy’s strong arms. Will he be able to open up and offer his heart or will the truth destroy everything he holds dear? It’s a matter of catching Cary. Release Date: February 4, 2014 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Series: Zero, Ohio #4 ISBN: # 978-1613336519 Genre: LGBTQ, m/m, Contemporary Erotic Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher Purchase Info: Catching Cary (Zero, Ohio...
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Apr
17

Review: Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau

Review: Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau Straight Shooter Author: Heidi Belleau Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Austin Puett is straight. He has to be, right? He plays on his college hockey team, can take a hit with the best of them, and is even next in line to be alternate captain. There’s no room in the game for anyone who’s not one hundred percent heterosexual. His life would be great if only he wasn’t about to be kicked out of his house and lose his job for being intolerant of his flamboyant roommate. And, if all the homophobic trash talking in the locker room didn’t turn him on so much. Each story in the Rear Entrance Video series revolves around the young men who work at the video store/sex toy shop and the difficulties they endure as they struggle to understand and accept their emerging sexualities. Straight Shooter is Austin’s story, the abrasive, obnoxious, homophobic jock who is so determined to convince himself that he’s unwaveringly straight that he’s offended his roommates to the point that he’s about to be kicked out of their house. Since his roommate’s aunt owns the video store where he works, he just might be out of a job, as well. When his roommates have finally had enough, they issue Austin an ultimatum: accept Bobby as he is and stop acting like a jerk or move out. But, Austin’s main problem isn’t really Bobby or his other roommates. It’s that he’s been lying to himself for years about his own sexual inclinations, and the inability to reconcile that truth with who he thinks he has to be in order to be accepted is tearing him apart. It is at this point that Austin’s journey really begins, and Ms. Belleau once again does what she accomplished so handily in the previous story—systematically picking apart the need for classifications and definitions of sexuality until the characters finally begin to live for themselves. Master Puck, or Liam Williams, is a fantastic character as well, and Austin’s evolution wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for him, especially in the earlier stages of their relationship. Porn star, pro-Dom, and former hockey great in his own right, Liam is the perfect one to make Austin see that he needs to stop punishing himself for having a kink that’s not-quite-straight. He’s the only person to accept Austin at face value and help him navigate his way through the desperation and shame that have...
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Mar
25

Review: Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux

Review: Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux Ball & Chain Author: Abigail Roux Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: As was certainly the case in the previous novel in the Cut & Run series, Ball & Chain is a very busy story. In addition to the murder mystery that serves as the backdrop for the other events that transpire, Ty and Zane have to deal with the after-effects of Team Sidewinder’s most recent and final deployment, the changes they’ve been going through as individuals, in addition to some very dark and unforgiving truths that Ty still needs to come to terms with. Nick and Kelly also play a significant role in Ball & Chain, offering a hint of what their own series might be like, as well as an alternate perception of Ty’s past actions, which I feel is an important factor in trying to understand Ty and Zane’s relationship and where it’s headed. Beginning with Team Sidewinder’s return home, Ball & Chain reintroduces us to Zane & Ty as they navigate the changes they’ve undergone in both the previous story as well as their months apart during Ty’s deployment. Even though things continue to evolve in their lives after Ty comes back, their commitment to one another has deepened substantially. Zane is better and healthier than ever, and Ty’s devotion to what they have together is sweeter than just about anything I’ve seen from them so far. They are more open and honest with each other in everything, including their mutual desire, and watching them reclaim one another over the course of the novel has become one of my favorite things about the series yet. Additionally, Ms. Roux has written what is undoubtedly one of the best, and most determined, proposals I’ve ever read, and has thereby given her readers one of the warmest endings of the series. While we’re not told exactly what happened to Team Sidewinder during their last deployment, whatever it was has left both Ty and Nick more scarred and haunted than before. As much alike as they’ve seemed to be up to now, Ball & Chain serves to underscore their many differences, as well, leading to a progression of confrontations that ultimately exposes the truth about their friendship, and threatens to destroy it. Ty has spent much of his life going from assignment to assignment, acting on someone else’s orders; ferociously keeping the past locked away in order to focus on the present. As a result, he hasn’t...
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Mar
19

Review: Snowcroft Lost by Christi Snow

Review: Snowcroft Lost by Christi Snow Snowcroft Lost Author: Christi Snow Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Jamie Vaughn, the only known gay man in the quiet mountain village of Snowcroft, New Mexico, has secretly been in love with his best friend for years. But, all that time spent watching the utterly straight, extremely promiscuous man wasting his time on one pretty, yet vacuous, woman after another has taken its toll, and Jamie needs out. His heart just can’t take it anymore, and leaving town for good seems like his only option. But, when Trevor is injured, Jamie’s plans change in ways he never expected, and the future he’s always dreamed of may finally be within his reach. Trevor Mayne has always been the life of the party: funny, seductive, and completely unwilling to settle down. Sure, things have become tense with his best friend lately, but overall, he’s fairly content. At least, until an accident leaves him hurt and stripped of all his memories. Now, he can’t remember who he is, and he doesn’t like the man everyone else is telling him he’s supposed to be. The only thing that makes sense is Jamie. But, will he be able to hold onto his new life as his old memories resurface? Or, will they lose everything as all his secrets are finally revealed? While second chances are central to many romances, Snowcroft Lost takes that premise in a unique direction. And although I’ve seen amnesia used as a device in suspense novels before, I don’t recall it being done quite like this. Trevor’s loss of memory serves a dual purpose here; the more obvious one being that those memories hold the key to solving the case he’s been working on. But, what proved most interesting to me was that Trevor’s amnesia finally allows him to live as he was always meant to. Rather than losing himself to it, he is able to discover himself through it, and finally begins to right all the years he’s spent lost because of the cruelty he experienced in his past. Though he’s often terrified, Trevor handles the situation well, and his enthusiastic exploration of the possibilities he now finds himself facing are some of my favorite parts of the story as a whole. Jamie is a solid presence throughout Snowcroft Lost, proving himself over and over to be the perfect anchor for Trevor as he struggles through the events of the story. Physically bigger than Trevor, Jamie...
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Feb
21

Review: Sex, Wolves & Rock ‘N Roll by Mina Carter

Review: Sex, Wolves & Rock ‘N Roll by Mina Carter Sex, Wolves & Rock ‘N Roll Author: Mina Carter  Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Trent Savage, drummer for the Lyric Hounds, the most famous werewolf band in the world, has a big problem. He’s found his mate, the one wolf for him, but can’t have him. “Sav” is out and proud, but his mate isn’t interested in anything but sampling as many different women as he can. The other wolf also just happens to be his band’s guitarist, and watching “K” choose all those nameless groupies over him is tearing Sav apart. Sav isn’t the only one with troubles, though. Primed by the Hounds’ management to be the wild, straight party boy of the group, Karlan Rixx has played his part well for a long time. Except that he’d rather be with the only wolf in the band whose rhythms help him connect with his music like no one else’s ever could. He’s also got another big secret, one that’s made him feel separated from the other wolves for years—a secret that could keep him from ever finding his true mate. Sav and K seem like typical rock stars with all the fame, parties, and groupies that go with it. Except that they’re wolves. And that Sav is gay. Star-crossed lovers with a twist, they are brought together by a single, terrible event, the repercussions of which could very well be the thing that tears them apart forever. Initially told from Sav’s perspective, I found it easy to feel sorry for him in the face of K’s perceived cruelty. By turns, once I got to know K better, I was disappointed for them both. The real problem, of course, is that each has been too stubborn and afraid all the time they’ve known one another to tell the truth. And that made me want to kick them both just a little. Thankfully, this is a 1Night Stand story as well, and anyone familiar with the series knows that nothing is impossible with Madame Eve and the 1Night Stand dating service. Her ability to help those who are lonely and hurting find their hearts’ desire is nothing short of magical, and her gifts were extremely welcome in this case. Telling any more here would give away the story, since wanting K and Sav to find their way back to one another made Sex, Wolves & Rock ‘N Roll a pleasure to read. The 1Night Stand series is...
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Jan
17

Review: Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes

Review: Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes Dirty Deeds Author: S. E. Jakes  Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: As a fan of the Hell or High Water series, I was very excited to hear about this short story featuring two of the most intriguing secondary characters in that series, Cillian and Mal. Since these two were so closely tied to the other stories I have come to love, I was very anxious to find out how their story might unfold in relation to the universe as a whole. After finishing Dirty Deeds, I found that it wasn’t what I expected—it was better. Like Prophet and Tommy, Cillian and Mal are impressively complicated characters, both certainly jaded and absolutely determined. As is true of the other operatives in these stories, they are damaged in a way that is beautiful, not because of what has happened to them, but because they continue to survive it. Ms. Jakes writes survivors well, the initial pain that has shaped Mal and Cillian seeming more like a notation in a list, one facet among many. Or, maybe that’s what they need to believe, anyway. Regardless, it is a necessary skill if they are to live through the narrative. Although the other stories I’ve read by Ms. Jakes have dark elements to them, this is especially true of Dirty Deeds. This darkness fits both Mal and Cillian well, however, and their respective histories and the resulting dispositions have a such a feeling of veracity about them that I cannot imagine either character being any other way. Both men operate in a world of half-truths and disbelief, neither having room in their lives for sentimentality, each determined to succeed ahead of, and better than, the other. They both have the advantage in different ways, Cillian because he knows for certain something Mal, Prophet, and their team only strongly suspect, and Mal because Cillian has no idea just how great a part Mal is playing in his overall predicament. They somehow manage to punish and console each other at the same time, usually through sex, and with someone else, if not each other. Sex plays an enormous role in the game that Mal and Cillian are engaged in. Rough and to the point, sex between them is both disturbing and mesmerizing, the importance of adhering to the strategy they’ve implemented, and the desperation-fueled, yet willing, lapses in it playing out in a treacherous dance. Still, a dangerous connection is made, and as...
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Nov
13

Blog Tour & Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux (plus Giveaway!)

Blog Tour & Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux (plus Giveaway!) Shock & Awe (and Bait & Switch) Author: Abigail Roux  Reviewer: B. Rating: A+, 5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Born of an anti-smoking campaign, a healthy dose of serendipitous chemistry, and a contest bribe, Shock & Awe is, in my experience, one of the best gifts of writing an author has ever given to the fans. This offshoot of the Cut & Run series shouldn’t exist (I recommend looking up the chain of events if you don’t already know it—it’s a fun chain of events), but, thankfully, now does. Kelly wasn’t supposed to survive the events of Touch & Geaux, and Ms. Roux had other plans for Nick. But, the characters had a mind of their own, and altered the shape of things to come. I admit that I had mixed feelings about Nick O’Flaherty when he was formally introduced in the series. My heart was overruling my head, as has been a consistent side effect of reading Ms. Roux’s works, and it took a second reading for me to understand his perspective a little better. By the next book he appeared in, Armed & Dangerous, I began to love him, and upon finishing Touch & Geaux I was completely hooked. Nick is a good man through to his soul and a ferociously loyal friend, ranking his allegiance to Team Sidewinder—his real and chosen family—above all else. Kelly Abbott, on the other hand, has always been a favorite of mine. From his initial appearance, he’s been an open, shiny presence, living honestly and with a generosity of self that is so very rare it’s stunning. Referred to more than once as the “heart” of Team Sidewinder, Kelly lives his life without pretense or malice, his devotion to the other members of his unit unwavering and all encompassing. Similarly to Nick, they are the only real family he’s ever known, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them. He is always willing to put himself on the line in every way for those he loves, even if it hurts him. One of the things that made me love Kelly even more in Shock & Awe is that, although Kelly wants everything that being with Nick promises to be, he knows Nick so well that he is willing to settle for whatever piece of himself his best friend is able to give. Though the chemistry between them is undeniable, their differences are substantial and add intensity and genuineness to their situation....
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Nov
6

Review: Bad Idea by Damon Suede

Review: Bad Idea by Damon Suede Bad Idea Author: Damon Suede  Reviewer: B. Rating: A, 4.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Trip Spector has spent years slowly going numb, drawing a comic he can’t stand for a man he wants badly, but can’t have. Aimless and highly allergic to pretty much everything, he knows he’s meant to do more with his life, but has no idea what that could possibly be until a chance encounter with a handsome zombie in the woods inspires him to take a chance for the first time in years. But, even the gorgeous, surprising special effects artist may not be enough to help Trip pursue his dreams when his worst habits come back to haunt him. Sampling his way through the judgmental, expiration date-obsessed NYC singles scene has left Silas Goolsby feeling empty and detached. But, when his missed opportunity with a shy, nerdy artist turns into an unexpected second chance, he knows he’ll have to leave all his familiar patterns behind if they want a future together that really matters. Moving on from his past isn’t easy, no matter how much he wants to, but giving his heart away could cost Silas more than he has to give. Trip and Silas are likely the most perfect couple that nearly weren’t that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. On the surface, they don’t have much in common except the artistic nature of their respective professions, and that they’re both gay. Beneath the surface, however, they share a nerd streak that won’t quit and an eager indulgence of their decidedly non-stereotypical sexual inclinations. Otherwise, they couldn’t be more different. Trip has more hang-ups than a dry cleaner, but, from the minute figures out that what Silas really needs is exactly what he’s been aching to give, he’s hooked. Silas, on the other hand, is honest, brazen, devoted, and doesn’t do anything halfway. They both know how the script they’re supposed to be acting out goes, and have lived it faithfully in the past. Once they find each other, however, they realize that they’re tired of playing along and begin to follow their hearts instead. Aside from the unlikely, yet fascinating, pairing of these two artists, Bad Idea is a slice of pure nerd heaven. Maybe Nerdvana. With bountiful pop culture references, heaps of artistic legend name-dropping, and a fearless skewering of “play it safe” industry risk-avoidance, this novel was a complete hoot to read. “The Tick” references alone were enough...
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