A Gay Man's Reviews On A Genre Dominated by Women!

Author Archive

Muscling Through

Author – J L Merrow

Blurb – The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love. Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.
Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair. Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

My Review – I thoroughly enjoyed this story of an unlikely romance between two men at opposite ends of both the social and academic spectrum. The author managed to portray the intellectual differences between Al and Larry without being condescending or patronizing to either character. After the first few pages it becomes abundantly clear that Al Fletcher is not your typical M/M protagonist, and because the story is narrated by Al, the reader is instantly catapulted into his world and it’s impossible not to fall in love with him. The writing was refreshing and witty, but also poignant and sad at times. The “opposites attract” premise is nothing new to fiction, but this book is a shining example of the premise done well. To me, this was just as much a character study as it was romantic fiction, and it was as fascinating as it was enjoyable.

 


Colin and Martin’s First Christmas

Author – Drew Hunt

Pages – 27

Blurb – Blind since birth, Martin Kellam is facing the prospect of yet another Christmas alone save for his guide dog, Toby. Finding it easier to shop online, Martin orders groceries to be delivered from the local supermarket. It doesn’t hurt that the delivery driver is strong, hot, and has a sexy London accent. Colin Rodgers usually leaves Martin’s deliveries until last so he can spend a little extra time with the man he admires and has a secret longing to protect. One day close to Christmas, Martin is making soup and asks Colin to join him. Colin agrees. As they eat, Colin reveals he’s not looking forward to Christmas as he’ll be spending it with a friend and the friend’s fiance. Not expecting him to accept, Martin offers to cook Christmas dinner for Colin. But Colin surprises him. Will turkey and stuffing be all they’ll share?

My Review – This was a sweet, endearing read with two likable protagonists. I enjoyed it but would have liked it to have been longer. The problem with such a short novel is that the reader has very little opportunity to become emotionally invested in the characters. Colin and Martin deserved a more developed story. They went from acquaintances to friends to lovers in lightening speed. I would have preferred it had the author not instantly jumped three years ahead as soon as the couple made their feeling known for one another. All in all, it was an enjoyable read but not a book that will stay in my memory for long. It is ideal for anyone looking for a feel-good romance that can be read in one sitting, but those looking for something with a little more substance may be disappointed.


Somewhere Only We Know

Author – William Neale

Pages – 108

Blurb – Grayson Wagner is a classical pianist who was unemployed, hungry, and on the brink of being homeless until he’s hired by a big-hearted former country music star as her new piano player. Gray loves his job but his new life is threatened when a near fatal accident delivers him into the brawny arms of Jacob Kent, a reclusive park ranger. Their physical attraction quickly turns into much more. But can their love survive Jacob’s secret? Or, a shocking revelation that threatens to tear down the very house that love built?

My Review – This is without doubt, one of the sweetest romances I have read. Nothing too deep or overly erotic here, just a simple, character driven romance told beautifully with such innocence and romanticism, it really is difficult not to fall in love with both the book and it’s characters. Gray and Jacob are such likable characters and watching their romance blossom was heartwarming and actually quite beautiful. What makes this book stand out from the crowd, for me, is the strength of it’s supporting characters. Denise and Lonnie are a wonderful double act, and without them, the story would not be the same. It’s definitely a feel-good book, written, some may say, through rose tinted spectacles, but that is it’s appeal and the intension of the author. It is superbly written and the author has captured a charm that few author’s achieve.


Rescue Me

Author – Scarlet Blackwell

Pages – 414

Blurb – After a near fatal car crash leaves him scarred both physically and emotionally, Matt Harmon finds the solitude of his huge, lonely house too much to bear. Hiring nurse James Hayden to look after him seems like the best idea for Matt, whose fierce independence has been compromised by his injuries. The two men clash from the start as James struggles to help Matt rebuild his shattered body and heal his crushed soul. The bond they form is forged in fire and ice, and the wounds they inflict on one another can only be erased by Matt’s admission that he can’t live without James’s loving touch. Will Matt realize too late that James is the only one who can rescue him from himself?

My Review – Only a good author can create a character so unlikable, so utterly void of any redeeming qualities that he ignites a feeling of loathing from a reader. However, it takes a great author to balance such a character’s negative traits with his likable ones. Ultimately, it does not matter how well crafted a character is, if he is too unlikable, readers will simply grow frustrated and stop reading. Matt Harmon, although obviously tormented, is not a likable man. I can usually forgive characters like this if they have other factors that make them interesting. Sadly, there appeared to be no other variant to Matt’s personality. I disliked him quite early in the book and my dislike of him grew with each chapter. An unlikable lead character is never a wise choice, regardless of the angst that causes such behavior. James on the other hand was very likable to begin with, but as the story progressed, he became as frustrating as Matt, but for different reasons. Had the book been half the length it was, then maybe it would have been an easier read. Had the author spent less time on the angst, and more time dealing with how the characters overcame their issues, I think the overall balance would have been better!


Sounds of Love

Author – Susan Laine

Pages – 220

Blurb – What does love sound like? If you hear it, will you heed its call? Police officer Jordan Waters is recovering from a shooting by moving to a new apartment in a new town and taking a new job. In other words, he’s lonely. His first instinct is to relieve his anxiety through uncomplicated sex—until he meets a man so far out of his league and experience that he stumbles for the first time.
Police volunteer Sebastian Sumner may be deaf, but his spirit, openness, and sense of humor give him the strength to get through anything—even the emotional defenses of Jordan Waters. But it’s his own family history that poses the biggest challenge. Can he learn to trust Jordan with his heart, or will his upbringing blind him to the sounds of love?

My Review – Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect with this book on any level. The running commentary of the main character became somewhat tiring, and his constant inner monologues became repetitious as the book went on. The dialogue and interaction between the two main characters resembled a bizarre mixture of an old Disney cartoon and a script from a Silver Screen movie. It just didn’t seem real, like it was forced and rather contrived. At times it was simply too descriptive. In one scene I swear that Sebastian must have chewed his lip nervously at least a dozen times. From the very the beginning of the book, Jordan came across as being too much like a predator, while Jordan appeared far too childlike. It is not a heavily plot driven book, concentrating more on the relationship between Jordan and Sebastian. I always enjoy a good romance, and have nothing against a long drawn out story – But for that to work, one must like the characters and have an emotional investment in them, which sadly I didn’t.


His christmas Wish

Author – Andi Anderson

Pages – 91

Blurb – For most children, all they want for Christmas is the latest video game or the most popular toy, but that’s not what Daniel wants. He wants to be a family again. Since his parents were killed in a horrific car accident over a year ago, Daniel had been living with his beloved Uncle Josh. Even though Daniel knows his Uncle does his best to make him happy, Daniel still longs for the contentment and secure feeling he felt when his parents were alive. He wants a family, and on the first magical snow of the season, he wishes to have a family again. When Nick is interviewed by Joshua Thomas to be a live in nanny, he is immediately drawn to the young boy and his Uncle Josh. Even though both of them obviously love each other, there is something missing between them. When Nick gets the job, he becomes determined to bring laughter and happiness back into both of their lives. As Christmas quickly approaches, Nick decides to do whatever it takes to bring them together as a happy family forever

My Review – This is a very sweet story that would perhaps only appeal to the most hopeless of romantics. As a paid up member of the Hopeless Romantics Club, I don’t deny enjoying this sentimental peek into the lives of two gay men and the adorable seven year old boy who brings them together. The plot wasn’t terribly exciting or indeed original, but it was charming in it’s simplicity and endearing in it’s objective. This is certainly a book for those looking for pure escapism, where everything is sugary sweet and a happy ending is guaranteed. The characters were all very likable, although I’m not sure how true to life any of them were. In fairness, this short read is aimed to tug at your heartstrings and give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy. This is Book One in the Men of Charlestown series.  I enjoyed it and will certainly read the sequels.


False Evidence

Author – Jon Michaelsen

Pages – 100

Blurb – What begins as a cursory glance at the high-rise apartment opposite soon becomes something much darker and far more dangerous. For bored accountant, Kevin Mitchell, lusting after gorgeous, muscular, Tony, in the adjacent building, builds into a life changing obsession. When Tony shows up at Kevin’s apartment, bloody and bruised, Kevin offers him instant refuge…and a place in his bed. However, all is not what it seems and the police draw a different conclusion in their hunt for a violent killer. Will Kevin’s plea of false evidence save him from the horror of a life behind bars?

My Review – Once in a while, I stumble upon a book so wonderful, so expertly written and so engrossing that it reinforces my faith in the entire genre. This is one such book and I absolutely loved it. Anyone who hasn’t yet read this amazing novel is really missing out on a book that truly represents the best in gay fiction. The author expertly portrays the needs and longings of a lonely gay man who becomes intrigued by a beautiful stranger. Oh how I could relate to Kevin’s infatuation, which quickly spiraled into obsession. The way Kevin starts to schedule his life around the chance of seeing the object of his affection is so very touching, but terrifying in the fact that many readers will be able to relate to such actions, and see within themselves how easy it is to lose control of one’s senses in an attempt to feed one’s addiction. Tony is very much Kevin’s addiction, and I could certainly relate to how easy it is to become obsessed with someone we don’t even know. But this is so much more than a tale of sexual longing and obsession, with twists, shocks and surprises galore. It is a superb psychological thriller, without being too dark. The plot is original and very well written. The characters are believable and the projection of Kevin’s emotions simply fly off the pages. This is obviously the first in a series, and the ending leaves you craving for more. I cannot wait for the sequel.


Diving In Deep

Author – K A Mitchell

Pages – 178

Blurb – Cameron Lewis loves his job as an instructor/trainer for a water safety firm that inspects water parks. He gets to travel from March through September, always moving on to something different. When a strange emptiness starts plaguing him, he chalks it up to turning thirty. He manages to shake off the feeling—until he walks into a classroom and discovers that the eye candy in the front row is actually a very grown up version of his best-friend’s kid brother. Noah Winthrop never forgot his first time. Scary, painful and then absolutely amazing—and with Cameron, the guy he’d always wanted. He’s had a crush on his brother’s best friend since puberty and now nothing will keep him from finally getting Cameron Lewis to notice him. Even though Cameron once rejected him, Noah is determined to get it right this time.

My Review – I was rather disappointed with this book primarily for the lack of characterization that I have come to expect and enjoy from this author. Cameron and Noah were very one dimensional and both were annoying for different reasons. Cameron was actually rather unlikable, shallow, stubborn and cold hearted. Noah had very little conviction, and although I felt quite sorry for him initially, that quickly wore off as they book went on. There was very little in the way of romance between the characters and their relationship seemed almost entirely based on sex, lots of it! That said, this book definitely leans more towards the erotic angle rather than being plot based or character driven. The sex scenes were well written, but they were void of almost any kind of emotion. They were also too frequent for my liking. Page upon page of sex, but little in the way of plot. Unfortunately, I wasn’t emotionally invested in either character, and found myself skipping through many of the often repeated sex scenes.


Foxe Tail

Author – Haley Walsh

Pages – 288

Blurb – Gay teacher Skyler Foxe thought teaching English Lit was murder. Wait till he falls into the real thing. Skyler Foxe is a brand new English teacher in his hometown of Redlands, CA. He loves literature, loves his students, loves his friends, especially his best friend Detective Sidney Feldman. But he doesn’t love keeping his orientation a secret, afraid of the backlash in this conservative county. But will murder thrust him into unwanted limelight? Who killed his principal’s son outside a gay dance club? And what’s the connection to James Polk High? Is the macho football coach or his mysterious and gorgeous new assistant coach involved? Can Skyler trust anyone at the high school when there seems to be conspiracies around every corner?

My Review – There were aspects of this book that I liked, and some that I didn’t like. Skylar was a likable character and I warmed to him quickly. The book started out quite promising, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. Unfortunately, I started to lose interest when we were introduced to Skylar’s gay friends who seemed to represent every gay stereotype possible. I’m sure that some readers may find these characters charming, but for me, I ended up rolling my eyes at everything they said and did. Both of Skyler’s best gay friends are his ex lovers, and his latest ex lover, a grotesque caricature of every overly effeminate hispanic homosexual rolled into one, is added to this band of unique friends (despite the fact that Skylar detested him for trashing his car and accused him of being a stalker at the beginning of the book). I hoped that these supporting characters would have limited exposure, but alas, this was not to be. The book became quite interesting after Skylar finds a murdered young man outside a gay club. Unfortunately, his amateur sleuthing then became quite tiring to read and if I’m honest, I lost interest soon after this point. Conversations seemed to happen for the sake of it, with nothing being said of any great importance that added any merit to the plot. It wasn’t a bad book, I just couldn’t warm to some of the supporting characters. Humor is good, but some of the flamboyant characters were simply overkill for me.


Life Lessons

Author – Kaje Harper

Pages – 276

Blurb – Tony Hart’s life has been quiet lately. He has good friends and a rewarding teaching job. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony’s life gets a little too exciting.  Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, a widowed father, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony’s blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can’t help wanting this man in his life. However Mac isn’t the only one with his eyes on Tony. As the murderer tries to cover his tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently

My Review – This book was nothing short of thrilling from beginning to end. It was excellently written with superb dialogue, likable characters and a plot that grabs you and refuses to let go. The thing I enjoyed the most was the fact that it was plot driven – a tense, often pulse racing thriller that was told with expert clarity. It was wonderful to find a book that didn’t conform to the average style of M/M romance. This book was about the murder of a teacher and the subsequent police investigation. The main characters just happened to be gay. The romance and intimacy in this book was well written and although important to the development of Tony and Mac’s relationship, it in no way overshadowed the plot, which remains the driving force throughout the book.  Tony and Mac were just normal everyday men with fears, responsibilities, desires and lives beyond the main plot of the story. Tony was openly gay and proud of it. Mac was gay but still in the closet. The author handled their relationship sensitively, and I’m glad she stayed true to both of them. It would have been so easy for the author to turn the entire murder angle into a “gay” thing – be it a case of homophobia or a jealous lover, but she didn’t. She resisted the urge to turn a great story into a gay cliche, and I applaud her for that. This was a wonderfully written thriller with a touch a romance thrown in for good measure. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.


Back Home

Author – R J Scott

Pages – 256

Blurb – Kieran Addison, in his teens falls in love with his brothers boyfriend, so he runs away to another country to bury himself in a career so he can forget. When his brother is killed in a car accident Kieran comes back briefly for the funeral, but then leaves almost immediately, emotions too raw to face Jordan Salter. It’s only when his father becomes Ill, and his sister begs him to come home, does Kieran return for good. However he finds a business almost bankrupt and Jordan, the man he loves, broken. A shell of the man he used to be, beaten down by despair over the business and guilt over Brad’s death, a death he blames himself for. The journey Kieran and Jordan take, building a friendship, and repairing the busness, while exploring how they feel about each other, is a journey filled with decisions and revealed secrets. Can Kieran and Jordan finally see what could be between them after all these years?

My Review – I thoroughly enjoyed this book can’t praise it enough. This was everything a great book should be, and more. The story was engaging and the characters jumped out of the pages as if they were flesh and blood. This was so much better than a general M/M Romance book – This had substance, depth and realism. Kieran and Jordan were flawed men, each tormented by guilt and regret. Unlike many books in this genre, the protagonists didn’t fall into bed at the first opportunity and their relationship started off rocky, but gradually grew into something far greater than either of them could have imagined. The family business and the supporting characters added charm and realism. This is a perfect story of two men coming to terms with angst ridden pasts, and blossoming together to become better people. First and foremost, this was a genuine story, written to absorb and entertain the reader. The two male leads just happened to be gay and the book wasn’t defined by their sexuality. It would have been equally absorbing had the characters been male and female. It’s such a refreshing change to find a well written book in this genre that does more than merely arouse the reader, and it’s one I will definitely read again. Drama, angst, tension, desire, passion, corruption and love! This book had everything, in abundance. I loved it!


Luscious Love

Author – Zach Sweets

Blurb – Wendell Choate is a struggling Deaf man who wants nothing more than a comfortable life. When Caleb Adams hires him to work in his chocolate shop, the big bear of a man appeals to his sweet tooth. Does Caleb’s interest end at closing time, or is there a chance he wants more?

My Review – Hmm, this is a hard one to review, because even though the story was sweet, the standard of writing suggests the author may be a budding amateur or perhaps a self published author who hasn’t had the benefit of a good editor. To me, the book seems very childlike in it’s execution, from the way things are worded to the character descriptions and especially the dialogue between Wendell and Caleb. The author obviously has a talent for writing, but unless I’m mistaken, I would say that he is still in the early stages of learning his craft. The main obstacles that authors must overcome is finding a way to explain to us, the reader, exactly what’s going on. For example, Wendell is stone deaf and can’t lip read that well, but the author mentions (early in the book) that numerous companies have called him for potential job interviews, but when they discovered he was deaf, they didn’t want to know! How would a deaf person who can’t even lip read that well be able to hold a telephone conversation? Later in the book it’s explained that he has a sign language gadget on his cell phone that interprets incoming messages, but it doesn’t explain how he actually holds conversations on a phone. By adding more snippets of information that may help explain otherwise unexplainable events, the author could have created a more well rounded novel.  I hope that this author continues to learn his craft, for he obviously has a talent for story telling – It’s just not quite up to the standard it should be for an author who is actually selling his work online! I have to add that this was a free download from Amazon, and as such, it’s worth checking out, just for the sweetness of the story!


Language Lessons

Author – Jay Bell

Pages – 41

Blurb – Love doesn’t come easy. For Joey, he didn’t care if it ever came at all. He was much too busy adding notches to his bedpost and preparing for life as an adult. But when a causal fling waxes nostalgic about the one that got away, Joey starts to wonder if he isn’t missing something after all, if there really is something to be learned from the language of love.

My Review – Unfortunately, try as I might, I just could not get into this book. The main character, Joey, is sixteen, almost seventeen, yet he was so jaded, so cold and unlikable. The way he spoke, the way he acted, his entire outlook on life was simply not believable for a boy his age. I just didn’t like him at all, and for me, it made the book very hard to finish. He came across more like a cold hearted, thirty year old gigolo from Hollywood, with far too much arrogance. He is supposed to be a sixteen year old boy for heavens sake! His relationship with his Mother was odd too. She loved him and accepted his sexuality – so much so that she joked with him about all the boys he slept with. Do parents of gay teens actually talk like this with their kids? The story was choppy and I simply didn’t understand what was happening  several times throughout the story! First he was having sex with Brad, then he arranged to meet up with Brad’s ex lover, with the intention of sleeping with him. Then he had an idea and somehow arranged for Brad to go on a surprise date with his ex. At first the date went sour, then a second later it was all cuddles and exclamations of love. While all this was happening, Brad fell in lust with a waiter at the restaurant, but the waiter didn’t sleep around….. It was like watching twenty episodes of a badly acted soap opera condensed into a thirty minute show . In fairness to the character, he supposedly had a change of heart and came to see the error of his ways. Unfortunately, by this point, I disliked him so much, and I was so frustrated with the choppy writing that I didn’t care!


The Gentle Predator Goes Shopping

Author – Boris Brannigan

Pages – 17

Blurb – This is the first short story in the Gentle Predator-series. Ryan is a predator. He ensnares young adult men by letting them see what it is they really want… and then giving it to them. He never forces them, but lets them come of their own accord. He is a gentle predator. One day, while shopping, he meets Ben… Contains gay, male on male, explicit action.

My Review – I’m sure that anyone who is familiar with my blog knows of my distaste for books that offer nothing other than gratuitous sex. I was challenged to read this ultra short story by a friend who believes I have an irrational dislike of anything overly erotic in my fiction. Never one to turn down a challenge, I finished it in less than fifteen minutes. The last seven words of the blurb sums this story up perfectly. In fairness, I had grave misgivings about the title – A sexual predator praying on naive young men doesn’t sit comfortably with me. However, the victim (Ben), didn’t seem like much of a victim. In fact, he was more than willing to get down and dirty with the predator (Ryan). It was nowhere near as dark as I imagined it would be. Sadly, there was absolutely no plot, no character development (the main character wasn’t even likable), and the entire thing was nothing more than a wild sexual romp with no other purpose other than to titillate. To be honest, after having  read hundreds of M/M sex scenes, they all tend to become dull as ditch-water when there’s no emotional investment between the characters.


Bus Stop

Author – Pepper Espinoza

Pages – 108

Blurb – What starts as a friendly gesture can lead two men to their destinies…with each other…Patrick Curtis has been living in Rome for several months, but due to the stress at work and his own shyness, he’s never been able to connect with anybody. One rainy morning, however, a stranger interrupts Patrick’s loneliness by graciously offering to share his umbrella at the bus stop. Lealdo Fanucci is charming and gorgeous, and a smitten Patrick is left to wonder if there could be anything more between them than an innocent flirtation.

My Review – For a short story, this sure did pack a lot of punch and ticked all the right boxes for me. Patrick and Lealdo were believable and likable, and the fact that they’re the only two characters in the book simply added to the intimacy of the story. Who would have thought such a passionate tale could be woven around two strangers meeting at a Bus Stop is rain soaked Rome! The writing was excellent and the author managed to portray an authentic “feel” without going overboard on the descriptions. In fact, one of the things I particularly liked about the Author’s writing was her very basic description of what Patrick and Lealdo looked like. This gives the reader a basic canvas to create whatever images we desire. We’re not even told how old they are, which enables us to paint our own pictures. Literally, the characters could be anywhere between 20 and 50 and the story works just as well whichever image and age range we conjure. This book had a sense of realism that i find lacking in many M/M romance books. That first flicker of attraction followed by that knotted ball of excitement in your stomach when you realize that the attraction is mutual. The sex scenes in this book were passionate but they in no way dominated the book or glorified it in any way. This is a story of two men with an undeniable passion for one another. All in all, this was a well told tale of attraction, intimacy and emotion, all wrapped up in a short, easy read.


Country Mouse


Author
– Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov

Pages – 79

Blurb – Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he’s loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he’s on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn’t come on a bun. Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything’s a competition—even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him. Owen’s all for an adventure with a native, but he’s not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm’s not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing’s too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.

My Review – Okay, so based on the blurb I was expecting a sex based story. Normally, I have zero interest in books about casual hookups ( I prefer sexual relationships to develop over time in books), but because I love London and because I thought something may actually develop (other than sex) between these two characters, I thought I’d give it a try. What the blurb fails to mention is that the sex is of the kinky variety with anal play, butt plugs and BDSM roleplay. Boy, was this not my kind of book. Having a huge butt plug the size of a melon rammed up my butt while my lover holds a sharp knife to my nipple is just not my idea of a good time, and it’s certainly not something I want to read about. Add to this the fact that both characters were cocky, arrogant and generally unlikable, and you end up with a book that I in no way enjoyed. I tend to avoid any book I see that even hints at BDSM and all that Pleasure/Pain stuff. It would have been nice if the blurb had given some indication of the type of sexual content to allow readers to make an informed decision on whether they want to purchase such a novel. I dare say if this type of story floats your boat, and you like your protagonists mean and moody, then this book will interest you. For those of us with a more delicate nature, stay well away!


Pricks And Pragmatism

Author – J L Merrow

Pages – 60

Blurb – Easy come, easy go…until the heart gets involved.English student and aspiring journalist Luke Corbin should be studying. Instead he’s facing homelessness, thanks to the lover who’s just kicking him out of their posh digs. It’s not his first rejection-his father tossed him out at age sixteen-but Luke has no problem trading his favors for a home and security. Especially with rich, powerful, handsome men. Except now, with finals bearing down, there’s no time to be choosy.  He needs a roof over his head and he needs it now. Even if it means settling temporarily for a geeky, less-than-well-off chemical engineer called Russell. Luke’s fully prepared to put out for the guy-because after all, in this world no one gets something for nothing. But Russell isn’t just a nerd; he’s an honourable nerd who wants to save himself for someone special. At first Luke is annoyed, but the more time he spends with Russell, the closer he comes to a devastating realization. He wants to be that someone special. Except he’s fallen for the one man he can’t seem to charm.

My Review – This was a short, sweet read, but I feel it could have been much better had it been longer and the characters had been better developed. The “opposites attract” angle is nothing new to romance books, but if I’m honest, Luke and Russell were simply too opposite and their romance was a little contrived. With such diverse personalities, these characters really deserved a longer story.  Due to how short this book was, all the characters were all a little one dimensional, and although I enjoyed it, I had no emotional connection with any of them. Luke is a freeloader, who offers sex in return to anyone willing to give him a bed for the night. Russell is a geeky recluse, and still a virgin! This format has been done to death, and in order for it to work, the characters need a great deal of development. Russell has been saving himself for the right man – so what does he do? He gives his gay cherry to a freeloader who uses sex as currency at the drop of a hat to anyone who takes his fancy. The romance just didn’t make sense. Luke and Russell were complete opposites, and before you know it, they’ve gone from being total strangers to committed lovers, and I wasn’t exactly sure how they got there. Despite my obvious gripes, the book was an enjoyable read, and it’s best to enjoy it for what it is and not worry too much about the things that would have made it better.


Boys Of Summer

Author – Cooper Davis

Pages – 49

Blurb – I thought I knew what love was…My name is Hunter Willis and I’ve found love. The problem? I’m not sure I’m ready for the rest of the world to know I’ve fallen for my best friend. Everyone knows Max is gay. Me? They think I’m straight as an arrow. So did I, until Max and I shared a kiss three months ago that blew that theory right out of the water. Now, by the ocean in Florida, thousands of miles away from prying eyes, I’m finally ready to admit to myself that Max and I have something special. Max has been ready for a long time—and he’s been waiting for me. Really waiting. As in…he’s still a virgin. There’s nothing I want more than to be Max’s first lover. But I know when Max gives away that part of himself, it won’t be just a summer fling. It’ll be for keeps. Max deserves the best. I’m just not sure, when it comes right down to it, that I won’t break his heart. Did I mention I’m scared as hell?

My Review – This is basically a coming out story told by Hunter, a straight man who has fallen in love with his best friend Max, who is gay. The writing was excellent and because of the first person narrative, the reader “experiences” the story rather than reads it. It’s a sweet story with lots of tender moments and intimacy that focuses on the strength of relationships and the power of love.  It was a heartwarming read, yet poignant at times. Both Hunter and Max were extremely likable and their relationship is what dreams are made of. This is one of the more genuine M/M romances that I have read lately, and is a perfect portrayal of a same sex couple in love, facing the everyday fears and uncertainties that all gay men can relate to.


Full Circle

Author – Lisa Marie Davis

Pages – 152

Blurb – Openly gay eighteen-year-old Jaylin Ryan is surprised when his secret crush, star jock Max Sydney, admits he’s interested in him. Knowing Max’s father will react badly, Jaylin and Max find ways to be together and make plans for the future, but it all goes wrong when they’re attacked for their relationship, leaving Max badly injured and Jaylin emotionally devastated. Taking advantage of his son’s vulnerability, Max’s father convinces him the best thing he can do for Jaylin is to leave him. Seven years later, the possible early release of one of the attackers brings Max and Jaylin back to their hometown, where they discover that their feelings for each other are still alive. They have a chance at a future, but first the past must be laid to rest

My Review – I was rather disappointed with this book, which surprised me because I have enjoyed the author’s others books. To me, it feels like Ms Davis had a clear idea of what story she wanted to tell but only had the main parts mapped out. It was very disjointed, and in places it felt rushed. Important issues were glossed over, and problems were remedied way too easily and conveniently for my liking. Jaylin and Max were likable characters and their courtship was well written and rather sweet. There was simply too much going on and it felt like the author spent too much time on things that were not important and too little time on things that were. All stories need a solid foundation, and that foundation needs to be built on gradually to form the finished product. It feels like the author tried to run before she could walk in this book. There are definitely glimpses of a great story here, but the way it’s thrown together simply doesn’t make the grade in my opinion. Of course, it could be a matter of word count restrictions or poor editing, but either way, the book suffered, which is a shame!


The Sound Of Your Voice

Author – David Sullivan

Pages – 145

Blurb – The Sound of Your Voice is a gentle romance, following the developing love between John and his deaf lover Steve as they adjust to living in two very different worlds. Sentenced to community service for being arrested at a rally, John begins working at a relay service for the hearing impaired. Through his new work he meets Steve, a deaf man, who helps him understand that love comes in all shapes and sizes. Steve and John face disapproving families, clashing lifestyles, and discrimination, but they eventually find a place that gives them the peace they need to learn how to love each other, and to discover that sometimes the sweetest voice is the one you can’t hear.

My Review – The absolute best thing about this book was the realistic portrayal of a same sex couple,  struggling to find a place in the world, where one of the people, Steve, just happens to be deaf. No high energy pornathons here – just honest to goodness romance and genuine love and affection! It’s such a refreshing change to find a M/M romance book where the protagonists aren’t shagging liking rabbits in every position imaginable at every opportunity. Everyone should be able to relate to the relationship between Steve and John, and the way the romance between them is written comes across far more sensual than any all night orgy! Add to this an insightful introduction into the world of the hearing impaired, and you have one hell of an amazing book. Watching the relationship blossom between Steve and John is wonderful and so beautifully written. Watching them both adapt to a new life together is inspiring. Like any couple, Steve and John have their fair share of ups and downs and hurdles to cross, mostly due to the unfamiliar worlds in which they both find themselves having to adapt to. This is a story that everyone should read at least once, because this is M/M fiction at it’s very best!


Frat Boy And Toppy

Author – Anne Tenino

Pages – 170

Blurb – Brad is great at meeting other people’s expectations. But his own? Not so much. Take the gay thing. Okay, so yeah. It took a morning meeting with a frat brother’s hairy, naked ass for him to admit it, but he knows the truth about himself now. Let the gay life commence. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. He hasn’t quite determined how to come out to anyone, even Sebastian, the geeky-hot TA in his history class. Sebastian is everything Brad is not. Intellectual, suave, hairy. Out. And he doesn’t seem interested in Brad, even when Brad makes a fool of himself trying to catch his notice. Score one for foolery: Sebastian does more than notice Brad; he takes him to bed. Brad’s been with plenty of girls, but with Sebastian, the sex is something else entirely—hot, mind-blowing, affirming, and a little domineering in a way that drives him wild. But when great sex turns into something more—dare he admit the “L” word?—Brad must face the crushing realization that Sebastian doesn’t feel the same. Unless, of course, he does. After all, even grad students can be idiots about matters of the heart.

My Review – I so wanted to enjoy this book, I really did. The blurb sounded really great – The sexy jock chasing the geeky bookworm! Unfortunately, the blurb was the only thing I enjoyed. The writing was good and the author certainly knows how to tell a story, but other than that, I really can’t say anything positive about it. Firstly, most of the book was about sex, or thoughts of sex. For me, that’s a huge turnoff. Sadly, there was little in the way of actual story to hold my attention for any great length of time. In the first few chapters, Brad (the jock) decided he was gay. He spent most of his time masturbating and ramming a brush handle up his butt whilst thinking about Sebastian (the geek). When he finally plucks up the courage to tell Sebastian he’s gay, in the same breath he asks Sebastian to fuck him! Yep, no first date, no foreplay! Nothing! Just right down to the nasty. After losing his gay cherry, he spends the next few days fantasizing about Sebastian but allows a fellow Frat Boy to suck him off in the showers, and so the book continues…..The scene that really made me want to put the book down was when Brad came out to his parents. Their blase attitude was unbelievable. They said they knew he was gay and it wasn’t a big deal. That was the end of it. His dad went back to reading the paper. End of discussion. It was like something from the Stepford Wives. Okay, so they may not have been too upset, but how about supportive or attentive? If writers are going to include a “coming out” story in their books, I wish they would at least add some realism to it.


Blind Passion

Author – Penny Brandon

Pages – 189

Blurb – Attraction for Adam was not a handsome face, a striking smile, or beautiful eyes, but a scent that would drive him to distraction or a voice that could make his heart beat faster. When the combination of the two walked into his life in Luke, Adam couldn’t help but want him. But how was he supposed to know if Luke felt the same attraction? He had no prior experience, no past encounters, nothing to help him. Not even his sight. One look at Adam and Luke wanted him. Sensual, gorgeous, kind, with a strength that Luke was drawn to, Adam was everything Luke desired. Being in Adam’s arms, showing him the pleasure of a man’s body, being touched, held, and desired in return, had Luke wanting more, had him wanting what he knew he couldn’t have. It didn’t matter to him that Adam was blind, but Adam deserved more than someone like him. Luke was a man with a broken past and falling in love with Adam was a foolish thing to do, especially because Adam would never love him back if he found out what Luke was hiding.

My Review – I’ll get straight to the point with this one – Too much sex! It was mind numbingly repetitive . It’s wasn’t that it was badly written, there was just way too much and none of it added anything to the story. Is it fiction or porn? To be honest, I’m really not sure. The things that initially peaked my interest in this title was that it was set in Australia (which we don’t see too often in M/M fiction), and that one of the main characters was blind. The thing I liked about this book was that Adam was in no way a victim because of his disability. Initially, I liked both Adam and Luke. They were likable and had real chemistry. I guess the basis of this story was the angst Luke felt because of his deep dark secret (which turned out to be something of an anti-climax), feeling that he wasn’t worthy of being loved. For me, there were just too many things I didn’t like about this book to make it an enjoyable read. There were inconsistencies with the characters, and did I mention Too Much Sex! I’m not a prude by any means, but it feels like the author decided how many words this book should include, then used up three quarters of them explaining sex scenes that frankly, became dull, then filled the last quarter of the book with angst.


Tommy’s Blind Date

Author – Anne Brooke

Blurb – Thirty-two-year-old IT consultant Tommy Godolphin has been on a series of blind dates, as he doesn’t want to be single any more. None of the dates, however, really hits the spot, and the latest one has proven a complete, if amusing, disaster. When Tommy recounts what happened to his best friend, Jacob, he expects Jacob to laugh with him as usual, but this time the man doesn’t. Instead, Jacob challenges Tommy to go on a blind date with him, to see what, if anything, he might be doing wrong. The evening brings several surprises for them both, but in the morning, what will happen to their friendship?

My Review – This was an enjoyable enough read although I found the premise hard to believe. The story revolves around Tommy, who for whatever reason, hasn’t been lucky in love. His friend Jacob (an actor) challenges him to go out on a Blind date with him to determine if Tommy may be to blame for his lack of success. Jacob remains “in character” throughout the date and for some unexplained reason, Tommy seems suddenly in awe of the friend he’s known for years – So much so that he becomes a blithering wreck of sexual frustration. I truly find it hard to believe that someone who has never found their best friend desirable, suddenly goes weak at the knees when the said friend pretends to be someone else. Without ever questioning their friendship, the men have wild passionate sex. To me, this just beggars belief. What does this say about the personality of Jacob, if Tommy only finds him desirable when he’s pretending to be someone else? It’s a short story and is well written, but for me, the premise is just a little too far fetched for me to take it seriously – But hey, maybe the author wasn’t aiming for realism with this one and just wanted to write a cute story of two friends getting hot and sweaty between the sheets!


My Summer of Wes

Author – Missy Welsh

Pages – 103

Blurb – I didn’t know. How could I? All through high school, I was beaten up and teased for being gay. But I wasn’t gay. Or didn’t think I was. Now Wes, the guy across the street who’s taken me under his wing and been the best friend I’ve ever had, won’t stop invading my dreams, hell, my every waking thought. Am I gay? Because I’m thinking I’d like to kiss him. Actually, I’m thinking there’s a lot more I’d like to do with his mouth and the rest of that tall, confident, muscular body. Ah, man… I’m so gay! But what if he doesn’t feel the same way about me? And, Jesus, what about my parents? And those bastards from school are still around. And I’m supposed to go to college this fall… Shit, I need to sit down. I can’t breathe and I’m about to shake apart. Then Wes puts his hand on the back of my neck, gives me one of those encouraging squeezes and his bright smile, and everything’s okay again. Yeah, I’m hooked. Oh, boy.

My Review – I almost didn’t read this book due to it’s absolutely appalling cover, which did nothing to entice me to pick it up and read the blurb. Eventually I caved in to peer pressure and gave it a try, and boy am I glad I did. This is without doubt one of my favorite books in the M/M genre – a delightful tale of a teenage boy discovering his sexual identity and falling in love for the very first time. Mal is a shy, socially awkward teenager who has been bullied for being gay for years (even before he realized it himself). Wes is openly gay and proud of it. He’s everything that Mal isn’t, but nevertheless they become firm friends. What follows is a journey of discovery, enlightenment, love and finally, acceptance. It’s a beautifully crafted work that deals with tough issues without becoming too dark. Personally, I’m not a lover of gratuitous sex scenes in M/M fiction, but the sex in this book was handled responsibly and realistically, which made the entire book even more special. Mal and Wes are absolutely perfect together, and even though Wes is sexually experienced, it was lovely seeing how patient he was with Mal (a virgin). Despite what many may think, when gay men lose their virginity, it’s not usually the full monty of oral, anal and prostate massaging. No, things tend to go much slower and I’m glad the author recognized this fact and didn’t fall into the trap of having Mal and Wes shag like seasoned porn stars on their first time together. Sex, no matter how much we may want it, is a scary concept for the uninitiated – And this was perfectly reflected in the relationship between Mal and Wes, from their first intimate touch, exploring and trying new things, to the time Mal felt confident enough to do whatever his heart desired.