Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & My Favorite Reads of 2011

The year is almost done and although I’m not done reading yet, I’ll do what other bloggers do and give you my list of favorite reads of this past year. :) It probably won’t be a surprise that my list only contains male/male romances, since that seems to be my most favorite genre.
These are all books I’ve read in 2011 (and according to Goodreads I’ve read 232 books this year) so they are not necessarily books that were published in 2011. Most are but some are older.
I had a hard time picking my favorites, so I divided them in a few categories, which gave me the freedom to mention more than a few. ;)
Here they are:

Favorite short story read in 2011
Beyond Reckless by Ava March
 Special mention:
Apples and Regret and Wasted Time by Cornelia Grey

Favorite new to me author read in 2011
Lisa Worrall
I loved both novels A Nanny for Nate & Unshakeable Faith

Fabulous conclusion to a favorite series read in 2011
All or Nothing by James Buchanan
Special mention:
Bound Forever by Ava March

Favorite series completely read in 2011
Conventions series by TC Blue (#1 Conventional Wisdom, #2 Conventional Education, #3 Unconventional)

Favorite historical romance read in 2011
The Gladiator’s Master by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe

Authors I read the most books of (aka my favorite comfort read authors) in 2011
Stephani Hecht
Kim Dare
Shawn Lane

Best book I read in 2011
Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan
Special mentions:
Rules of Engagement by L.A. Witt
The Charlie Factor by Diana DeRicci
A to Z by Marie Sexton
Crossing Borders by Z.A. Maxfield
Anything for You by Ethan Day
One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox

For the rest of my Favorite reads of 2011 you can check this shelf on Goodreads.

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & A Couple More Christmas Reads

Yay, it's Friday again! And a Friday before a long weekend, that's even better. :) True, we have all kinds of family obligations, but that's just how it is. We're away for the weekend, but hopefully we'll be home by Sunday night and then we have Monday off from work (as we have a second Christmas Day in the Netherlands). Time to hang around the house together, watch some tv shows and read books, before going back to work on Tuesday. Sounds good, huh? :)
I’ve been reading a few more Christmas stories this week. It’s such a nice way to get in the mood for the holidays. Here they are:

The Santa Problem
Torquere Press, 2011

Lane would do most anything to make his live-in love Gavin happy, but this is taking things too far. Just because Gavin can’t find someone to play Santa at his office building, doesn’t mean it’s Lane’s problem too. But Gavin can be very persuasive when he wants his way, and Lane may be taking on more than he can handle in order to keep his man content.

My thoughts:
I love a little bit of humor in my stories, and The Santa Problem just delivers that. And not only that. The plot is engaging, the characters feel very real, the chemistry is scorching hot and there's some sweetness to top it all off. The only complaint I have is that the story ended. This was such an enjoyable read, it perfectly showed the author's skill to make her characters three-dimensional and to bring a scene to life. From the first paragraphs on I felt as if I was there in the room with them. It's definitely a Christmas story, but not of the traditional, sappy kind. I think I almost peed myself when the little 'Santa problem' reached its peak, it’s hilarious. I highly recommend this story and every m/m reader should buy it, and I'm not only saying that because I know Tam and consider her a friend. She really wrote an entertaining and lovely story with The Santa Problem! 4.5 stars

My True Love Gave to Me
Carina Press, 2011

Alexander Norton loathes the festive season. The revelry of the ton is a reminder of Christmas four years ago, when his first love, Thomas Bennett, broke his heart and fled to New York without a word. So when he encounters Thomas at a holiday ball, Alexander is determined not to let on how much he still hurts.
Thomas has returned for one reason only: Alexander. Having finally come to terms with his forbidden desires, he will do whatever he must to convince Alexander to give their love another chance. But instead of the happy, carefree man Thomas once knew, Alexander is now hard and cynical. Saddened to know he's to blame for the man's bitterness, Thomas resolves to reignite the passion he knows lies hidden behind the wall of disdain...

My thoughts:
This story is part of the Men Under The Mistletoe anthology - although it can be purchased as a single title as well - and is set in Regency England as we're used from Ava March's books. Characteristic for the time period is the forbidden nature of gay love, something the main character Thomas in this story struggles with when he and Alexander start falling in love. Given their young age, they're 19 years old, it's understandable he's unsure and feels the pressure of society and family who condemn sodomy. So, he flees and hurts Alexander deeply in the process. When he returns after four year, Alexander doesn't warmly welcome him back into his life and Thomas has to work hard to make Alexander even listen to his apologies, let alone to win him back.
Their story is an intense story, full of dark and deep feelings that made my stomach twist more than once, out of sympathy for both characters equally. The narrative alternates between both their perspectives so as a reader it's easy to empathize with and understand both men. I only wondered if Alexander understood Thomas' motives to leave to New York as well as I did, because some things remained unsaid between them while we learned about them through their thoughts. But other than that this story was perfect, it's written well, has intriguing, memorable characters, a compelling plot and hot and moving sex scenes. Especially when you love a historical setting and don't mind the angsty implications of that period's forbidden gay love, My True Love Gave to Me is a wonderful read, for any time of the year and not only for around Christmas time. Because although it is set in December and the season plays a role in the plot, it's not highly significant and the story doesn't have a very 'Christmassy' vibe. However, you won't be disappointed when you want I seasonal read either. 4.5 stars

My Christmas Present
Silver Publishing, 2011

Lucas has been in love with his dad’s best friend, Mitchell, for years. Arriving home after finishing university, he's determined to find out if the sexy cowboy returns his feelings. When Mitchell receives his Christmas present early, will he continue to fight his attraction?

My thoughts:
This is a May-December romance in which a son is in love with his father's best friend and vice versa and where the age gap is about 20 years. I have to admit that this is not one of my favorite themes, on the contrary, but this wasn't a bad read for me. The father's friend, Mitchell, was rather reluctant about starting something with his friend's son, Lucas, and his cautious behavior worked for me. And although the way the father gave his approval to the relationship was a bit weird, the first hesitant attempts to physical contact between Mitchell and Lucas were sweet and endearing. By that time I was all for them getting together.
Their story is told from both their perspectives which makes it easy to believe in the sincerity of their feelings. Both men have had a crush on the other for a long time, and through their thoughts we learn all about the why. When they finally give in to their attraction there's some hot smexing and unfortunately with that the end of the story presents itself as well. The story, which takes place around Christmas and involves some sort of a Christmas present, is an enjoyable read with a decent plot. 3.5 stars

Have you been reading good Christmas stories that you can recommend?

Happy Gay Friday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ARC Review: The Forester by Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden
The Forester
Storm Moon Press, December 22, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith. Worse, a murder committed ten days before Solstice reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit: Kelnaht's former lover Ianys, who once betrayed him, and the shunned forester named Taruif, who is not allowed to talk to anyone but The Guide, their spiritual pathfinder. When Taruif turns out to be the only witness for the crime, Kelnaht has to keep Ianys from sacrificing himself and losing his daughter, while at the same time realising he'd gladly sacrifice himself to end Taruif's loneliness.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Elves, Mystery, Forest, Threesome, HFN ending

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Imagine a squee and a happy dance when Janna send me the ARC request for The Forester. I’d come across the book a few days earlier and couldn’t wait for the release. Needless to say, The Forester was read upon receiving a copy and I wasn’t disappointed.

Elves? Oh my!
No these elves are not Santa’s helpers, but a combination of elves in the high fantasy genre and the world of Magic the Gathering. And as you can gather from the well-drawn cover, they are pretty darn hot.

The Characters
This story is set around three characters: Kelnaht, a sky elf and Truth Seeker; Taruif, a shunned Forester; and Ianys, a blacksmith and Kelnaht’s former lover. All three are intricately drawn characters and bring their own peculiarities into the mix, but it’s Kelnaht we come to know best as the story is set from his point of view. He’s a Truth Seeker and investigates the murder of Cyine. For an elf he comes across as a bit jaded, but as we read on, he has a reason to. In fact, he is a very sweet elf.

Taruif is the Forester, a shunned elf. He is not allowed to talk to anyone as no one is allowed to talk to him except the Guide. Taruif is shunned for a crime he committed in the past. Of all three characters, he is the one we know least about. He gets the least page time, though he is talked about by others or on Kel’s mind. This is too bad, because Taruif is a mysterious, but very interesting character and I would have liked to see more of him.

Ianys is Kel’s ex-lover and they parted on bad terms, though there are still a lot of feelings between the two. As the story is told from Kel’s point of view, the reader will have an instant dislike for Ianys until more layers are added the story. Ianys is both passionate and impulsive, which contradicts nicely with Kel’s introvert nature and Taruif’s confident, quiet character.

The Story
The Forester is a short story, but for such a short story it tells quite the tale and is very well written and edited to boot. There is a definite focus on Kelnaht and the mystery surrounding Cyine´s death. The romance between the three is woven in between that mystery, and comes secondary. Personally, I would have liked to see the story extended and focused more on the romance as well as the mystery (come on, I love hot elves getting it on!). However, the plot is well done. The mystery is believable and nicely handled. I loved how the investigative techniques involve magic, but also CSI-techniques. The romance itself is sweet. There isn’t a whole lot of elf man-sex, but what there is, it good enough to melt your screen. Still, I wanted to see more of it.

More elves?
This story being so short is perhaps my only niggle about this book. As said, I’d hoped to see a more expanded story that focused a bit more on the relationship between the three. For me, what was given, was only enough to wet my appetite (and I’m ferocious.) When The Forester ends – with a believable HFN ending – you’re not sure where things will lead. The reader is left with questions about whether or not Kel, Taruif and Ianys will make it happen, with questions concerning the Forester and his past and future and of course Kelnaht himself. I can’t give away too much here, without spoiling the story. While I’m happy that this is not a storybook ending, I very much felt a part of the story was missing.

However, that could also just be me. Not everyone likes to constantly read nicely wrapped up, worked out books. Some readers actually like to be left with questions concerning what will happen next, so for those readers The Forester is the perfect book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lis’ Review: Witch Hunt by Nick Chivers

Nick Chivers
Witch Hunt
Dreamspinner Press, October 31, 2011

Links: Author’s Facebook | Goodreads | Buy book here

Mike thought he could escape his past. He renounced his crown as High Mage of The Council, had the Bands of Binding placed on him, and tried to start over as a normal human.
It didn’t work. And now a part of that past wants him dead, and Mike is running for his life.
With his best friend, Andrew, and Andrew’s soulbound partner along for the ride, Mike can’t help but feel lonely until he meets Rick, an all-around gorgeous man who might just be the wrong guy—again—especially since Mike can’t shake an ex-lover who’s hoping for a second chance. It’s a lot to deal with as demonic forces pursue him from Mongolia to Brazil, but Mike has to make it to the safety of The Council if he doesn’t want to be the prize trophy at the end of this witch hunt.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Evil, Past, Betrayal, Mystery

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Every once in a while you come across a book you really really want to like, but the execution is just done so poorly, that you just can't. Witch Hunt by Nick Chivers is such a book. It's not easy to review a book when you can clearly see how much effort has been put into writing it and I'm not a person to needless degrade a book just because I don't like it. So I divided this review into pro and con sections. Just like a little demon and angel whispering into my ear.

What worked for me:
The storyline. Just because the romance - the couple only meets up briefly a few times - and hot sex *snif* are absent doesn't make a book bad. No, a book doesn't always need to have Hot Man Smexin' to be good. No matter how much I like reading about two hot men getting it on. The storyline for Witch Hunt is clearly thought through and interesting. It shows that you can't always hide from your past. I found that the backblurb was a little lacking in what this story is about. From reading it, you get the idea that this is primarily a romance. It isn't. There is more focus on the action and mystery and characters in this story than on the romance. So the blurb is a bit misleading.

The characters are all likable, if not a bit weird and possess a range of kick-ass powers. I liked that this story focuses on witches. Did I mention I like witches?

What didn't work for me:
The execution of this story. The writing in Witch Hunt is amateurish at best. It is very basic. Something you expect from an author who's just starting. There are too many uses of adjectives and words that amplify the noun. After a while of reading that it gets old, really fast. This book is a case where the writing actually gets the story and the characters down. This kind of writing would have worked better if it was a comedy.

While the characters are interesting, I sometimes wondered if they had some kind of disorder. For such old characters (most of them anyway) they sometimes act more immature than my 13-year old cousins. From reading this story, I didn't get the impression this was intentional.

Overall conclusion:
Witch Hunt is not necessarily a bad story, the author probably just needs a little more practice writing and the use of a really good editor or beta reader, and there is no shame in that. While this story had potential, it didn't work out for me. Nevertheless, it might just be the story for you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lis’ Review: Duty Bound by Lynn Lorenz

Lynn Lorenz
Duty Bound
Amber Allure, November 13, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

In deep space, testosterone levels rise with deadly consequences, but the rewards far outweigh the risks. In order to keep the crews from going insane, the ship’s counselor must meet each crewman’s sexual needs, no matter what.
When Jax Jupiter finds himself without a job, he takes the only one for which he’s qualified: ship’s counselor. But the last time he worked a deep-space flight, he’d almost been killed by a crazed spacer. Taking this job is against all his better judgment, but he’s trapped. He just hopes he isn’t making a deadly mistake.
Logan Forge has been the captain of the Vieux Carre for nearly five years, and each year it gets harder to keep control. As captain, he’s allowed normal hormone levels, but he must, like the other crewmembers, use the counselor to maintain his levels. But Logan has a secret—he didn’t use the counselor on the last flight and he doesn’t plan on it this time either.
Until Logan meets Jax and all his resolve is shattered. The more he watches Jax and the crewmembers, the more Logan wants Jax. But Jax has learned Logan’s secret, and if Jax tells the Corp it’s the end of Logan’s career.
And just like the last time, someone wants Jax dead.
And Logan is the prime suspect.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Sci-Fi, Space, Spaceship, Porn, Toys, Cross-Dressing, Voyeurism

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Lyn Lorenz’s book Duty Bound is a story where the sci-fi theme is used to create unusual sexual situations in space. It reminded me a bit of Evangeline Anderson’s Broken Boundaries in which the characters have to have sex to fly a ship. As many of you know, I’m not much into the very darker side of romance (only if it’s written very well) and don’t really like books that are created for the sake of writing rape/whore fantasies. So when I first got the request for this book, I thought: nope. No way. However, I’ve always liked books by this author and this author knows how to write. So I got curious and requested it. While it didn’t rock my world, it wasn’t a bad story either.

So then, what is it about?
Duty Bound is set in space where Jax Jupiter is just fired from his job as lab assistant due to budget cuts. He finds himself out of a job and out of money when he’s offered the position of ship’s councilor. Now, a counselor is not what you think it means.

In this world deep space crews are affected by deep space sickness. It more or less causes their hormones to flare and behavior to become erratic. Woman can’t man ships, because they are affected by the radiation levels, that is if they ever want to have kids. So after trial and error ships were manned by all gay crews and the position of councilor was created to keep the crew sane by letting off steam in the form of sex. So yes, the ship’s councilor is basically an escort who serves the entire crew and monitors their behavior. I wouldn’t exactly say they are whores, because there is more to it than just the act of sex and councilors are extensively trained (curious to see how that works), but they aren’t what you’d expect from councilors.

In any case, Jax is offered a lot of money to do this and he finds that he has no other choice than to take the job. Once aboard the ship he meets the crew and their captain and there is an immediate attraction between Jax and Captain Logan Forge.

There isn’t much else to this plot. There is no elaborate mystery. No adventure. No real conflict. In this it’s a character driven story as it focusses only on Jax and Logan and the crew through Jax’s councilor sessions. In this I was a bit disappointed. There is no real climax (pun intended) to this story and it ends when I think it should be just starting. As I have no idea if this book is going to have a sequel, I was a bit let down.

The Characters
Both Jax and Logan are very much different from each other. Jax is more or less surviving by any means necessary. He doesn’t like his job, but he doesn’t hate it either. What he really wants is to belong to someone, to feel desire for a special someone, but he feels that his job has killed that.

Jax also has had a very bad experience the last time he was a councilor on a ship and this has left his mark on him in the form of panic attacks.

Logan is the stern, tough as nails captain of the ship who very much likes his independence. He doesn’t like to give up control, not even to the ship’s councilor. He’s also sneaky and a voyeur. He doesn’t need to visit the councilor as long as there’s a camera installed.

The Smexing
As you can guess, there is a lot of smexing in this story. None of the scenes are non-con or rape. While Jax doesn’t like his job, he knows what he’s getting into. He is not exactly a victim, nor does he act like one. What niggled me though: none of his encounters with the crew are seen or experienced through his eyes, though what you see through Logan’s makes him a willing participant. So he’s not a crying, broken character, but you don’t know how he feels about the encounters either.

All the sessions are very different and some of them are really hot. What bugged me, though, was the part where there is no real scene between Jax and Logan. There is just a short one with the promise of more in the future.

The Niggles
While I did like this story, I found it a bit sloppy. There are a few inconsistencies, for instance the scene where Jax ‘prepares’ himself because he’s ‘on the clock’ then later in a meeting with the captain and the crew declares that they can only come to his office when they have an appointment and sets down some other rules. That felt a bit contradictory to me.

As mentioned earlier, this story felt incomplete. It ended when it was only really beginning. That makes that the focus is not so much on the relationship between Logan and Jax as it on the sessions Jax has and Logan’s viewing of them.

So, what to make of this story
Duty Bound is an enjoyable story, but it’s more or less porn-without- a-plot. The plot that is presented is very meager and underdeveloped. We get some background, some world building, some character development, but only enough to whet our appetite. While nice to read, I would have preferred a more developed story with fleshed out characters.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & A Couple of Christmas Reads

Can you believe that it’ll be Christmas next weekend already? I can’t. It’s too fast, I’m not ready yet, lol. How can it be that time seems to go faster every year? Well, anyway, I’m looking forward to the holidays and I’m starting to get in the mood by buying and reading Christmas stories, like these two:

A Picture Perfect Holiday
MLR Press, 2011

Photography club president Caleb loves football standout Christian Munez. He knows it's an old high school chestnut, but if being a cliche is wrong, he doesn't want to be right. They've been in school together since the fifth grade but having brothers on the same soccer team provides Caleb with a great opportunity to get to know Christian better. What he finds out - about Christian's home life and his future plans - could end his hopes forever. Or they might be the beginning of something wonderful. Caleb throws caution to the wind in A Picture Perfect Holiday.

My thoughts:
However cute and entertaining, this story felt a bit underdeveloped and was too light for my taste. Maybe it’s the short length, or the lack of connection I felt with the characters (especially Christian), or perhaps it was the missing chemistry between the heroes (there’s no sex or much of an attraction or sexual tension), I just don’t think this will be a memorable story for me. Nevertheless, it’s well-written and has ZAM’s cleverly funny trademark. And if you want a sweet YA romance with a HFN ending, this is a good, enjoyable read for the holidays. 3 stars

Patchouli for Christmas
LooseId, 2011

New York City event planner Michael Cove has a business to run and no time for a relationship. Especially when all around him he sees the pain caused by the inevitable failure of those relationships. He prefers to spend his time planning celebrations for others, seeking only the occasional fling when the need for company becomes too great.
But when a wealthy client demands that her grandson’s dark and gloomy paintings be used to decorate her Christmas party, he visits the brooding artist in his loft and discovers an unexpected attraction to the patchouli-scented modern day hippie.
Artist and do-gooder Jude Kendrick has his reasons for disliking Christmas, and prefers to withdraw alone to his loft for the holidays. Although he is in no mood for a visit from a party planner, he cannot deny the heat that flares between them the moment they meet.
They have nothing in common except the loneliness of the holidays. Can Michael lift the spirits of the moody Jude? And can Jude convince Michael to risk his heart?

My thoughts:
Although this story didn't have a particularly Christmas-like feel to it, it was still really sweet and entertaining. The cuteness of the main characters together is balanced out well by their hot and steamy activities in bed (or on the yoga floor!). I really enjoyed their encounters, which were told in an easy, pleasant style. Their romance is a bit of an insta-love one, especially from Jude's side, but I didn't mind too much as this is only a short novella. However, in that regard, the plot could've done with a little less threads, because it felt rather stuffed with elements that couldn't develop properly due to lack of pages, like the side story of Michael's brother's marriage problems, or Jude's dark feelings expressed in his art, or Michael and Jude's opposite views on important things in life. Regarding their different views - Jude is a do-good-er who likes yoga and is all about animal rights while Michael likes luxury and meat and wears leather or silk clothes - this couple is a good example of opposites attract. And while this story convinced me of their attraction and chemistry I'm not so sure about the durability of their feelings when it goes beyond the physical part. Sadly, the narrative didn't give me many indications that these guys are a good match on more levels than that. Therefore I'd say the ending is something in between a HFN and a HEA, which leaves room for a sequel to Michael and Jude's engaging romance, that I wouldn't mind reading. 3.5 stars

I’ve got a few more X-mas reads on my shelves and I hope to find some time to read them and maybe write something about them next week.

Happy Gay Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: More Than Anything by Shawn Lane

Shawn Lane
More Than Anything (More, #1)
Amber Allure, October 30, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

College freshman, Shayne Ralston, never expected to meet the man of his dreams on his first day of school, but star quarterback, Desmond Stratton, is a force to be reckoned with. Soon he slips past Shayne’s reluctance and romances the shy history major.
Des has a decision to make about his future. His family has been pushing him toward a professional football career for years, but Des also has dreams of being a doctor. As his feelings for Shayne grow, Des's decision becomes more important than ever. Shayne is openly gay, and Des needs to remain in the closet if he wants a football career. Staying in the closet, however, could lose him the man with whom he's fallen in love...

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, First love, College, Football, Jock vs twink, Coming Out

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

This was a cute college boy story with a coming out of the closet theme. Des is a football player, and looks like the typical straight jock while he's secretly gay. He and Shayne went to the same high school but hadn't much contact then. But we learn that Des had a secret crush on Shayne and now they meet again in college. Shayne is openly gay and afraid of being targeted by homophobic jocks, so when Des is nice to him he's suspicious. However Des is persistent and before he knows it they are kissing and having sex. The conflict in their relationship comes with Des' decision whether he comes out of the closet or not.

Although 'conflict' is perhaps a too big a word. There's not much room in this novella to explore the guys' feelings very thoroughly and to spin out their conflict much. Everything goes very quickly, from their first meeting, to their first date, to the first time sleeping together, to the 'misunderstanding', to the declarations of love and the happy ending. It all feels a bit rushed and forced.

Des and Shayne are likable enough characters but I didn't have the feeling I knew them very well. Their romance is a bit cliche too - hot jock falls for nerdish twink - without much that makes them stand out from other gay romance characters. It's a pity because this makes them rather forgettable, while I really enjoyed reading their story for the time being.

I always enjoy Ms. Lane's writing and narratives. In a vivid and clear style she tells the sweetest and hottest romance stories. However, her latest titles are more and more starting to feel like one and the same. This particular novella, unfortunately, is no exception.

Still, I keep seeking out Ms. Lane's books because her stories give me a peek into life as it could be and they have a feel-good vibe I like. Only, I'm hoping she'll write a long novel next, instead of these shorter novellas, so that we can enjoy her talent in a less rushed way, in a character driven epic with a healthy dose of angst or inner conflict. Ingredients that are already present in the novellas but in an underdeveloped manner.

Even if she sticks to the shorter stories though, I keep wanting to read them, since they're quite entertaining and a comforting way of spending a cold night cuddled up on the couch with.
So, the next book in this series, which is titled More Than Enough and is Shayne's best friend's story, is already on my e-shelf for another cold and quiet night that can use a little heartwarming sweetness.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lis’ Review: Maybe With a Chance of Certainty by John Goode

John Goode
Maybe With a Chance of Certainty (Tales from Foster High #1)
Dreamspinner Press, October 19, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Kyle has worked hard at being the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad is the baseball star at Foster High. Both boys are damaged in ways that the rest of the world can’t see. When they bond over a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks that maybe his life has taken a turn for the not-so-lonely.
He finds out quickly that the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for one of the most popular boys in school, and if being different is a sin in high school, then being gay is the biggest sin of all. Now Kyle and Brad need to come to an understanding amidst the scrutiny of their peers or their fledgling relationship will crash and burn before it ever gets off the ground.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, First love, High School, Jocks, Nerds, Life, Abuse

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

The short story Maybe With a Chance of Certainty was previously released as part of an anthology. This edition is an extended version of that story. I haven’t read it before but I liked the backblurb because as a rule I like first love stories, though not necessarily in a High School setting (all that teenage angst…).

I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It’s a character driven story that gives much insight into the main character Kyle. His thought process and how he sees the world around him – which is quite jaded, I might add. Kyle is a child of circumstance. Growing up poor, without a father and an abusive and alcoholic mother, he has no one he trusts and no one he lets in close. He keeps to himself and it isn’t until he’s approached by star jock Brad that things start to change.

Suddenly Kyle’s life is uprooted. He finds himself dealing with his sexuality, a possible first crush, bullying and coming to terms with who and what he is.
For such a short story, these themes were well explored. Some of them resolved, others not. As I said this is very much a character driven story and I found it to be more about Kyle than it was about Brad or Kyle and Brad together. The scenes between Kyle and Brad are brief and we read more about Kyle’s thoughts than the situation at hand. The only insight into Brad’s character is from Kyle’s point of view.

As a result we have a biased view of Brad. We know his home situation is not as well as his star jockey life lets everyone belief, but we never really get to see the real Brad or his motives, though it is implicitly understood that he is very much rooted in the back of the closet and that drives his actions.

What I really liked about this story is that Kyle is not one to be messed with. He may not stand up for himself all the time, but when push comes to shove, he doesn’t take shit from no one, not even Brad.
Kyle is just one of those kids you want to hug and keep safe from the world. His conversation with the principal was just so jaded that I wanted to shake the man and tell him to help Kyle. Alas, we can’t step into a story. If only.

So, to wrap it up Maybe With a Chance of Certainty is a nice start of a series with some insightful and realistic views on High School and life. This is not a sweet, romantic story, but neither is it dark or depressing. It’s just very real and a nice change of pace to read.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Release Day & Winner of Take Me Home by Sloan Parker

First I’d like to congratulate Sloan Parker with today’s release of Take Me Home at LooseId! Happy release day, Sloan!

And there’s more to congratulate her with, because her previous novel Breathe is last week announced as the winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Novel, Best Gay Contemporary Romance, Best Plot Development, and Best Characters Development.
Amazing isn’t it?
And if you’ve read my review of Breathe (if not you can find it here), you know I think this novel totally deserved those awards. :)

Last week Sloan’s been so generous to offer a copy of her newest novel to one of my readers, when she was my guest. If you’ve missed her fabulous post, you can read it here.

So, now I’ve *finally* come to announcing the winner of Take Me Home, picked by…

*drum roll*


Congratulations bookgeek!!
I’ll email you today to notify you and confirm your email address.

I also like to thank the rest of the commenters who didn’t win, for playing. I hope you’ll get your chance to read Take Me Home soon as well.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Review in Questions: My Big Fat SX-File Wedding by Mimi Riser

Mimi Riser
My Big Fat SX-File Wedding
Amber Allure, November 13, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

The prequel to Amber Allure best-selling Sylver & Steele series...

A cross-dressing werewolf and a billionaire cat-shifter. How the heck did such a mismatched pair ever get together in the first place? If you’ve been pondering that question, here’s the answer at last, in naughty and naked detail—the complete, behind-the-scenes story of how werewolf Sylver Starr met and married cat-shifter Hunter Steele! Before the wedding, however, they’ll have to save the world from impending doom. As usual.

If you haven’t yet read a Sylver & Steele story, this is a great one to start with. And if you have been following our heroes’ adventures, you definitely don’t want to miss My Big Fat SX-File Wedding!

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Humor, Sci-Fi, Shifters, Cross-Dressing, Aliens, Cowboys, Science

Reviewed by SharonS. and Lis:

Sharon’s overall impression:

If I had to pick one word to describe this story it would be absurd *g*. It was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop watching. You have to read this story with the purpose of just sitting back and enjoying the ride and not try and make sense of it. Be sure to hold on because it moves at break neck speed. With all the silliness that happens with golems, flying saucers, petticoats and virgin m/m sex, there is also a sweet and cheesy love story. If you are looking for a meaningful and thought provoking read, you might want to skip this one, but if you are looking for something off the charts different and nothing but pure entertainment then this is worth checking out.

Sharon’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3

Lis’ overall impression:

Well woooohweeeee. This was some book. When I first started, I had no idea what to expect, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Sylver is one heck of a likable character. So much so I wanted to wrap him up and keep him! Hunter just made me laugh. This story was so much fun to read, it’s very hard not to read it a second and a third time! This short story gives you a nice introduction to Sylver and Hunter and how they first meet and got together, complete with hot scorching smexing. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll love it!

Lis’ Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3

Reviewed in questions:

Both Sylver and Hunter are very different characters. In fact they are almost polar opposites. But opposites attract, right? What did you think of Sylver and Hunter's characters?

Lis: Yes, the characters of Hunter and Sylver are typical opposites attract. They couldn't be more different. Apart from being a werecat and werewolf respectively, their personalities are also on the opposite sides of the board.
Sylver is flamboyant, confident if not a little naive and sweet. He's straightforward and doesn't hide what he wants. He's also very sweet. He constantly thinks of others and tries to keep the peace (as much as possible) even with his redneck cousin.
Hunter, on the other hand, is conservative, but also a playboy, idealistic, a snob, egotistical and very smart, but also someone who tries to play a role and fit into the picture people expect of him and the persona he put forth.
Like Sylver he is also very sweet, but in need of a little nudge. When the two meet Hunter is very much in the closet, conforming to the picture everyone expects of him and there's no place for a male mate in there. However, once Sylver drags him out, a sweet nature emerges.

The story is rather short, but there is a lot of inner monologue from Sylver's side. What did you think of that and how it is integrated into the story?

Sharon: I enjoy first person POV stories. I liked being inside of Sylver’s head. It was a crazy ADD place and had me laughing. I liked the constant, frantic and rapid firing off of his thoughts. The way the story is told gives us insight into the personality of Sylver and how absurd his life can be.

This a prequel to the series. Not having read the other three stories, do you think this is a good basis for the rest of the series?

Sharon: If this story is any indication of the rest of the series I would love to read it for the entertainment value, but it kind of ‘scares’ me too. While the constant inner dialog of Sylver is entertaining in novella form, I don’t know if I could take a whole novel at this pace! I think reading from Sylver’s POV could get old quick, maybe even headache inducing *g*. If the series is a little less hectic and the pace is slowed down, I think it would be a fun read. I would love to learn more about Hunter’s feelings. We didn’t really get a good sense of him since this was from Sylver’s POV.

When Sylver finds out Hunter is his mate, Hunter is less than pleased. What did you think of how Sylver handled the situation?

Lis: I think he handled it very admirably. Granted this is a comedy of sorts, so there is no room for angst. Fortunately for us, Sylver is a very positive and confident person and his ramblings, plus his actions aboard the UFO help convince Hunter otherwise.
I thought his mental ramblings with Hunter were very funny and sweet!
I did imagine that Hunter was a little put off by Sylver at first. The story is seen from Sylver's point of view, as Sharon already said, so we don't really get Hunter's thoughts, but I can imagine he was a little more than surprised when he first meets Sylver. Here you are, deep in the closet and somewhat confident about who you are and along steps a cross-dressing werewolf who literally jumps you and turns your world upside down.

Sharon: I think Sylver handled it the way he handles everything in his life. He wants it, he goes after it. He seems to have an optimistic approach to things and feels things will work out in the end. He did know when to back off a little so he wouldn’t cause Hunter to run screaming…then again he would just chase him down and tackle him *g*.

What did you find the funniest & most quotable part of this story?

Lis: This is not a very long story, but it's filled with funny lines, scenes, monologues and the setting is also very good. Most of Sylver's ramblings had me laughing out loud. In fact, I was so engrossed in this story that I forgot to get off the train at the right stop.
However, there was one scene that was so funny it had me laughing out loud:
When Sylver finds out Hunter is a cat shifter he thinks:
“Cat? Oh yeah. I sensed it as strongly as I sensed the pull between us. For a minute, I didn’t know whether to kiss him or chase him up a tree.”
Of course, this is much more fun when you read the rest of the story!

Is there something about this story you don’t like?

Sharon: Like I mentioned above, if this had been a novel, I think the pace of the story and Sylver's POV would start to wear on me once the novelty wore off no matter how likable the character is.

Lis: There isn´t much not to like about this story. The only fault I can possibly think of, is that it´s too short!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giveaway & Guest post by Sloan Parker: Location, location, location

Today the wonderful and award-winning author Sloan Parker is my guest. She’s talking about her upcoming release, Take Me Home, a m/m romance about two best friends taking a train trip home and getting trapped in the mountains by a blizzard. Sloan is sharing about the choice of a train as the location for this novel. And not only that, at the end of her guest post she’s generously giving away an ecopy of Take Me Home to one lucky commenter. So, let’s give her the stage. :)

Location, location, location
by Sloan Parker

Huge thanks to Janna for inviting me to share on the blog today.

When she suggested I talk about the setting of the train in my upcoming release, Take Me Home, I must admit, I got a bit nervous. The choice of setting for this story was not a carefully planned out decision. I can’t offer much on how and why I thought that choice would be a good one, at least not when I started out. As I outlined the details of this story and the characters, I got more and more excited about the very mobile location of a train, and the positives and negatives of such a choice became clearer. In the end, I thought it worked out better than I dared to imagine when I’d started.

The day I got the idea to write Take Me Home I was taking a shower (which is how almost all my ideas start), and the kernel of a new story popped into my head. By the time I stepped out of the shower, I knew a few things: the main characters were best friends on a train heading to their childhood home for the holidays, their names were Kyle and Evan, one knew he’d always been in love with the other, while the other was in complete denial, and an old journal from the 1950s or 60s would play a key role in the plot.

Still wrapped in a towel, I grabbed a piece of paper, sat on the edge of the bathtub, and started writing. By the time I put down the pen, my hair was almost dry (and was looking rather ridiculous since I hadn’t bothered with a brush) and I had 10 pages of notes, all about what would happen on that passenger train. The story, the setting, and these characters were really working for me.


Crap, I wanted this to be an erotic romance, and the erotic parts were essential to each man’s character arc, so that meant they needed some serious time alone, not just at the beginning and the end, but throughout. This was not going to be the kind of story (or the kind of train trip) where they would be engaging in a public sex show bent over a table in the train’s dining car.

That led me to my next set of decisions: They would be traveling over 2000 miles. Which meant they could get a private sleeping compartment. Yes! The erotic scenes were back in play.
When I had the rough draft completed, it turned out more than half the book took place during that train trip. The setting of such close quarters and the fact they had all that time to spend together offered both opportunities and challenges.

How could I use the setting to compound what each man was feeling? Did I want them sitting in one room for most of the story? How could I get them moving around so it wasn’t a bunch of dialogue scenes strung together? How could I work in both intimacy and advance the plot from the confines of the train?

These kinds of deliberations (whether conscious or unconscious) are true of most decisions an author makes about a story: the setting, the time, the characters’ backstories, their professions, their families, etc. All of those specifics can help an author craft the tone and feel of the story he or she wishes to tell.

How such details are interpreted by the reader will vary, of course, as we all draw from our own experiences, likes, dislikes, and more when we read. That doesn’t mean just any old description can be thrown in, though. They need to be important and meaningful.

So how can the setting details help to shape the story and characters?

To give some examples of this, here are a few of the ways the setting in Take Me Home affected my writing, the story, and the characters.
  • Don’t forget the romance
    Sometimes when outlining a story, I have an issue with creating too much distance between my characters, focusing on the plot as it relates to each man individually more than the emotional and physical interactions necessary in an erotic romance. Which is funny, because the emotional sex scenes are the ones I enjoy writing the most.

    The confined space of the train provided plenty of opportunities for the characters to interact. The setting forced me to keep their romantic relationship as the focus while planning out the story. When I started working on the scenes, I began by considering the characters’ relationship first, then the plot.
  • Setting to enhance the character’s mood
    Utilizing a mobile, temporary setting created a sense of being “in limbo” which was very central to Evan’s journey. Throughout the story, he never says the word “home,” even when talking about the places he has lived, he is living, or the old home they are returning to, until a specific scene near the end of the book. That’s because he doesn’t have a home, doesn’t know where his home is. Or perhaps a better way to say that is he doesn’t know if he can fully embrace the home he wants.
  • Specifics create a connection
    I can’t recall where I’ve read this writing advice before, but it goes something like this…the more specific the details of both time and place, the more universal the story for readers. Romance is fantasy. Most of us who read it like to escape into a love story, to really connect with the characters and get enough details to feel their emotions along with them. Utilizing specifics about the place, the time, and even the weather helped me showcase the emotional moments for Kyle and Evan. As an example, at one point Evan describes the snow-covered ground outside the train’s windows as something rushing by him, rather than the other way around, and he relates that to his own broken life and how it was nothing like he imagined it would be.
At first I feared a train might not be the best choice for an erotic love story, but when I was done writing Take Me Home, I knew it was the perfect choice for this erotic romance.

Some of my favorite m/m romances have powerfully utilized a setting to draw the reader deeper into the story and the characters’ emotions. The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks, Ransom, Brethren: Raised By Wolves, Keeping Promise Rock, and GhosTV just to name a few.

What are some of your favorite settings in a romance?



Sloan Parker is generously offering a copy of her upcoming release Take Me Home to one lucky commenter. To enter leave a comment telling you’d like to enter and answer Sloan’s question about your favorite settings in a romance.

The giveaway is international, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 13, the release date of Take Me Home. So be sure to leave your comment before then and don’t forget to check back or leave a way for us to contact you in your comment or profile.

Good luck to you all!


Author Bio

Sloan Parker has been writing and playing with fictional characters for years, but she finally found her true passion when she began telling stories about two men (or more) falling in love. Now she spends her writing life creating m/m erotic romances and romantic suspense. She loves to explore the lives of people who are growing as individuals while falling in love. Her novel MORE is the 2011 EPIC eBook Award Winner for Mystery, Suspense, and/or Adventure Erotic Romance and winner of the 2010 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. Sloan enjoys writing in the fictional world because in fiction you can be anything, do anything...even fall in love for the first time over and over again.

Blurb for Take Me Home
Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.
Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done.
The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather.
When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.

Other Details
Length: Novel, 90,862 words | Genre: Gay Contemporary Erotic Romance (m/m) | Publisher: Loose Id | Format: e-book | ISBN: 978-1-61118-687-1 | Release Date: December 13, 2011

Sloan Parker’s website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Behind the stories: a preview in pictures of Take Me Home | Buy Take Me Home here


New Winner for Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington

Since the original winner of the Amor Prohibido Giveaway never got back to me, I've drawn a new winner today:


Luckily, Beatrice left her email address in her comment, so I will be contacting her and hopefully she will get back to me.

Congrats Beatrice!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: Murder at Black Dog Springs by Sarah Black

Sarah Black
Murder at Black Dog Springs
Revised Kindle edition, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Twitter | Goodreads | Buy ebook here

Code Talker Logan Kee returns to Lukachukai Mountain in 1947, hoping to forget the horrors of war in the Pacific. But there is talk of uranium mining in Dinetah. When one of the mining executives is found shot to death on his land, Logan and his lover, Mike, a former Seabee, have to find the killer before the wrong man is accused of murder.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Navajo, War, Murder, Mystery, Friendship, 1947, Exploitation, Nature, Mining

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3

Somehow Sarah Black’s writing style always has a pull on me, draws me in like a mot to a flame. And I can't put my finger on how she does that, it's not the writing itself alone. It's a combination with her layered characters and the fascinating setting that are slowly unfolding themselves the further you are drawn into the narrating. But the minute I open the book I know I won't be able to put it down easily. And when I absolutely have to, because of trivial stuff like sleep or food, the story stays with me and has the tendency to distract me from what I'm doing because I can't completely leave the world it unravels.

In the case of Murder at Black Dog Springs this world is the world of a Navajo reservoir, to which Logan returns after the war and where he seeks out a secluded spot up against the mountain - away from his wife and her family. Soon after his return Mike joins him there and helps him build his own house. The main characters don't stay secluded very long. The author makes sure they are surrounded by a bigger cast, of friends and family who are sometimes on their side and sometimes not. This creates an interesting dynamic within the community and forms a good base for the development of Mike and Logan's relationship.

Considering this story takes place in 1947 their relationship is quite easily accepted by their close friends and relatives. It's never a big issue that the men are gay, which is maybe slightly odd. But I guess Ms. Black had more important topics to address. For instance, the deep camaraderie between men who’ve fought in a war together, the injustice of social exploitation of native Americans by big companies for the sake of higher profits, and the beauty of poetry and literary classics which can bring inner peace as well is excitement, like the next quote shows:
"I’d watched the color deepen in Mike’s face when I read Walt Whitman, felt a small flame of heat deep in my belly. I’d read to Mike again tonight, when we were alone, watch how his body responded to those words, to my voice."
I already enjoyed Ms. Black's referrals to literary fiction in one of her other books (Idaho Battlegrounds that I reviewed here) and it seems as if this is a recurring aspect in her work.

Another element I rather liked in this novel was the suspense arc. There has been a murder, as the title already suggests. And although the whodunit mystery isn't particularly thrilling, it 's a well-built and clever frame for the love story and the social topics that are addressed.

When you’re looking for hot, steamy m/m erotica, Sarah Black’s stories are not for you. When you want raw romances embedded in a narrative that offers much more than a string of romantic moments (like suspense, views on socially relevant topics and a sense of the deeper values in life), you’ll probably find what you’re looking for in Black’s work.
More so, instead of steamy, explicit sex scenes we get sensual, romantic and beautiful descriptions like this one from Murder at Black Dog Springs:
"I woke early. Mike was wrapped around me, and his sleeping skin smelled like pears. I’d eaten a ripe pear for the first time in California, before we shipped out with the Second Marines. I still remembered the shock of the taste, sweet and buttery, such a strange yellow flavor, juice dripping down my chin."

Overall, this revised version of Murder at Black Dog Springs, which has been published before in a Partners in Crime installment, had my full attention from the first to the last page. It's entertaining and thought-provoking while the characters have won my heart and made me want to join them there on that Lukachukai Mountain in their poetic and unusual world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Double review: Surrender by K. Piet

K. Piet
Storm Moon Press, April 1, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Twitter | Buy book here

For over 250 years, the use of the tarot for divination has been a mainstay of mystical and occult practices. The themes and forces represented by the cards are said to govern our lives and our destinies. Whether you believe that or not, the story of the cards is nevertheless the story of our lives -- the accomplishments and the pitfalls, the path from soaring joy to crushing defeat and back again.

Aaron is a dominant soul stuck in an ivory Tower. His inexperience with the submissive side of the Scene prompts a fellow top named Travis to offer Aaron a chance to see what he's been missing. When Aaron agrees, the experience threatens to knock down Aaron's entire house of cards. And he's not entirely sure he minds.

(This short story was originally published in the "Cast the Cards" anthology.)

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, BDSM, Club, Switch, HFN-ending, D/s, Spanking, Mild bondage

Sharon’s thoughts:

This was a short story about 15 pages long. It is told in the first person POV of Aaron, an executive assistant who likes control of his environment. He is also a Dom and has never entertained the idea of playing the sub. After accepting an invitation to a new fetish club he witnesses a scene played out by a Dom named Travis. He is unnerved by the fantasies he has of being on the receiving end of Travis’ games. The two start talking Dom to Dom and Travis ends up convincing Aaron to try being a sub with him, just so he can know what it feels like, therefore making him a better Dom.

The story is about Aaron realizing there is a part of him that needs to surrender every once in a while to let him truly relax. This isn’t a romance. There’s some spanking, mutual blow jobs and some teasing over the situation and both characters are likable. I was a little bothered that the author felt the need to keep pointing out examples of Aaron being in control of his surroundings, because that is what he does, as if we would forget. And spitting into the corner of the sheets, no matter how ‘discretely’ just isn’t sexy *g*. Kind of took me out of the moment.

I feel short stories belong in anthologies. I just can’t justify paying for an individual short. Surrender was originally published in the "Cast the Cards" anthology. I would be willing to look into a collection of Piet’s short stories.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3

My thoughts:

I found this a hot and entertaining story for such a short offering. Aaron's struggle with his own perception of himself as a Dom is worked out well and made believable within the limited extent of the story. There are basically two major scenes, both situated at a BDSM club. In the first Aaron witnesses a public scene in which Travis spanks a bound submissive towards his sexual high. In the second scene Travis and Aaron actually meet and Aaron reluctantly accepts Travis' invitation to try the special spanking glove Travis used earlier, which ends in them having sex and an insightful experience. Both scenes excel in conveying the chemistry between the MC's and in evoking empathic feelings, especially for Aaron since we're seeing things from his perspective.

Although I didn't get the whole tarot cards theme that's talked about in the back blurb, I understood that Aaron and Travis' encounter was somehow a change of destination, especially for Aaron. Maybe when you read the complete "Cast the Cards" anthology this story originally was a part of, it becomes more clear, but altogether Surrender can very well be read as a standalone story, it doesn't need the added meaning or layer of the cards in my opinion.

In terms of plot development this story is, of course, not comparable to a novel and therefore not satisfying my need for character depth and relationship tension to the fullest. However, I can see a future for this couple in which their Happy For Now (HFN) ending can develop into a HEA with interesting twists and turns on their way there. The way the characters are portrayed and brought to life so easily, with an interesting potential conflict, is a good indication for the possibilities this couple offers. In that sense, it saddened me that we were only offered a short story. But whatever the reasons for its limited page-count, in its genre this is a very good example of a well written, interesting and sexy read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We have a winner!!

I have a winner to announce for Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington! But let me first thank Ellis for donating a ecopy of her book to give away! It was very generous of her and I hope to read Amor Prohibido soon myself. picked the following commenter as the winner:

*drum roll*


Congrats, Marguerite! I don’t have your email address, so I hope you’ll see this post and contact me as soon as possible at rarelydustybooks (at) gmail (dot) com to claim your prize. If I haven’t heard from you within the next 48 hours I’ll draw a new winner.

Thanks everyone for playing and be sure to check back in this week for a new giveaway! This time for Take Me Home by Sloan Parker.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & December m/m releases I don’t want to miss

Still busy and having lack of time to read, which means I'm starting to shop more than usual. It's strange how that works. The less time I have to read the more books I want to buy.... And fortunately, plenty of new titles by authors I enjoy reading are coming out this month *can you believe it's December already?*.

A few of the m/m releases I look forward to:

Release Date: December 1
Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he s...more
Release Date: December 1
Rance Crawford is an alpaca rancher, fiber mill owner, and self-proclaimed grumpy bastard. When sweet, charming tenderfoot Ben McCutcheon moves onto Crawford’s rural road, Rance is very aware that Ben...more
Release Date: December 1
As a Warden destined to protect humanity from supernatural threats, Ari knows that he has to be strong, brave and, most of of all, mentally stable. Try telling that to his brain, though. Ever since he...more
Release Date: December 1
Since he’s housesitting a gorgeous inn over the holidays, Garrett invites his single friends to help keep Christmas merry. Then the snow hits and his friends can’t make it up as planned. Alone on Chri...more
Release Date: December 5
A natural follower meets a natural leader. The only question now is who will have the biggest influence over the other?
Elijah is a natural follower, but he’s never thought too much about ...
Release Date: December 5
Release Date: December 6
Sometimes it’s good to be bad. Real good…Bad in Baltimore, Book 2
After Eli Wright came out, his parents threw him out. In the five years since, he’s made his own way, lived by his own rules, determine...more
Release Date: December 7
In Cover Me, Detective Andrew Carmichael and paramedic Nick Swain barely escaped Nick’s delusional stalker with their lives.Now, months later, the physical scars haven’t quite healed, and neither have...more
Release Date: December 10
Holiday's with friends and family are never dull and Boone's first Christmas in Summit City is no exception to that Yuletide rule.
You are cordially invited to join Boone and Wade for a Ch...
Release Date: December 13
Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire w...more
Release Date: December 13
No one survives unchanged. Mother Earth, Book 3When the Carwin Tribe Pack lost Rabbit, a little bit of Lynx died along with his Brother. Their feelings went far beyond the Pack bond. The ensuing years...more
Release Date: December 14
Lane would do most anything to make his live-in love Gavin happy, but this is taking things too far. Just because Gavin can’t find someone to play Santa at his office building, doesn’t mean it’s Lane’...more
Release Date: December 21
Ryan’s entire life changed the night Scott surprised him in a bathroom at a party. Now Ryan’s soulless climb up the corporate ladder has stalled—but his quality life has become a whirlwind of laughte...more
Release Date: December 27
True love has no brakes. Running Under Caution, Book 1
Denny Clay never had much going for him, until the racing circuit took him out of the trailer park and away from his bigoted family. Luck smiled o...more
Release Date: December 29

Happy Gay Friday!
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