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Currently Browsing: LGBTQ
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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Jul
20

Review: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Review: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell Sutphin Boulevard Author: Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Michael Rodriguez is a determined man. Whether he’s teaching the students in his history class, dealing with his family, or partying, his resolve is noteworthy. Still, taking care of the house his mother left him, worrying about his younger brother, and the fallout of a recent break-up have left him unsteady and on edge. The only bright spot in his life is his best friend, Nunzio, and after a particularly alcohol-drenched evening, even that feels uncertain. With the lines blurred from more than just too much alcohol, Michael will have to decide what’s worth fighting for before he loses it all. Nunzio Medici has been fighter all his life. Rejected and abused by his family, the only love of any kind he’s ever known is his friendship with Michael. But, Michael’s got demons of his own to battle, and things are getting worse instead of better. Watching his best friend surrender to all the wrong things hurts too much, but can he really turn his back on the only person he’s ever loved? Or, is that the only way to save him? Saying that I “loved” Michael, especially at first, is grossly oversimplifying my opinion of him, which is part of what makes him one of the better characters I’ve read lately. Saying that he’s “complicated” doesn’t really work, either, although he unquestionably is. Michael is an addict. An alcoholic. He is selfish and needy, yet he flings himself headlong into a pervasive isolation in order to protect those he cares about from his own downfall. He is a caretaker and a teacher. He’s both observant and oblivious about those he should know best, never mind himself. He is passionate about many things, his own self-loathing included. He may be tired of hearing about how much “more” he could be, but that doesn’t make those who tell him so wrong. The fact that he’s loved by some pretty spectacular people, Nunzio, in particular, made me want him to pull out of his spiral so badly that it hurt. Nunzio, however, was wonderful from the beginning. He was easily my favorite character in Sutphin Boulevard, and I’m not certain I could have gotten through Michael’s story without him. If I could beg for a short follow-up about him and Michael, I would. Friend, lover, confessor, protector, soul mate—Nunzio is everything. His relationship with Michael is in no...
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Jul
7

Review: Ink and Shadows by Rhys Ford

Review: Ink and Shadows by Rhys Ford Ink and Shadows Author: Rhys Ford Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Beautiful and alone (and most likely insane), Kismet understands exactly why he doesn’t belong anywhere. Having a childhood scarred by loss and neglect, combined with the ability to see the dark things that lurk in the shadows, hasn’t made him fit for anything but his own solitude. Yet, when the impossible happens, and he’s caught in the middle of a fight between immortals, Kismet not only gains an unlikely ally, but the deepest friendship he’s ever known. As Pestilence, the youngest of the Four Horsemen, Mal gets that he has a lot to learn. Still, it would be nice if the other Horsemen understood him a little better. The simple truth is that he just doesn’t feel like he belongs. But, when an unknown force threatens the boundary between mankind and the creatures that hunt them, the Four discover that a very special human is the key to unraveling the mystery, and, for the first time, Mal finds something that’s truly worth fighting for. When I saw Ink and Shadows, the first in a new paranormal series by Rhys Ford, in a list of upcoming releases, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a twist on the Four Horsemen. The blurb and cover were enough to further pique my interest, but after hearing what else was said about Ink and Shadows, my curiosity increased exponentially. I’ve never reviewed a title that came with a disclaimer from the publisher about the things the novel isn’t before. A suspense story with LGBTQ characters, but no promise of a “happily ever after?” Count me in! The author has attempted an expansive undertaking that covers all kinds of phenomena and myths—from Vices and Virtues to the Sidhe courts of the Fae, and, most especially, to the Four Horsemen themselves. Saying that nothing is as it seems in Ink and Shadows is an understatement, but attempting to explain the intricacies of the story in detail would give too much away. The world Ms. Ford has created is complicated and richly textured, and learning about it through the eyes of the characters was an enormously satisfying part of reading the book in the first place. While it isn’t a romance, Ink and Shadows is certainly not devoid of romantic moments. In fact, the novel’s treatment of intimacy, in its many different forms, provided some of my favorite scenes. The personal interactions...
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Jun
30

DNF Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

DNF Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat Prince’s Gambit Author: C.S. Pacat Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: DNF What I’m Talking About: After finishing Captive Prince earlier this year, I was disappointed that the book was mislabeled as an m/m fantasy romance, but rather, it was the first book in a duo or trio that together is one story. I ranted about this in my review, so I won’t go into it again here. So why did I pick up the second book, Prince’s Gambit? For two reasons: 1) I found the second half of Captive Prince to be engaging and interesting; and 2) in reviews I’d read from the original Captive Prince, it mentioned reading “both parts” so I hoped the story would conclude after Prince’s Gambit was over. However… Prince’s Gambit begins right at the point where the first book ends. Again, I will stress that these books are not stand alone stories. It is one story that has been split up into three different books. So if you didn’t read Captive Prince, you will be lost. Even I had trouble recalling which men were loyal to the prince and those who belong to his uncle the Regent. Because of the “re-entry” factor, I wasn’t fully reengaged in the story until the 15-20% mark. Once I found my reading stride, I continued to enjoy the complexity of Prince Laurent and the slow reveal of his true prowess and intelligence as shared from the point of view of the captive prince, Damen. I also enjoyed Damen’s surprised realization that the Prince sparked “some sort of feelings” within him, giving me hope that eventually, the story will be a romance. Finally, the pair start to respect one another, listen, and share solid advice, making the balance of power more equal. However, as I continued to read, it became pretty evident that there was no way the story would conclude by the end of Prince’s Gambit. At the 53% mark, I felt that the book was starting to drag, and it felt never-ending. I skipped ahead and verified that the story does not conclude at the end of this book. So I was torn: do I continue to trudge through, knowing I still have another book and hope it’s better? Or DNF? Unfortunately, I picked DNF. I was enjoying this story, sort of. I knew I couldn’t keep it up for this and one more book. I felt cheated and that I wasted my time. But why keep reading in the hope that I will eventually find the gem hidden...
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