Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Gay Friday (almost Saturday)

I have to hurry to make it before midnight with this post (it's past 11 pm here in the Netherlands). I've been totally engrossed in html, widgets, plugins, themes and other design stuff for my Dutch website. I'm adding a Wordpress blog to the static main site and it's challenging to say it mildly. :) But it's fun too.
Anyway, that's why I almost forgot to browse my Happy Gay folder for today's picture post. *gasp*

On a more book-ish note, I've been reading some good stories this week. Among them was ML Rhodes Music of the Night, which I completely enjoyed.

Lis has reviewed the book a while ago. Here's a link to her review, which pretty much says it all. She gave it 5 stars, I would give it 4.5 stars because it was nearly perfect, if it only would've been more than a HFN ending. Agreed it was a very solid HFN, but it would've been even better if we'd gotten more than just the 24 hours of hot, sexy, physical and emotional connection. I'm hoping for a sequel in which we get more of Sam and Jared's amazing chemistry and a view into their everyday life together, because I'm curious how they will handle with the reality of their very different lives and demanding jobs, once they leave Venice.
I can definitely recommend this book, and other books by this author. She writes great characters that can make an emotional impact.

Anyway, back to my html cave now I still can. The rest of the weekend will be consumed by three birthdays, a house guest and the festivities of Queens Day! All fun things, but they don't leave me much time for tweaking that website. Hope you all have a fun weekend too!

Happy Gay Friday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Barging In by Josephine Myles

Josephine Myles
Barging In
Samhain Publishing, September 20, 2011

Author´s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

When the boat's a rockin', don't come knockin'!

Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor can't steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn't stop him from accepting an assignment to write up a narrowboat holiday. Instead of a change of pace from city life, though, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed, pierced man whose rugged, penniless appearance is at odds with a posh accent.
Still smarting from past betrayal, Robin Hamilton’s “closet” is his narrowboat, his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. Yet he can’t seem to stop himself from rescuing the hopelessly out-of-place city boy from one scrape after another. Until he finds himself giving in to reluctant attraction, even considering a brief, harmless fling.
After all, in less than a week, Dan’s going back to his London diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.
Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves drawn deep into an undertow of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters neither of them expected…or wanted.

Product Warning: Contains one lovable tart, one posh boy gone feral, rough sex, alfresco sex, vile strawberry-flavoured condoms, intimate body piercings, red thermal long-johns, erotic woodchopping, an errant cat, a few colourful characters you wouldn't touch with a bargepole, and plenty of messing about on the river.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Opposites attract, Narrowboat community, Journalist/Artist, . Lifestyle clash, Angst

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3

The heroes of Barging In, Robin and Dan, have very different lifestyles and make a classic case of opposites attract. One lives on a narrowboat, the other in London; one lives a secluded life in the closet, the other is an out and proud city-boy; one has sworn off sex, the other is a slut; one is covered in body piercings and tattoos, the other is not.
When they first meet they clash hard in more than one way, namely also quite literally when Dan runs into Robin’s boat with his, because he doesn’t have a clue how to handle the boat. He’s on it because he’s writing an article about a narrowboat holiday. The sight of Robin’s hot, bare and tattooed torso distracts him to the level he loses control over his boat altogether. Robin’s reaction is not as pleasant as his sight though. He’s quite surly and wants to be left alone. Yet the men keep encountering each other in this small community Dan is writing about, and gradually their mutual attraction grows until they give in to their physical needs and end up having hot, debauching sex. In the bedroom they match perfectly, and they steam up the sheets more than once, all in the knowledge that it will only be for one week the most. After all, after that one week Dan will return to his city life and his one-night-stands and Robin can continue being alone and surly on his boat.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Joint Review: Fish & Chips by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Fish & Chips (Cut & Run, #3)
Dreamspinner Press, December 6, 2010

Authors’ website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they're assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring-an out-and-proud married couple-on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they'd rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is. Portraying the wealthy criminals requires a particular change in attitude from Ty and Zane while dealing with the frustrating waiting game of their assignment. As it begins to affect how they treat each other in private, Ty and Zane realize there's more to being partners than watching each other's backs, and when the case takes an unexpected turn and threatens Ty's life, Ty and Zane will have to navigate seas of white lies and stormy secrets, including some of their own.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Agents, FBI, Action, Cruise, Uncercover as Married Couple

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

Janna’s Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3

Discussed by SharonS. and Janna:

What is it about this series that appeals to you?

I think it’s the mix of action, hot alpha heroes and suspense that’s so appealing to me. Ty and Zane, the two male leads, are such complex characters as well. They are growing on me more and more with each book. I just love their raw, physical magnetism and their fierce attraction to each other. But now that their relationship starts to develop into something more emotional too, it’s getting even better.

I think you said it best with “raw, physical magnetism”. With the first book I was drawn in by the throwing together of two alpha males and watching the fireworks both emotionally and physically. Both men have spent their whole lives living up to someone else’s expectations. M/M stories bring out vulnerability in alpha characters like nothing else. With each book we get to experience all the facets of the relationship as it slowly builds. These characters are pure genius.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & The Burden of Social Media?

Look what Sharon found on Facebook! It’s beautiful isn’t it? Unfortunately I don’t know who the artist is, otherwise I would’ve credited them [edit: thanks to Cole I know now that it's Michael Breyette! Check out his site here, it's amazing]. Sharon found it on a gay FB page called Pictures of Men and she told me they have about 12,000 pics in the album. I secretly think she’s on a mission to get me to join Facebook, lol! I’m certainly tempted now! ;D

But so far I’ve managed to stay away from it. It seems so time-consuming, much more so than Tumblr or Pinterest (I just received my Pinterest invite and I’m still on the fence if I really want to join). What do you think, am I missing out by not being on FB? Or am I not the only one without a FB account? And have you joined Pinterest yet? Apparently it’s the newest hottest thing among the social media… How much more can I take, *g*.

But seriously, I think it’s pretty hard keeping up with all the social media options out there. Sometimes I get nostalgic and think about… (beware, now I’m going to sound really old) …the days we still communicated with a phone with a cord (which was situated at a central place in the house, because we had just one phone for us all) and we only phoned with people we already knew and had met before. There’s a generation growing up right now who doesn’t even know about the existence of non-cordless phones, or how they didn’t have buttons but a finger wheel. I wonder what these kids will get nostalgic about 20 years from now (“Remember when we had only like 10 different sorts of social media and that we had to use those weird apps on those ridiculous slow/big/silly phones to communicate with each other”).

Ah well, before you all think I’m ancient, I better end this post. But not without wondering for a little while longer if blogging will still exist 20 years from now. ;)

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Series Spotlighted: Bad in Baltimore by K.A. Mitchell

Last week I’ve been reading the Bad in Baltimore books by K.A. Mitchell. I started with Bad Company, the first book in the series. It’s about Nate and Kellan, childhood friends who have fallen out years ago. Now, straight Kellan comes back in Nate’s life because he needs a gay boyfriend to get back at his rich daddy. The second book, Bad Boyfriend features their friend Eli, a young, eyeliner wearing and proud gay guy who meets the much older Quinn in a bar and agrees to come along with him to a family baptism to get a ‘gay’ message across to the family of Quinn’s ‘straight’ ex-boyfriend.

The premises of both books sounded good to me and I’m always happy to dive into a series, especially when I’ve heard many good things about the author. The thing is, I hadn’t paid much attention to the reviews of these specific books but I remembered seeing Bad Boyfriend on some Favorite Reads of 2011 lists. So, I admit that it took me by surprise that I didn’t enjoy the first book very much. It probably took me four times longer to finish it than the second book, while they are of comparable lengths. Every time I put the book down I didn’t feel the urge to pick it up again.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lis’ Review: City of Foxes by Cornelia Grey

Cornelia Grey
City of Foxes
Storm Moon Press, December 2, 2011

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Originally released in "Wild Passions" Anthology

The last thing Jake Sullivan wanted to do upon returning to the city was get involved in the ongoing struggle between the organized militia and the fox people. After saving a fox child from bullies, however, he finds himself in the heart of the foxes' slums, where showing his face as a human can be just as dangerous as messing with the militia in the city proper. The proximity of Liam, a white fox with healing powers, certainly doesn't make things any easier. The attractive fox throws his own powers into an uncontrollable overdrive, not to mention his libido.

When several of the fox people are captured by the militia, Jake's presence is like salt on old wounds. Prejudices and politics flare, and Jake's secrets threaten to ruin his shaky alliance. If they are to save the foxes taken by the militia for experimentation, it will take all the cunning and power the clan can muster. Unfortunately, that also means they'll have to put their trust the one place they'd never imagined: in the hands of a human.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Fantasy, Anthropomorphism, Prejudice, Alternate Reality, Secrets, Betrayal

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

Reviewed by Lis:

City of Foxes is a short story that is part of the anthology Wild Passions, which focuses on not quite human characters (anthropomorphism) in a not quite contemporary world.

When I first got the request for City of Foxes my thoughts were: Hmmm not quite human characters and by that I don’t mean vampires or shapeshifters but humans with animal qualities. I wasn’t quite sure if I could be serious about a character swishing a tail! Luckily for me, I needn’t have worried. City of Foxes was a well done and well worked out short story that conveys a lot in the limited amount of pages it counts.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Gay Friday the 13th

It’s my favorite day of the week again: Friday! And a special one too, since it’s the 13th. Heh. I’m not superstitious at all or else I would stay in bed all day instead of going out with my girlfriends tonight. Actually until yesterday I wasn’t so sure if I could leave my bed, because the lower back pain had me immobilized again for a few days. But Friday the 13th must be my lucky day I guess! :)

On the other hand, staying in bed doesn’t sound too bad either considering the book I’m in the middle off at the moment.

I’d love to continue reading Take Me Home. Especially because I was in the middle of their first ‘real’ love (read: sex) scene when I was interrupted by the carpenter who showed up to finally fix the last bit of our new bookcase, the ladder. He’s done now and I’m as happy as a dog with two tails with how it turned out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Swiftly Dusted: The Ghost on My Couch by L.A. Gilbert

L.A. Gilbert
The Ghost on My Couch
Dreamspinner Press, March 23, 2011

Links: Goodreads | Buy book here

Alex Tanner is a male nurse who divides his time between his job and his television schedule. His idea of the perfect partner, like so many other people’s, is a tall, dark, and handsome man. Preferably alive and breathing. Surely that’s not asking too much? Then an uninvited guest—a ghost, of all things—forces Alex to question what he’s always looked for in a lover and his definition of what makes a person so beautiful.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Ghost, Geeky Characters, Humor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3

The Ghost on My Couch is such a fun and sweet story. I’ve read it a while ago and it still makes me smile when I think about the main characters and their endearing romance again. It’s an über romantic love story between a guy and a ghost who appears at the guy’s apartment one day. From the first descriptions of both characters I was enamored of them. Sid, the ghost, is big, shy and a bit geeky with his bunny slippers and Ghostbusters t-shirt. Alex is a dedicated nurse who likes to watch Grey’s Anatomy and is, like Sid, adorable and cute without realizing it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & Dance With Me

This week’s HGF picture is from a video that Sharon sent me (thanks Sharon!). Unfortunately I can’t embed the video here but when you follow this link you can watch it at the filmmaker’s site, Bruce Weber.

I feel like I have hardly read anything this week, I only finished one book! It was a good one and a full length novel, but still, just one. O_o
It had been a while since I had read a Heidi Cullinan book so when I went through my endless list on my iPad and saw Dance With Me I clicked it open and started reading it (click here for the backblurb). It was a slow read, literally since it took me a week to finish it, but also figuratively because the author takes her time to introduce the characters to us and to show the progress Ed and Laurie make developing a relationship and learning to deal with their individual mental and physical problems. It was quite an intense read thanks to this and it was kind of hard to keep reading sometimes, because of all the pain the characters go through. Oddly enough I had some trouble connecting to both heroes until far into the story. But in the end I needed a tissue or two nonetheless.
I’m a big fan of Heidi Cullinan’s writing because of her skill to create so many psychological and emotional layers which take you deeper and deeper into her stories and characters’ lives and feelings. Her books ask for some dedicated reading time because of the impact they make.

It’s a long weekend here in the Netherlands due to Easter and hubs and I will be away for a great part of it to celebrate my father’s birthday too. I hope you all enjoy it, with or without lots of chocolate eggs. :)

Happy Gay Friday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Mere Mortals by Erastes

Mere Mortals
Lethe Press, March 23, 2011

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

Orphaned Crispin Thorne has been taken as ward by Philip Smallwood, a man he's never met, and is transplanted from his private school to Smallwood’s house on an island on the beautiful but coldly remote, Horsey Mere in Norfolk. Upon his arrival, he finds that he's not the only young man given a fresh start. Myles Graham, and Jude Middleton are there before him, and as their benefactor is away, they soon form alliances and friendships, as they speculate on why they’ve been given this new life. Who is Philip Smallwood? Why has he given them such a fabulous new life? What secrets does the house hold and what is it that the Doctor seems to know?

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Historical, England, 1847, Guardian/Ward, Secrets, Mystery/Suspense

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3

After reading the backblurb of Mere Mortals I had no clue of what to expect from this historical romance. Especially not in the romance department. Well, it actually stays unsure until far into the story who will ‘hook up’ with who. And I can tell you that it’s not the couple I was expecting at first. Now, after finishing the book, I can see why the blurb has been kept this vague. Great part of the allure of this excellent story lays in the uncertainty of the romantic and dramatic developments. Its build-up is slow but suspenseful and in my opinion brilliantly done.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April M/M Releases I look forward to

Again, like at the beginning of every month, I’m listing a few of my much anticipated M/M releases, so I won’t forget which books to buy later this month. :) And like every month there are so many great books that I want to read... if only I could buy some time along with the books to read them, if only.
Release Date: April 1
For the last year, Jay Warren has struggled to find the nerve to tell his wife he’s gay. He’s ashamed of hiding it all this time and he doesn’t want to hurt her, so every time he gets the chance to te...more
Release Date: April 4
When Greg Aubuchon brings home an inebriated man one night, he’s merely playing Good Samaritan. What’s the point of a twenty-five-year-old gay virgin having designs on a twenty-two-year-old straight p...more
Release Date: April 9
London, 1822 .... Impoverished Julian Parker returns to London with one goal: marry an heiress. He'll do whatever it takes, even if it means denying his desire for men. Afte...more

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