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Currently Browsing: LGBTQ
Dec
2

Review: Out of Sync by Bronwyn Green

Review: Out of Sync by Bronwyn Green Out of Sync Author: Bronwyn Green Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Morgan Weaver isn’t happy. He’s in a job he hates, working for the family business. He spends little time outside the office, and he hasn’t composed or played music in years. Once a promising musician, Morgan walked away from what he loved to fulfill his father’s expectations. On the other hand, James (Jamie) Shepherd continued making the music that he and Morgan loved and is now a famous musician. Once roommates, James and Morgan haven’t seen each other in over ten years. However, James remained friends with Morgan’s sister, Tristan, so when he finds out that Morgan is refusing to play at her wedding, he decides to confront the man who used to be his best friend. Right from the start, Out of Sync captured my mind and heart. I found myself engrossed in Jamie and Morgan’s story, uncovering what happened that drove a wedge between them, and watching them rediscover their passion and love for both music and each other. With the time that has passed, both men have matured and hardened, providing a hurdle to overcome, yet allowing each to be more comfortable with himself and the sparks between them. This story gave me all the feels. The author does an amazing job capturing the longing and heartache both men have felt over the years. When they finally come together, it is amazingly sexy and passionate. I ached for the pair as they navigated the bumpy road to happiness. And their journey is filled with detours and potholes, causing this reader to cry out in heartbreak. I love the emotion the author packs into the story, crashing into me from all sides. Additionally, Ms. Greene creates fabulous settings with amazing details and clarity. One of my favorite examples is a scene early on, when James makes breakfast for Morgan. The descriptions were so spot on that I could see and smell the eggs cooking. It’s these kind of touches that make the story come alive and more memorable. In the end, I really loved reading Out of Sync. Jamie and Morgan’s story is touching, hot, sexy, and sweet, but at its core, it is a wonderful romance that swept me off my feet. Out of Sync hit all the right notes and left me satisfied. My Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Ten years ago, Morgan Weaver walked away from everything...
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Nov
9

Review: Found at the Library by Christi Snow

Review: Found at the Library by Christi Snow Found at the Library Author: Christi Snow Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Writing science-fiction novels might keep him mostly single, but that dedication has brought Robert McIntyre a great deal of success. He’s a little self-absorbed, maybe, but, when his muse is talking, and the deadlines are looming, he figures it’s to be expected. But, when he gets the chance to redeem himself after a bad first impression, he falls for the gorgeous man who’s upended his world more than he ever thought possible. If only holding on to him could be so easy. After many years of loving the books that his dyslexia prevented him from reading, Tommy Garrett has made a place for himself creating a different kind of art out of the pages themselves. It may not be the way he wanted things to be, but with the help of his collection of audiobooks, all of those other settings and characters have come to life for him anyway. Although falling for an author was never part of his plan, nothing could have prepared him for the quirky sci-fi writer who (literally) broke into his life and turned it inside out. I thought Mac and Tommy were both very interesting characters from the beginning of Found at the Library, and they became even more so as the story progressed. While I’ve often heard that being involved with someone who earns their living in a creative profession carries with it the potential for a variety of issues, Ms. Snow illustrates some very difficult ones here. Initially, their professions—as an author and artist, respectively—make Tommy and Mac perfect for each other. Despite their mutual need to withdraw from all forms of human interaction when they are working on a project, they are generous and considerate of the other’s obligations and needs, and seeing the way they cared for one another was my favorite part of the story. That’s not to say that things are always easy between the two. In fact, their relationship does not begin well at all. Despite an obvious and immediate physical connection, they manage to thoroughly offend one another and generate a startling amount of ill will in the process. Of course, that they do have such an undeniable carnal attraction makes the next few chapters quite a lot of fun. And since neither man is very good at expressing himself verbally, I found it especially endearing that they are best able...
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Nov
4

Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell

Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell Stygian Author: Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: As soon as I heard that Mr. Hassell was writing a story for Halloween, I was extremely eager to see what sort of creation he’d come up with. I simply knew this would be different. That my request to review it was met with a warning that he’d never tried anything like Stygian before was a temptation that I didn’t want to resist. I was absolutely delighted to find that whatever expectations I did have were quickly surpassed, and I fell into the narrative with a greedy focus that led to sleep deprivation, as well as a few less than gracious sentiments regarding any interruptions from the world outside of the story. Stygian is the story of an up-and-coming band of the same name trying to break through to bigger and better things. Yet, to say that they’re dysfunctional is an understatement. Collectively, the band is carrying around a freight train worth of hurt, guilt, and memories, and the weight of it all is about to tear them apart. Jeremy, the youngest member, is in an especially precarious position, having recently joined the band after the death of their previous drummer. Told from Jeremy’s perspective over the course of a summer “retreat” the guys have embarked on in an attempt to pull things together, Stygian, as it turns out, is far more than just a horror story. One of the things I loved most about this story is that the characters, along with the experiences that have shaped them to this point, are one-of-a-kind. It isn’t just what’s happened to them all, but how they’ve dealt with the blows. Isolated and “different,” I found Jeremy to be the easiest to become attached to, his role as narrator, notwithstanding. Quince, however, absolutely broke my heart as the story progressed, while Kennedy gradually earned both my respect and admiration. As to the lead singer, Watts…well, he and I never really did get on well, and I say that in appreciation of his complexity and the fact that he left his mark on the narrative as irrevocably as the others. Even the monsters in Stygian stood apart from others I’ve encountered in my reading. Though they preserve enough expected characteristics to be creepily familiar, Mr. Hassell’s vampires are still atypical and unique, each retaining distinct personalities in spite of what they’ve become. While they are certainly insidious, they are opportunistic,...
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Oct
30

Blog Tour + Review: Dead Ringer by Heidi Belleau & Sam Schooler

Blog Tour + Review: Dead Ringer by Heidi Belleau & Sam Schooler From the Authors: Hi, and welcome to the DEAD RINGER release tour! We’re Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler, here with more DEAD RINGER B-roll footage and DVD extras than you can shake a stick at. Stay tuned for author commentary, posters and info about all of James Ringer’s movies, classic Hollywood factoids, and, of course, some sweet prizes! As part of our tour, we’re sharing the beautiful set of five movie posters that the amazingly talented Vivian Ng designed for us! We both love commissioning art for our books, and we knew that Vivian, who designed Heidi’s REAR ENTRANCE VIDEO series covers, had a style that was perfect for what we wanted. James Ringer is an enormous presence throughout DEAD RINGER, and we wanted to do our part to commemorate his—as Percy would describe it—“completely brilliant” filmography. So we asked Vivian to design a poster for each of James’s five movies, and wrote a synopsis for each one, too! We’re featuring all five movies in chronological order, one per post, so be sure to follow along with the rest of our tour to see the rest of the James Ringer filmography! And, as one of our tour grand prizes, you can win a postcard set of the five posters—be sure to leave a comment below! The Easy (1953) James Ringer’s last—and most stunning—role! Soft-shelled Blake Lawrence (Ringer) isn’t keeping up with the times. In a town full of folks willing to show any curious man that looking in the wrong place will get him a knife in his gut, he’s got too many morals to make it as a private eye . . . and his boss knows that. After he loses his job, he stumbles on the case of a lifetime—a young woman (Jackie DeGroot) squirreled out of her family fortune by her dastardly uncle (Christopher Muldoon). The girl is desperate to reclaim her father’s money . . . and her mother’s priceless jewels. There’s a big payday in it for Lawrence if he can track down the missing riches. But when getting them back means committing the ultimate sin, will he have the guts to find his glory? Thanks to our generous blog hosts, and thanks to you for hanging out with us! Be sure to check out our full list of tour stops so you can see the rest of our extras and snag yourself more chances to win our giveaway! Review: Brandon Ringer, the look-alike...
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Oct
19

Blog Tour + Review: Rain Shadow by L.A. Witt

Blog Tour + Review: Rain Shadow by L.A. Witt Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Rain Shadow, the latest installment in the multi-author Bluewater Bay series! Rain Shadow Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Divorced, bitter, and lonely in self-imposed exile in Bluewater Bay, Jeremy Rose has a lot on his mind. His job as bodyguard has become increasingly stressful, his client’s unraveling relationship with her girlfriend is a constant reminder of his own failed marriage, and he thinks his kids hate him. Finding a gorgeous man in his age group who is also averse to anything beyond a casual hookup or two is more than he dared hope for. But, that’s exactly what counselor Scott Fletcher is offering—which suits Jeremy just fine. After all, surely the very last thing he needs now is to fall in love. Right? Rain Shadow is the story of Jeremy Rose, a (fairly) recently divorced father of two teenagers who is the current bodyguard for the director of “Wolf’s Landing,” the fictional television series filming in Bluewater Bay. One of the better “late bloomer” stories I’ve read, it explores the painful difficulties Jeremy must face after he realizes, and stops denying that, he’s gay. Telling himself that being alone is what’s best for his children, who still live with their mother in LA, he has explored his sexuality through one-night stands and brief hookups, never letting anyone get too close. Scott Fletcher, a Marriage and Family counselor, is also determinedly single, having lost the man he loved many years before in a tragic accidental shooting. Since his partner was a policeman who was killed in the line of duty, Scott has sworn off dating men with dangerous jobs, thereby making Jeremy’s vocation a deal breaker. Their situation would be perfect if they weren’t lying to themselves about how much they’ve come to need one another. L.A. Witt is a familiar author to me by now, and I can’t think of anything she’s written that I haven’t liked. Rain Shadow is no exception. She addresses Jeremy and Scott’s situation without unintentional awkwardness or resorting to the use of cartoonishly earnest protagonists. Issues of denial, honesty, love in its many forms, and even the fact that sex still happens after the age of twenty-eight are all addressed with an understated frankness that made becoming invested in this story very easy to do. Scott and Jeremy’s tale can absolutely be taken as a statement, but not...
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Oct
12

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane Lessons for Sleeping Dogs Author: Charlie Cochrane Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: While I was excited to have the opportunity to review a Cambridge Fellows mystery, I was also worried that my lack of familiarity with the series might impact my ability to lose myself in the story. Happily, that wasn’t the case at all, although I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters a great deal and would like to read all the previous stories just to witness its evolution from the beginning. While there are plenty of tender moments between Jonty and Orlando, Lessons for Sleeping Dogs is well balanced throughout, and the mystery at the center of it all was very easy to become wrapped up in. Despite a few references to past cases, Lessons for Sleeping Dogs follows one specific case from beginning to end, and I had no trouble following along. The case itself I found thoroughly intriguing, and I enjoyed trying to puzzle through each new development as the narrative progressed. Both men brought different strengths to the process, and their continual efforts to out-theorize each other were highly entertaining. Although it started as a fairly clear-cut situation, the mystery kept shifting in increasingly unexpected directions, making the story as a whole a lot of fun to read. Of course, Jonty and Orlando’s relationship is the heart of the story, and it was a pleasure to see the obvious affection they share. There was a sweetness to their interactions that has clearly been borne of time, experience, and sacrifice, and, while I was certainly able to enjoy their sleuthing, it was apparent that I’d missed a lot between the two, which I truly regret. Easily shifting from teasing to concern, from flirtation to propriety, and so forth, theirs is a genuine partnership, the warmth they feel for one another achingly evident from the very first scene. Although there is no lack of passion in Lessons for Sleeping Dogs, the realities of the lovers’ circumstances are always present, and any scenes of a more carnal nature are more abstract than explicit—something that fit the narrative well, and added to my overall enjoyment of the story. Lessons for Sleeping Dogs was a wonderful introduction to the Cambridge Fellows mysteries, especially given my lack of familiarity with the series. While it stands alone well enough to enjoy without experiencing the series in its entirety, it was clear that I was missing a...
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Sep
14

Blog Tour + Review: Base Instincts by Larissa Ione

Blog Tour + Review: Base Instincts by Larissa Ione From the author: Hi, everyone! I’m so excited to be on the Base Instincts blog tour. Raze and Slake’s story was a labor of love for me, and while theirs isn’t the first m/m story I’ve written, it’s a first for the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. If you’re curious about how it all started, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the first two books set in the Demonica/LOD universe (details below), and for more information, head on over to www.LarissaIone.com! That’s What I’m Taking About Review: Base Instincts Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- Damon Slake (aka Slake) never quite fit into his violent demon family, so he made a deal with a demonic law firm to escape his home. As a weapon specialist and bounty hunter, he successfully brings in any sort of prey his employer demands. His current assignment is to track down a demon named Fayle, and if he doesn’t bring her in ASAP, he’ll lose his soul to the law firm. Raze works for Underworld General and at a high-end demon club as a paramedic. As a Seminus demon, he must have sex with a female every day or die a painful death; however, Raze is only attracted to males. Luckily, when he reached sexual maturation, his parents found Fayle, a succubus, to help ease his needs, and the pair has been together for 30 years. While the couple does what is needed for each to survive, it’s cold and impersonal. Raze is beginning to realize just how lonely his arrangement has made him when he meets the mysterious Slake. Base Instincts is an exciting and entertaining novella set in Ms. Ione’s uber-sexy Demonica world. For those who know the series, you will delight in seeing several familiar characters who play relevant roles in Raze and Slake’s story. Although it is part of the Demonica series, the story is certainly standalone, although could be spoilerish if you aren’t up-to-date with the books. Raze and Slake share an intense and immediate attraction. Unfamiliar with the biological requirements of Seminus demons, Slake pushes Raze’s buttons, demanding a sexual response. Once Raze gives in to his lust for Slake, he must explain the need for Fayle to be part of their passion. I loved that Slake didn’t let his feelings for Raze diminish because of his job and connection to Fayle. Both are two lost souls searching for that missing piece,...
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Sep
11

Review: Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman

Review: Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman Nothing Serious Author: Jessica Jarman Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman is one of those special books, when upon finishing it, all you want is to read more; you’re sad it’s over; and you find that you must squee about how awesome it is with others who’ve read it. Seriously. It is just that wonderful. Loosely connected to London Bound, the first book in the Bound series (also penned by Ms. Jarman), Nothing Serious picks up this world over eight years forward in time, where we see the original h/h, Nathan and Meg, happily married and her two college-aged children now grown and moving out on their own. The story focuses on the secret affair between Jack, Nathan’s out-of-the-closet best friend, and Meg’s son Aaron, a firmly in-the-closet ER doctor. With Aaron’s sister getting married, Jack comes to town, placing the pair in close proximity while surrounded by family and friends. Even though the pair has been meeting around the world for secret trysts for eight years, they’ve never been together around family and friends, and the stress of the hidden situation may break the pair apart for good. The story unfolds organically and beautifully, giving both Jack and Aaron time to figure out what each wants from the other and for his own life. While the couple has a history of amazing sexual chemistry, the two men are in different places in their lives, creating a tension that causes the story to hum and vibrate rather that sit stagnant. It is evident right from the get go that Jack is deeply emotionally attached to Aaron, while Aaron hasn’t really taken the time to realize what Jack means to him. Jack has always accepted this, enjoying their passionate, yet infrequent rendezvous with everything he has. He is fun and gentle, unwilling to push Aaron into something he’s not ready for, endearing him to me so very much. Their dynamic captured me completely, and I was thoroughly engrossed in their romance. What makes Nothing Serious stand out is the depth of the emotional content Ms. Jarman masters within the story. I cried fat tears of heartbreak and happy tears of joy all within the confines of the book. Jack and Aaron’s circumstances gripped me completely, not letting go until long after I was finished reading the tale. There is nothing frivolous or thoughtless tossed into the book, creating a quick read that you won’t...
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Aug
25

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon When to Hold Them Author: G.B. Gordon Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Some people are their own brand of trouble, regardless of whether they mean to be or not. Though he has a good heart and is trying hard to make amends after being put in jail because of his gambling addiction, Doran Callaghan easily falls into that category. Talented and artistic, yet often aimless, what he really needs is someone strong to look after him and help keep him on the right path. But, wishing they could fight your battles for you and having them beside you while you face your problems yourself aren’t the same thing, and learning to stand on his own might be the only way to hold on to the most perfect relationship he’s ever had. Resilient, protective, and strong-willed, Xavier Wagner was always taught to stand his ground with a gentle hand. More comfortable in the forest where he works as a park ranger than among the residents of Bluewater Bay, he keeps to himself for the most part, content in his loyalty to the land and his parents. But, something about the young, secretive, hoodie-loving web designer with a serious crush calls to darker desires within Xavier, and redefining what it means to be a “good man” could very well give them both everything they desire. One of the things that made When to Hold Them different from other stories that explore BDSM I’ve read is that the two main characters are just beginning to discover that they possess an inclination towards either dominance or submission. For Xavier, who is kind and generally conscientious in most areas of his life, acknowledging that he might have a sexually dominant nature is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. Doran, on the other hand, doesn’t experience any internal conflict over his desire to submit to Xavier as much as a profound relief that the man he’s attracted to is actually a thoughtful and nurturing lover. Their biggest problem is that, while Doran may crave the feelings he gets when he gives himself to Xavier, the latter isn’t at all convinced that he can still be a “nice guy” while indulging his own newfound urges. The combination presented an undeniably erotic dilemma for them both, and I enjoyed watching them work their issues out. While I enjoyed this aspect of the story a great deal, When to Hold Them is about far more...
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Aug
3

Review + Giveaway: Bound with Honor by Megan Mulry

Review + Giveaway: Bound with Honor by Megan Mulry Bound with Honor Author: Megan Mulry Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Archibald Cambury has always taken his role as the Marquess of Camburton with all the propriety and seriousness warranted by his station. Having lost his father when he was just a child, Archie has spent his life trying to do what was proper and right, even with regards to whom he allows himself to love. Of course, losing his heart to anything less than a perfect little wife and mother was never a consideration—at least until he sets his sights on the independent and spirited Selina Ashby. Perfectly capable of supporting herself without her family’s assistance (or interference), Selina Ashby has finally found a peaceful place to pursue her writing career at Camburton Castle. Having already found happiness in her relationship with her friend and lover Beatrix, she never expected to fall in love with the handsome, captivating Marquess, as well. But, society is never accommodating of anything that goes against the established rules, no matter how much she might wish otherwise, and getting what she needs could be far more difficult than she ever imagined. This series has been tempting me for some time, and when I saw that Ms. Mulry had undertaken a romance with four partners of different genders and orientations, I was immediately both hopeful and wary all at once. Thankfully, Bound with Honor seemed to treat the different relationships involved with respect, well-timed good humor, and sincerity. Although I liked him a great deal, Archie is an undeniably frustrating character—as I’m sure he’s meant to be. He is the embodiment of everything prohibitive, judgmental, and hypocritical about the society in which he lives, and I wanted to stomp my foot at him on many occasions right along with Selina. Sadly, many of those failings are still rampant today; a point that Ms. Mulry makes quite successfully over the course of the story. By contrast, Selina has never been able to meet the expectations of others, and has therefore enjoyed a degree of freedom that Archie hasn’t. Not that her freedom was in any way easily won, because it wasn’t. Inherently defiant and marvelously improper, she nearly shimmers with all the possibilities. It’s no wonder that Archie can’t resist her. As the main couple, Archie and Selina ably carry the bulk of the conflict, but I found the secondary characters in Bound with Honor to be just as compelling. Christopher and...
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