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Currently Browsing: m/m romance
Aug
22

Joint Review: Not Fade Away by S.E. Jakes

Joint Review: Not Fade Away by S.E. Jakes Not Fade Away Author: SE Jakes Reviewer: Jen Twimom & B. Rating: A- (Jen) & A+ (B.) What We’re Talking About: Not Fade Away is a wonderful “slice of life” short set in the Hell or High Water series, which features hard, dark men who run under-the-radar black ops rescues. This story focuses on main characters Tom and Prophet, two men who have overcome tremendous personal demons to find happiness and, dare we say, love. Although Not Fade Away can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone novella, we do not recommend it, as readers will find more emotional gratification from following the pair on their journey starting with the first book in the series, Catch a Ghost. B.: Taking place during an increasingly rare moment of “peace” (a term which has a very different connotation in the lives of the two main characters), Not Fade Away is a brief, but wonderfully done glimpse at the current state of Tommy and Prophet’s relationship. I absolutely love these two, and was thrilled to see how their abrasive and defensive natures have become so complimentary. Irrevocable choices have been made at this point in their story. Experiences have been shared and battles have been fought. And they’ve come through it all stronger than ever. Jen: I agree! This time around, we witness a more playful duo, engaging in a game of Truth or Dare, and it is such a change of pace from their normal pace. However, once Tommy completes his dare, the couple becomes distracted (in good way *wink*) and Proph’s truth never comes out. It isn’t until months later (present day) that the unsaid truth is addressed, and the couple successfully jumps yet another hurdle. What happens between the pair is so fitting and serves to only makes their relationship stronger. I adore Tommy and Prophet so much, and I appreciate that despite all of their demons, they now fully embrace each problem and use them to strengthen what they have. B.: At this point, both Tommy and Prophet have learned that accepting someone else’s acceptance is a daunting thing—and that the possibility of losing it is downright terrifying. But, they’ve each come to the realization that fighting one another and fighting for one another are often the same thing, and that some reciprocal button-pushing will usually lead to a whole lot of mutual satisfaction. These two get each other better than just about any other couple I’ve...
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Aug
1

Review: Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield

Review: Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield Home the Hard Way Author: Z. A. Maxfield Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: When Dare Buckley left Palladian, he was a golden boy in mourning, and the town was a place of personal tragedy and loss. Going away meant starting over, and moving on wasn’t something he’d ever allowed himself to regret. As with all things not fully understood until much later, however, leaving usually means leaving someone behind, and Dare soon finds that the secrets that shaped the former children and the community he once knew run far deeper than he could have ever imagined. Isolated and stigmatized from the moment he arrived in town, Finn Fowler has never had it easy. Small and unmistakably “different,” he was targeted and bullied, briefly finding acceptance and friendship with Dare, only to lose everything all over again when Dare and his mother left Palladian. But, time and circumstance have redefined Finn, and the man he’s become has been getting along just fine on his own. At least, he was until his former protector’s return threatens everything, especially the walls he’s so carefully built around his heart. As much as I loved Home the Hard Way, I never quite figured out how I felt about Dare. While his past is certainly tragic, and grieving is a process that is unique to every individual, I really didn’t like him at first, and was never thoroughly convinced of his worthiness. Still, he is necessary on many levels, and provides an excellent lens through which to watch the story evolve. His assumptions about Palladian and all the people in it compared to the reality of what he finds when he comes home in disgrace are important, and serve as a painful testimony about selfish actions. His befuddlement over the changes in Finn, especially, but the rest of the town as well, was more than a little insulting, considering his abandonment of the boy he’d sworn to protect, yet I found the entire situation intriguing and darkly entertaining. I may not have liked Dare, but I very much wanted him there, learning and, yes, hurting a bit as he decided how to handle the second chance he was given. Regardless, Dare is a vivid, crucial component of the narrative, and I can’t imagine this story being as meaningful without him. Finn, on the other hand, is a wonderful character, and I absolutely loved him from the start. He has a seemingly infinite...
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Jul
18

Review: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

Review: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt Noble Metals Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: From the moment the distinguished, self-assured gentleman walked into the brothel where he worked as a prostitute and bartender, Robert Benton’s curiosity was piqued. Upon learning that the man was headed to the gold fields he had been yearning for since his arrival in Seattle, Robert knew the handsome stranger would likely be his last chance to start the new life he’d come north for in the first place. Finding love—and losing it—along the desperate and ragged trail to find gold certainly wasn’t something he’d ever dared to consider. Brilliant and determined, and somewhat eccentric if his employers and peers are to be believed, Dr. John Fauth needs something most other men headed to the Yukon haven’t even considered in their quest to strike it rich in the harsh Canadian wilds. With time and resources running out at the university in Chicago that employs him, he’s got to accomplish what he set out to do or he’ll lose everything. Sometimes, though, even the most meticulously laid plans have a way of coming undone, and John learns that falling apart might just be his only saving grace after all. From the beginning, it’s clear that Noble Metals relies heavily on its romantic elements, which are occasionally over-the-top, but suit the story well. As John’s feelings towards Robert grow, his priorities change, even though he doesn’t act on his new convictions and alter his course until it’s almost too late. The contrast between the unforgiving cold of the environment and the warmth of the men’s mutual affection was a nice touch, and is the focus of much of the narrative, but since their ill-timed love affair is one of the best parts of the story, I enjoyed reading about it tremendously. Something I didn’t expect was how engrossed in the events of the tale I became, but I found the narrative to be more and more intriguing as the perilous nature of the men’s journey increased. Robert and John face a number of dangers as their story progresses, and the severity of their situation grows along with the desperation of those around them. Although I’m not overly familiar with the details of the gold rush of the Yukon, and can’t attest to the accuracy presented in Noble Metals, I was drawn in by the battle between hopelessness and resolve the men undergo. There are plenty of conflicts going...
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Jul
11

Review: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes

Review: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes Running Wild Author: SE Jakes Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: When I first heard that one of my favorite authors, SE Jakes, was working on a new m/m series about a motorcycle club, I knew immediately that I’d be on board for anything she had planned. Having read the Hell or High Water books (as well as a few of her other titles), I was already aware of her abilities when it comes to writing sexy, complicated heroes. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to read Running Wild, I can happily confirm that I’ve fallen in love with the Havoc series, too. Revolving around a car theft ring and its various participants, Running Wild introduces us to two unique new characters: Sean Rush, a twenty-four year old Army veteran and all-around danger magnet, and Ryker, Sean’s guardian angel and a Lieutenant in the local, ruling motorcycle club, Havoc. Sean is an interesting character in that his personal history is tragic enough that it could have taken the entire story into such a dark place that the rest of the narrative wouldn’t have felt balanced. Fortunately, Sean is no wilting victim, and his loyalty, tenacity, and complete disregard for his own safety when it comes to helping his friends makes him a much deeper and multifaceted character. Sean is easy to like, despite his knack for causing trouble, but never more so, at least for me, than when he’s with Ryker—or having an epiphany about himself because of Ryker. Although the story is told in the first-person from Sean’s perspective, I completely fell for Ryker from the very beginning. Eleven years older than Sean, he’s a lot more level than the headstrong object of his desires, and his deceptively open approach to dealing with the chaos surrounding both of them in the first half of Running Wild makes him a dangerously lovable stabilizing force in Sean’s world. As the story progresses and the truth behind Ryker’s (and Havoc’s) interest in Sean is slowly revealed, however, we discover that Ryker is more than what he seems. Ryker and Sean are positively scorching together. From their first encounter, it’s obvious that they make each other completely crazy in (mostly) all the best ways. Sean has had a lot of growing to do, and Ryker’s possessive form of patience is exactly what he needs. Ryker, by turns, wants Sean, wild and vulnerable as he is, and goes to tremendous lengths...
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Jun
23

Review: Long Time Gone by SE Jakes

Review: Long Time Gone by SE Jakes Long Time Gone Author: S.E. Jakes Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Long Time Gone opens four months after the conclusion of Catch a Ghost, with Tom on assignment with his partner, Cope… the partner Tom chose over his lover, Prophet. During those four months, Prophet has been MIA and Tom has sent him emails daily: each a little more desperate and revealing than the previous. Then there is Prophet. A man close to the edge of utter destruction and ready to leave his life completely behind to take a deep undercover covert operation. However, before he says yes, he decides to finally read the 122 emails Tom sent him, and suddenly, Proph finds himself on the way to New Orleans to take care of Tommy’s aunt. Oh, Long Time Gone is JUST what I needed following my read of Catch a Ghost! The opening is heartbreaking when the reader sees how much Tom misses Prophet – how desperate he feels. It hurt to read, but it is necessary for readers to see how difficult it was for Tom to choose Cope over Proph. And this opening set up their reunion perfectly, allowing for all of the unspent emotion after four months apart to explode in one of the hottest, most passionate scenes I have ever read. I swear, my Kindle caught fire. Tom and Prophet come a long way during the pages of Long Time Gone; however, it is not a smooth journey. Their story is full gritty fervor, with both characters desperate for more yet afraid that there is no future possible. The story of their love hits every emotion—highs and lows, and I have fallen for the pair. With this second story, the reader is privy to more of the detailed backstory of each Tom and Prophet, creating three-dimensional characters and giving real meat to their issues and conflicts. I appreciate Ms. Jake’s sublime world-building and character development, making Long Time Gone a hard-to-put-down read. While Tom and Prophet’s building romance is the core of the story and series, Long Time Gone shares much of Tom’s backstory as he returns home only to find himself with more bad luck. While trying to help out his aunt’s neighbors, Tom comes across the dying body of one of his childhood tormentors. Tom is accused of murder, and soon he finds himself back in a web of deception and lies. The mystery behind this death, as...
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Jun
18

Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux

Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux Cross & Crown Author: Abigail Roux Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Having thoroughly enjoyed Shock & Awe, I was very excited to see what would happen in the second book in the Sidewinder series, Cross & Crown. The circumstances surrounding the series’ origin are entertaining on their own, but, if the first two books are an indication of what to expect, then the rest of the series will be even more so. As someone who loves mysteries and puzzles, this story was a lot of fun, and led to an inadvertently extensive bit of research of my own. Add to that my love of Nick & Kelly as a couple and Cross & Crown hit quite a few of my buttons. Nick & Kelly are a wonderful pairing, and complement one another extremely well.Although I wasn’t initially a huge supporter of Nick, he steadily grew on me, and by the time Touch & Geaux was released, I was not only a fan, but solidly in his corner when things got rough. Nick is loyal, selfless, determined, and keeps himself under such rigid control that he often serves as the main source of stability for those around him. Of course, when that control begins to fray, the outcome is either somewhat frightening or undeniably sexy. Or some delicious combination of the two. Kelly, on the other hand, I’ve loved from his very first appearance, and it’s a sentiment that has continued to grow ever since. He leads with his heart, has a hilariously limited filter, and is one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Often fearless as well as mischievous, Kelly seems to revel in his relationship with Nick and pushes him in all the right ways, thereby making himself an eager and gleefully demanding recipient of Nick’s sexual attentions. They’re perfect for each other for so many reasons, not the least of which is that Nick hates lies, and Kelly has nothing to hide. Another thing I love about Cross & Crown is that it has so much going on. While the narrative is primarily about the developing relationship between Nick and Kelly, neither of them is able to sit still for long. Aside from Nick’s current case involving an amnesiac witness to a murder, both become wrapped up in a treasure hunt that includes secret societies, hidden messages, cryptic historical references, and the Irish mob. It is truly a...
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May
20

Review: Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt

Review: Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt Hostile Ground Author: Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Mahir Hussain thought he knew how far he was willing go to bring down the criminal who’d ordered the deaths of three other undercover officers. What he hadn’t counted on was the dangerous attraction he can’t shake for the head of security who might be just as inclined to shoot him as work with him. But, Mahir soon realizes that things aren’t as they seem, and it quickly becomes apparent that solving the case could cost more than he’s prepared to give. I really liked this story, and stayed up way too late for two nights running because I didn’t want to stop reading it. Mahir and Ridley are great characters, and the authors made getting inside Mahir’s head easy. I was genuinely worried for him from the very beginning of the story, each close call he endured creating more and more tension as the action progressed. Mahir’s personality seems to blur as Ridley’s becomes clearer, and with both their lives at stake, the attraction that absolutely crackles between them feels just as precarious as both men claim it to be. Historically, I don’t enjoy non-con novels, and Hostile Ground treads close to it in the very beginning, but the highly believable mutual enthusiasm of the characters keeps these scenes from going over the line. Shortly afterwards, however, the situation between Mahir and Ridley begins to evolve in unexpected, yet highly enjoyable ways, making the rest of their journey somehow even more nerve-wracking (in a good way) in the process. Some stories go well with a drink or two and a retreat from the rest of the world, if you’re ever inclined to indulge and can manage it, and this is definitely one of them. Fast-paced from beginning to end, Hostile Ground doesn’t let up on the main characters for a minute. The authors place both men in an increasingly dangerous situation, with few, if any, ties to anything resembling an anchor or safety net, making it easy to understand how some undercover officers and agents might succumb to the jobs they have to take in their efforts to save others. Mahir and Ridley know how precarious their respective positions are, and the choices they each make during the course of the story were alternately moving and troubling. Hostile Ground is very dark in places, but never gratuitously so, and the action and tension...
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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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