Hi guys, we have Christopher Stone stopping by with (an oldie but a goody) Frame of Reference, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway. So check out the post and then leave a comment on this post! <3 ~Pixie~
Frame of Reference
(Frame of Reference 01)
His world-view shaped by retro movies and TV series, small-town boy, Grant Jackson, moves to Hollywood, in pursuit of television stardom.
Grant Jackson is a small-town guy, with the world-class, big city dream of becoming a network television star. But how do you make the dream come true when your resources are scant, and your frames of reference are retro motion pictures and the television series?
Determined to find out, Grant moves to Hollywood. But can he remain focused on his big dream, or will Grant be swept away in the anything goes world of gay West Hollywood – including its adult film and male prostitution scenes?
Series: Room at the Top, Book #2 Author: Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow Genre: Contemporary/BDSM/Ménage Length: Long Novel Publisher: Loose Id (December 18, 2012) Heat Level: Explicit Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts Blurb: Three sexy men, one hot relationship. In Room at the Top, devoted sub couple Jay and Austin went looking for a no-strings attached Dom and ended up falling for Liam, who, much to his surprise, turned out to be the Dom of their dreams. But their happy ending was only the beginning of their story.
Now Jay is begging Liam to turn up the heat with fire play and Austin wants them all under one roof, no matter what people might think. Caught up in the difficulties and pleasures of their new relationship, it’s easy to miss the way they’re moving dangerously close to the edge of falling apart, not deeper in love.
Reviewer: Heart Review: Room at the Edge is the second book in the Room at the Top series, which is about two submissive and a dominant working on their collective relationship and exploring their limits. When compared to the first book, it misses the tension and anticipation felt when the men’s bond, and their shared future, was uncertain. This book shows Austin, Jay, and Liam in a more equal relationship with matured needs.
Submissives Austin and Jay have come to depend on their Dom, Liam. They need his attention and presence: their weekly meeting used to be more than enough, but now they crave more.
Liam is really careful with Austin and Jay’s boundaries, and does his best to give both men what they need,while simultaneously satisfying his own desires. Despite this, they are afraid of their relationship falling apart.While Austin and Jay remain an unbreakable unit, Liam feels like a third wheel but is reluctant to rock the boat.
The authors absolutely succeeded in developing this wonderfully kinky story, specifically in terms of the men’s relationship,in sense of both the conventional and their ‘play’. This sequel introduces some new aspects of BDSM,and brings the mens’ other needs to front and center. Snow and Davitt make their character’s interactions, and their dependence on each other, nothing less than a beautiful, pain-stung dance.
Room at the Edge builds slowly, which in this case was a bit of a negative trait, requiring focus and persistence. Even so, I completely enjoyed this sequel and wouldn’t mind reading more about Austin, Jay, and Liam.
Heart rating: ♥♥♥2.5Hearts Blurb: Everyone needs a little help now and then. For gay Muslim, Sayen Homet, that help first came from his understanding mother, who brought him to America from the Middle East. Now that he’s working his way through Stanford Medical School, his help comes from a secret sugar daddy. But Sayen might be able to end their arrangement soon now that he has a boyfriend he can depend on a student, Campbell Reardon. Campbell is more than willing to support Sayen, even if it means coming out to his conservative family.
But when Campbell takes Sayen home to meet his parents, everything falls apart. Campbell doesn’t realize how his boyfriend pays for school… and neither of them knows Sayen’s sugar daddy is Campbell’s father, Blake.
While everyone involved struggles to overcome their shock, it becomes obvious Blake will do anything to keep Sayen. Campbell and Sayen love each other, but in the face of so much hurt and betrayal, love might not be enough to hold them together.
Reviewer: Heart Review: If a book has some type of tricky subject, it’s almost guaranteed I’ll read it and find something inspiring or interesting about it. A father and son falling for the same guy fits right in with the unusual, so I barely hesitated when it came to jumping into the story, and seeing the world through the characters’ eyes.
Sayen is a medical student who’s been struggling to get by since the death of his mother who’d brought him to America to protect him from his own family and the customs of his native Middle East. Help came in the form of a sugar daddy, an older man with a hidden identity who paid for Sayen’s necessities in exchange for sex and secrecy. But now a student of Sayen’s age is interested in him, and offering things the sugar daddy, Blake, never could. The money is still there, necessary, and a big part of the relationship, but Cameron doesn’t care while Sayen tries not to.
It all comes to head when Cameron brings Sayen home to meet the family, and his straight father turns out not to be quite straight.
This book was a realistic interpretation of life and relationships where s**t hits the fan when you least need it, and no automatic happy ending is forthcoming. It had some wonderful details like religion, which was a big part of Sayen’s life, and a rebellious sister who I just had to love. Still, when it all came together, this wasn’t a book I wanted to read.
The characters had their depths, the writing was excellent, and the plot twisted enough to make this book stand out from just an ordinary contemporary. But when it comes down to it, I wasn’t happy with any of the characters, or with the resolutions. Their emotional investment was nothing but empty words, and what author interpreted as stubbornness was pure idiotism to me. Not to say I disagreed with certain decision, or approved others, but the paths the men chose, and the hold they had to doing the ‘right thing’ gave me a headache. So, like I said at the beginning, this book was just like real life, but I read romantic fiction because I don’t want to live in the real life for a few hours, but rather escape into someone’s perfect ending.
I rooted for Sayen and Blake for most of the book because I do like May/December romances, but I doubt I would have been happy even if that pairing was the focus. Both the father and the son were too insecure and self-centered to make for loveable characters, and Sayen was just too lost most of the time. He followed the money even when he said those magic words, and without any more substance to him, I couldn’t find any will in me to romanticize him in any way. The readers should also be aware of incestuous abuse mentioned in the book, not explicit but with a somewhat romantic note to it that certainly wasn’t the high point of the book.
As my first venture into this praised author’s work, I can say I didn’t receive what I’d expected, and certainly have my reservations when it comes to his other work.
Title: When One Door Opens Author: J.D. Ruskin Genre: Contemporary, Drama Length: Novel (210 pages) Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 28, 2012) Heat level: Explicit Heart rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts Blurb: Logan Sellers’s parole officer has issued three commandments: stay sober, stay employed, and stay out of trouble. At first Logan thought those three simple rules would be easy to follow. But that was before he accepted a side job assisting his boss’s housebound agoraphobic nephew, Caleb.
Caleb is deceptively normal for a guy who hasn’t left his apartment in three years, and his friendly, caring personality tugs on heartstrings Logan didn’t know he had. But hitting on his boss’s nephew is asking to be unemployed. Logan has enough problems with booze on every corner and a supervisor trying to jump into his bed. He doesn’t need to work out how to free Caleb from the anxiety that keeps him in his apartment; he needs to keep his nose clean, attend his AA meetings, and make a fresh start—alone.
If only his heart would get with the program. Reviewer: Heart
Review: J.D. Ruskin’s first book, When One Door Opens, launches her writing career with a bang. Characters with realistic issues, a compelling story line and excellent writing will most certainly push When One Door Opens to the top of many reading lists.
Logan is fresh out of prison, finally sober, and holding a job. It’s only part-time, but hey, everybody has to start somewhere. He’s still at the phase when authority figures’ questions make his breath catch and every awkward situation makes him crave a beer. But he’s taking it day-by-day and doing better than he has in years. Then, his boss asks him to deliver groceries and check on his nephew, Caleb, as another part-time job, and all of Logan’s hard-earned control begins slipping away at the sight of Caleb in tight sweatpants.
Caleb is a different story: innocent, somewhat naïve, gorgeous, and agoraphobic. He hasn’t left his apartment in three years and doesn’t react well to changes in his life. But there is something about Logan, the ex-con giant, who makes him laugh and seems willing to do anything to see Caleb happy.
When One Door Opens is a gradually building story that shows the shared challenges of a new relationship and the struggles facing each man individually. For Logan, it’s sobriety and obeying rules, while Caleb fights to make a seemingly simple, panic attack-free trip to the store. The main conflict is genuine and lifelike in a way that suits the overall story and lets the reader focus on what is important, rather than get sidetracked by unnecessary drama.
Despite the serious issues these two men face, Caleb and Logan’s interactions are so fun I could have read about them for hours. It was their flaws, as well as the tension between them, that captivated me and kept them in my thoughts long after I was finished reading.
This is the one I will recommend for anybody who likes imperfect characters and needs a comfortable book with which to relax. I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of J.D. Ruskin.
Folklore researcher and PhD candidate Hank Caldwell has a problem. He’s come to Japan to get information for his book on supernatural creatures called yokai. Along the way he discovers that yokai are not only real, but one of them is determined to make Hank his forever lover.
Translator Daisuke Tachibana knows all about the shadowy figure in a business suit who keeps accosting Mr. Caldwell. He knows the creature must be stopped, but how? Their upcoming research trip to a remote, hot springs resort will be exactly the opening the yokai is looking for. Now if only Tachibana could stop thinking about Mr. Caldwell’s naked, freckled body submerged in steaming water long enough to formulate a plan to keep the amorous creature at bay.
Review: With this first experience when it comes to Nicole Kimberling, I was faced both with more than I expected as well as less. She spins a very good tale, focuses on the details but skims on certain parts that I would have preferred as the focal point of the story.
Hank is a Canadian writer researching supernatural creatures called yokai for his newest book. He’s traveling through the country with his translator, Daisuke and discovering that the subject of his researched is not only real, but embarrassingly so.
The story is told from both points of view and while Hank is direct and easy-going, Daisuke is the perfect opposite in his reservation. Everything Daisuke desires when it comes to Hank isn’t coming through him directly and if that isn’t completely wrong, the fact that Hank is getting used to it just makes it worse.
This short story is full of facts about Japan. From descriptions to customs and just for that it’s certainly an experience. Personally, I didn’t really connect with the supernatural theme, and while it was rather funny at the beginning, by the end it was just too consuming and other parts of the story suffered for it.
I’m all about romance, something that was at first glance the essence of this story. While it might still be interpreted that way, once you finish the book, the actual ‘real’ romance was in fact completely pushed to the background and eventually quickly concluded. I knew more about Hank than Daisuke, but their eventual relationship lacked the romantic aspect of it as well as moments that would have made it genuine.
The Red Thread of Forever Love is something most people will most certainly like. It has a bit of everything and makes for a good light entertainment.
Title: Insert Here Author: Connie Bailey Genre: Contemporary Length: Novella (79 pages) Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 26, 2012) Heat level: Explicit Heart rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts Blurb: John Garros, known to his fans as Spanish Joe for his dark good looks, makes his living as an actor in porn films. As a perfect body double for Hollywood superstar Jason Forrester, he acts in XXX-rated scenes that are inserted into Forrester’s blockbuster movies. He makes good money from the profits of the modified films and spends most of it on parties and vacations, never feeling a twinge of guilt. At least not until he bumps into Jason at a party.
The two men have an instant physical attraction, and Jason surprises Spanish by calling him afterward. Spanish is even more surprised when the one-night stand turns into a budding relationship. Things are going great for him until Jason’s management stumbles over the thriving traffic in “enhanced” Jason Forrester movies. When Jason tells Spanish how much the deceptive DVDs hurt him, Spanish knows he has a big decision to make: keep his mouth shut and hope Jason never sees the footage, or confess and risk losing everything. Product link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3472
Reviewer: Heart Review: What is it about me and porn that I have to grab each book that just mentions it and add it to my read list? Maybe it’s the expectation of naked men making sacrifices for the money they eventually earn, or the resulting conflicts when they find that perfect someone and need to explain what is it that they actually do.
In this case, Spanish/John is a body double for a movie star who makes pornographic covers of movies for the Asian and European market. He has a great body, and resembles the actor he imitates enough that he is in demand, making good money. It doesn’t hurt that the man he portrays on-screen is someone he admires.
Then comes the party where the two men meet, with an instant mutual attraction, resulting in sex and the eventual beginning of something more. What ensues is the everlasting question – to come clean or hope for the best?
The content of this story isn’t all that explicit, or for that matter deep, and certainly was not what I was expecting. There are some details about filming, and very rapidly developing relationship, but the main conflict passes just as quickly, and at the end there’s not much to this story. The characters aren’t explored enough to give them the necessary complexity. Although I saw the potential, the plot went too fast to make it significantly enjoyable.
Blurb: Bianca worries that her daddy, Gavin, is lonely and decides he needs a boyfriend for Christmas. So she enlists her father’s best friend, the straight and unattached Curtis. Gavin has a Christmas wish, too, and Curtis setting him up on disastrous dates isn’t part of it! Meanwhile, Curtis finds life becoming complicated as he tries to please Bianca, make Gavin happy, and fend off his own unexpected mixed feelings. Will anyone’s wish come true?
Review: Although I usually appreciate this author’s excellent writing, in this holiday story the characters and their interactions didn’t really hit the spot.
Bianca only wants a boyfriend for her father Gavin for Christmas, and she has the perfect candidate in mind – Curtis, their close friend and neighbor. The only little issue about the wish is that Curtis is straight and despite Gavin’s obvious feelings, it’s not likely his orientation will change.
So while Curtis wants a family, Bianca is not giving up on a boyfriend for her father and enlists Curtis to help her, who ends up witnessing one disaster after another.
It was the denial that killed it for me, because it was rather forced and it made the conversations between the main characters somewhat strained. Usually I love kids in books, but Bianca was a bit strange and never seemed to act the appropriate age. Maybe it was just my impression, but I kept thinking she was a few years older and kept getting surprised each time it turned out she was not. I think I disliked the ending the most. Not the eventual ‘twist’ but rather the fast flip over from straight to enthusiastic accompanied by teeth rotting sweetness that just didn’t work for me.
This is a holiday story by a great author which will probably pass with most readers as cute. It does have its high points and I’m sure it will be a big hit with a lot of people but it just didn’t work out for me.
Blurb: Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?
Review: This is one of my favorite types of stories. A tragedy, big family and adjustment into a new life promise excitement as well as an interesting read.
This time I was a bit reluctant to let my heart into the drama, but just meeting the brothers was enough to put me at ease. Ben lost it all in a heartbeat. His parents died in an accident leaving his three brothers alone and forcing him to leave his career and move back home.
It’s not a perfect situation, but the more time Ben spends with his brothers more he realizes what he’s been missing by keeping his distance. There is also a small matter of an intriguing neighbor Travis, someone his family accepted into their fold and who his brothers just love. Well, they weren’t the only ones. It didn’t take me long to adore Travis, the way he speaks, acts, and just that big heart of his and the need for a family. He is probably one of the best characters in the book, but I’m not the only one who loved him, and unlike me and my love for fictional characters, Ben also had to make peace with his previous life and this new one, where choices not only impacted him, but also his family.
The reason why I’m taking half a star away is the way Ben acted in certain situations. I did like him and he impressed me more than once, but in those situations where he could have acted differently, with more consideration, he chose to show his teeth or just dismiss the other person. It was not a quality I appreciated and I definitely thought his victim deserved better.
The Nothingness of Ben is a family oriented story, where boys rule the adults and the adults do their best. The Ben/Travis pairing really worked for me, especially with the whole ‘different worlds’ aspect of their relationship. It had the perfect parts of sweet, funny and romantic combined in what amounted to a great love story.
This is a book I recommend without reservations and an author I will probably stalk when it comes to future books. Great job.
Blurb: Harper Cole may look like a best-selling author doing research for his next book, but underneath it all, he is a badass Dom and ex-rock star looking for a sub. When he meets a sexy stripper at the local gym, he uses the pretense of doing research for his next erotic novel to get close to the delicious man.
To the world Flame is a self-confident male stripper and acclaimed modern dancer, but deep down, he carries a crippling secret that stops him from trusting anyone. When Harper saves him from a life-threatening attack, Flame starts to open up, and even though his vanilla preferences don’t exactly match with Harper’s plans, he finds himself attracted to the big Dom.
Their worlds collide, leaving both men reeling. Harper is determined to show Flame the benefits of taking a ride on the wild side, but Flame cannot trust his heart to another man. What will it take to bring these two men together? It’s up to Harper, as the Dom, to make it happen… if it’s possible at all.
Review: Seriously, a Dom, best-selling author and an ex-rock star paired up with a sexy stripper and you can’t help but wonder what’s the catch, because it just can’t be as good as that.
I went into this book full of expectations, but it didn’t take all that long to realize I would have an issue with the writing. As soon as Hunter sees Flame, the dancer, he knows he would have him and despite everyone telling him Flame is out of his league and not into the lifestyle; Hunter is persistent enough to get what he wants.
The initial chemistry appealed to me, and I found myself enjoying the sparks between the characters and Hunter’s charm. But every once in a while he would come out with a statement that would just rub me the wrong way. I ignored it for the most part, but by the end of the book I had an opinion of him and it definitely influenced my rating.
Now, the writing style didn’t suite me at all as it happens sometimes, and I found the characters to be too conflicting. They switched from serious to dramatic when it came to Flame and as for Hunter, he was a real Dominant who lived the lifestyle one moment and then someone out of control of his emotions and with a too old-fashioned attitude when it came to subs. I think I probably disliked Hunter more, with his pushy personality and pompous behavior when in my opinion he had very little to offer. The whole conflict/hostage thing seemed over the top and more like a script to one of the old action movies than something to be taken seriously. I loved the starting heat between the guys, but as the story moved one and their character quirks came to the surface neither of them was convincing to me anymore and I lost the little interest I still had in the book.
The appearance of the side characters bored me to be honest. Their dynamics seemed all wrong and I just didn’t want to read about them. But that’s just another little detail among many that got to me in Hurt Me Good.
I don’t have much experience with this author’s work, but the one story I’ve read seemed more solid and it definitely had more defined characters. I’m thinking I’ll just write this down as a venture into something different, and hope for a much better next book.
Blurb: Police detective Kaname Mori goes to the rescue of Hideki Shimizu after seeing him being brutally beaten by a gang of thugs. After taking the young man back to his home to administer medical assistance, Kaname learns that Hideki is not only a host at a local club, but also the son of a Japanese ambassador. After releasing Hideki to his family, Kaname returns to his normal life. But two months later, he receives a call from the ambassador that Hideki has disappeared and he wants to hire Kaname to find him.
Straight-laced Kaname goes undercover into the notorious red-light district of Tokyo and enters Haruka, a club swimming in gorgeous male hosts willing to spend time with him for the cost of a bottle of champagne. Will Kaname find Hideki or will he get swept up into the world of desire and sin?
Review: At first glance, Crimson Butterfly has all the predispositions for being one of those books that will be talked about and that just stand out. The culture combined with cops and rent boys and you pretty much have an m/m reader’s wet dream. In most cases anyway.
Kaname is a cop who one night, when off duty, stumbles on a young man being beaten. He helps him out and takes him home. Eventually, finding out that Hideki’s father is an ambassador and that Hideki himself is a host in a gay club. While they part ways in that occasion, later on they meet in similar circumstances, where Kaname is again coming to the rescue and Hideki starts showing his first signs of what I can’t call anything different than bratty behavior.
While I did like the setting and thought the book has potential, the characters kept putting me off, and I couldn’t get into the story as much as I would have liked.
I found Hideki to be a spoiled brat who flipped from serious to childish way too often. His behavior, as well as life choices, rubbed me the wrong way. But, his relationship with Kaname during the first half of the book seemed so indecisive I was convinced Kaname would go for Hideki’s friend, Kei. Kaname, on the other hand, seemed like an alright character at first, but I couldn’t connect with his personality at all. In this one scene, somewhere at the middle of the book, where he proclaims he’s not gay I kept expecting him to start laughing at the joke because seriously, from the first pages, his thoughts and descriptions of men certainly didn’t scream straight. In addition, the plot jumped too much for my taste without anything specific standing out or being well worked through.
I do like my books to be a bit more solid and a lot more conclusive. I guess I just prefer it to the point and straightforward instead of too many unnecessary flips. So, while I did like the writing and thought the book interesting, overall I expected a lot more.
Blurb: Sawyer never it saw it coming. He never expected Jesse to finally respond to him. He never expected the meteors to take out LeVeque tower. He never expected an old woman to try to eat his face off.
Sawyer thought that when he went into work that night it just be another boring evening at the bookstore. But the impromptu quickie in the bathroom is just the beginning. Sawyer, with his gorgeously infuriating boss Jesse, his best friend Chloe and her little brother Jaden are in for more than a boring night.
The undead are rising up and they will have to find their way through the aftermath. With the aid of Jesse’s wryly sexy ex-lover/best friend Topher, they will attempt to head south to find a safe haven in a world turned to bedlam. But with the government keeping secrets and the infected turning, it’ll prove that the nightmare is far from over.
As Sawyer struggles to come to terms with his new world, he’ll also face the conflicting truth that he is in love with not one, but two, men.
It leads him to ask life’s great question: can you find love in a zombie apocalypse?
Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that somereaders may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, ménage (m/m/m), violence.
Review: As a big zombie fan who had a positive experience with one other book from this author, I had to see what I Am Here was all about. An attractive cover and particularly three men on it, worked like a charm and as soon as I got it, I jumped into the zombie apocalypse.
Sawyer works in a bookstore and has the hots for his boss Jesse. Their attraction comes to its peak on the night when there is a meteor shower everyone else just has to see, but instead of solving their boss/employee relationship they end up defending themselves from biting old ladies and the still walking dead. The action, both plot related as well as the sexual, starts right away, and before you know it, you have two guys who are crazy about each other killing zombies. Personally, I really like fast paced stories with well-developed fight scenes and well thought through plot, both of which I found here.
As they run, they rescue Sawyer’s best friend, Chloe and her little brother and eventually meet up with Topher, Jesse’s ex and still a very good friend.
The ménage itself develops rather late and even then I thought it lacked the chemistry which was obvious between Sawyer and Jesse as well as Sawyer and Topher. It’s really hard to incorporate romance into something as gore filled as a zombie story and there were plenty of times where I either noticed the inconsistencies or rolled my eyes at inappropriate situations where the main characters decided to have sex. I suppose it’s a curse when you watch as many zombie related movies/shows as I do, to pick apart each action and pay attention to details.
Anyway, my main issue here was the amount of sex, which frankly pulled me out of this fast paced story. I feel there’s just no room for it when each minute is danger filled and you’ve just spent your day killing people you used to know and actually still have their blood in your hair and clothes.
Sawyer as a character was someone I liked the least. He had his good moments and I do like bratty characters, but his outbursts seemed more acted out than a part of his personality. Topher was my definite favorite and I can’t get over how little there was of him in the story as well as the relationship. Maybe its partially just my impression because I liked him so much, but the story had involved him to a bigger extent.
As apocalypses go, this was a good one. From losing your loved ones, to military involvement it probably falls under ‘classic’ category, but the author has a flair for action and it shows. So if you lack zombies in your life, pick this up and read about what’s it like to find yourself surrounded by people who want to eat you and all the imaginative ways how to escape that fate.
Blurb: Ron has his ideal submissive in Declan, a feisty blond who challenges him in all the best ways. In Ron, Declan has found a Master he can serve. When Ron suggests they bring a third person into their bedroom to play, Declan has just the person in mind…
Christopher, Declan’s former Dominant, is a close friend of them both and searching for a partner of his own. When Declan invites him to join them, Christopher is more than happy to oblige. But the presence of a third man in Ron and Declan’s bedroom affects their relationship in unforeseen ways. Will Christopher be simply a play partner, or is there room for something more between the three of them?
Review: This is a short story that seems to promise more than it eventually offers. I was looking forward to a ménage with BDSM elements and while you will find the listed in some form, my expectations far surpassed what I eventually got.
Declan and Ron are in a BDSM relationship, deeply in love and devoted to each other. Declan is bratty and I found him to be somewhat insecure in his relationship, while Ron keeps putting out this brave adventurous vibe while but in most situations comes off completely lost without a set goal in mind.
The two decide that what their relationship needs in that particular moment in time is a third in their bed and they end up inviting Christopher, Declan’s ex Dom.
For any potential readers – you should be aware that this story is primarily sex centered. There’s little when it comes to plot and BDSM is rather mild. It didn’t work for me at all, but then again, I thought the whole dynamics was wrong. Declan was way too mouthy and Ron had no idea what he wanted in bed. The three guys consulted over everything during the act, which just about killed the eroticism as well as any spontaneity that could have been found there. I kept wondering what exactly they discussed beforehand when every single move needed permission. Christopher was the only one who gave me any real Dom vibe, but I never once felt as if he was any closer to Ron and Declan than he was at the very beginning.
Blurb: Aran loves Halloween. It’s the one time of year when he gets to reveal his true form without fear of the mythical government agents coming after him. When he meets shy, sexy Booker at a Halloween party, he breaks his rule of never taking someone home when he’s in his alien form. Now he’ll find out if having an alien lover is something Booker can handle, or if Area 51 will become Aran’s new address.
Review: This short sip was nothing short of a pleasant surprise. While it could be labeled simply as a Halloween story with a twist or just ordinary Sci-Fi, once you start reading you just won’t care.
Aran is an alien who just adores Halloween. It’s the only time of the year when he can show his real appearance, pointy ears, scales and pretty hair, and Aran loves the way he looks. After all, he has particularly exquisite features that stand out even on his planet.
Eight years Earth side and he’s always managed to have a good Halloween night with no one the wiser when it comes to his ‘make up’ skills, except this one night, when Booker charms the pants off him with his shy behavior turned wild once drunk.
It’s a really short story and there is no point in telling you all aspects of the plot, but I will say that it was really sweet and funny and you will definitely want more. Sure, it does lack characterization, especially when it comes to Booker and more of pretty much everything wouldn’t have hurt, but as a short story it’s perfectly adorable and will keep you entertained.
Earth Boys Are Easy was a first for me by this author, but as soon as I clicked on the author profile looking for more, I couldn’t have rated it with any fewer stars. Recommended.
Blurb: Mike Delaney, a sheltered nineteen-year-old, is hired to assist Aidan Kelly, a blind high school senior with a rainbow for every occasion. He isn’t prepared for his attraction to Aidan, or the residual fear caused by being back at the high school.
Aidan Kelly, also nineteen years old, was forced to transfer to the new school after a violent altercation with another student, and recognizes and welcomes his attraction to Mike. Even though he finally persuades Mike to open his closet door, Aidan learns there’s a reason that door was locked closed in the first place.
The man who tormented Mike and made him ashamed of being himself is still very much in his life, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to ensure Mike’s silence. Can Mike draw enough strength from his love for Aidan to end the torment? Can Aidan, who has cause to fear his violent side, overcome his terror of his own abilities long enough to defeat Mike’s tormentor?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, violence.
Review: Heartwood is a compelling story about school struggles, hatred and abuse. It follows a love story through fights for survival in an unbending world and coming out despite it being so much easier to stay hidden and safe.
Aidan, we get to meet first. Head on into the issues that put him in the other main character, Mike’s, way. He is competent, not afraid to speak his mind and carries the heavy burden of self-imposed responsibility on his shoulders. As a blind nineteen year old, he hasn’t had it easy and transferring to a new school where his differences would stand out even more is not something he’s looking forward to.
Mike is a naïve young man who’s been through a lot, but carries on with a smile and is really excited about getting a job of being Aidan’s aide in school. His demons are of the living kind and haunt him every single day; be it in flesh or through memories. So meeting Aidan, a young man so different from everyone else, pushes the fears to the side and allows Mike to be himself to the extent he’d never dared to before.
What I liked the most about this book was the complicated back stories of both characters. I loved the fact that Aidan could look after himself, and knew how to fight. Really liked Mike’s stubbornness, even when he was afraid. as well as the fact that there was more to his life than the love he felt for Aidan.
Both were really interesting men and their adaptation journey from guilt ridden and afraid to ready to face their troubles and allow love to come forth was really pleasurable to read about.
Where I just couldn’t get used to the story and where I eventually noticed a pattern, were the conversations. Every single one between the main characters ended without everything being said. Questions were left unanswered and subjects barely touched. It caused a lot of issues to pile up without there ever being an all-encompassing resolution. Maybe it was just me who noticed it, but either way it kept pulling me out of the story, making me want to lock the couple in a room and not let them out until they spent at least twenty-four hours blabbering about their issues. I’m not sure even that long would have been enough.
Certain sex scenes were a bit inappropriate or maybe even far-fetched and I definitely missed a bed in the story. But, the gentles between the characters were really appealing and I’m very happy that I’d gotten the chance to read Heartwood. It is a book to keep in mind.
Blurb: I can’t describe what it’s like to want to scream every minute of every day.
Two years after a terrifying night of pain destroyed his normal teenage existence, Aaron Downing still clings to the hope that one day he will be a fully functional human being. But his life remains a constant string of nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. When, in his very first semester of college, he’s assigned Spencer Thomas as a partner for his programming project, Aaron decides that maybe “normal” is overrated. If he could just learn to control his fear, that could be enough for him to find his footing again.
With his parents’ talk of institutionalizing him—of sacrificing him for the sake of his brothers’ stability—Aaron becomes desperate to find a way to cope with his psychological damage or even fake normalcy. Can his new shrink control his own demons long enough to treat Aaron, or will he only deepen the damage?
Desperate to understand his attraction for Spencer, Aaron holds on to his sanity with both hands as it threatens to spin out of control.
Review: By taking on the Aaron challenge you will most definitely come across beautiful writing, a well thought through story, plenty of angst and characters that will pull at your heart.
Aaron had been assaulted, violated and almost killed when he was sixteen. His best friend died and he bears the scars to forever remember the event. Since then, Aaron the world had known for sixteen years had disappeared, and the new, damaged person was born in his stead. The new Aaron barely functions and each day for him is a challenge. He doesn’t see any hope for the future, after all, it’s been two years and nothing has changed, he still dreams about things he would sooner forget and he still flinches each time someone offers touch in comfort.
Spencer has been deaf his whole life and while he’s happy with who he is, it’s the rest of the world that he has a problem with. Others can’t seem to see past his lack of hearing and what’s left for Spencer is a rather lonely existence.
When the two are paired up in a programming project in college things change and their lives take directions neither of the two had expected.
Just the blurb for this story draws you in all but screaming ‘read me’. Two characters with a difficult life who find each other and make their own happy future. What more can you ask for? I enjoyed the story as well as the way the author presented the characters. I did think they needed a bit more developing and I as a reader should have been pulled more into it. The subject matter is really heavy and it is something to keep in mind before reading, but precisely because of it, I expected more. The story seemed unfinished in some aspects and certain situations played out differently than I expected them to. But my biggest frowning moments happened with personality flips that occurred both with Spencer as well as Aaron’s mother. I can’t say they have grown since the beginning of the story, they just changed, maybe for worse or for the better, but either way I didn’t quite appreciate the change.
Believe it or not, this was my first J.P. Barnaby book and I certainly haven’t made the wrong choice for my first try. I didn’t think the book was too emotional, certainly not something that made me cry and with that in mind I do recommend it. Even to those who are afraid to tackle a difficult subject – you will love the characters even if you have to squint at the rough bits.
Blurb: His world-view shaped by retro movies and TV series, small-town boy, Grant Jackson, moves to Hollywood, in pursuit of television stardom.
Grant Jackson is a small-town guy, with the world-class, big city dream of becoming a network television star. But how do you make the dream come true when your resources are scant, and your frames of reference are retro motion pictures and the television series?
Determined to find out, Grant moves to Hollywood. But can he remain focused on his big dream, or will Grant be swept away in the anything goes world of gay West Hollywood – including its adult film and male prostitution scenes?
Review: This is a somewhat interesting story about one man finding fame almost against all odds. While his road there might have been unconventional, having a dream is sometimes enough and the will to follow that dream a winning factor.
Grant is a small town pretty guy who has been fascinated with anything TV since he was a small child. His entertainment was TV guides and every situation in life had its counterpart on-screen in one of many shows, series and movies Grant so avidly enjoyed all his life.
Once he has enough money he jumps right into that world. No experience, both in acting as well as life he pushes down the path he only sees as leading to fame and gets his fingers slapped more than once. Discouraged but not willing to give up just yet, Grant takes it day by day, facing challenges, volunteering for Project Angel Food and having casual sex he so very much enjoys. Because love is not for Grant – he’s been there, got singed and like any good man with half a brain he decided he liked his skin without any burns and his heart whole.
I’ve stumbled on a similar writing style a few times in the past year and while it’s not something I would choose deliberately, I can’t rate a book simply because of my dislike of the writing form. A lot of you will appreciate the amount of TV/Hollywood references, quotes and familiar names. They are appropriate for the moments in the story where they were used, even funny at times, but I’m more into the story itself and less into the wide frames and inserted memories.
This particular time I found something different from what I always look for when picking up an m/m romance. The center of this story is Grant and his path toward fame. The choices he made, curve balls life threw at him and people he met along the way. It’s filled with a somewhat bittersweet world of an aspiring actor, tragedy and only eventually love.
While the adult movie career Grant sort of made for himself and his escorting meets combined, did bring a bit of life, or should I say excitement, into this story, is still felt too slow for my taste. The late arrival of the romance and vague realization of it didn’t make me feel any better and it was with a deep sigh that I finally read the last page.
There are strong points to this story, the main being excellent writing. A few editing mistakes can be forgiven as far as I’m concerned and it is the interpretation as well as the life-like presentation of Grant’s story that most of you will be interested in. The life of a gay man wanting to hit it big starts slowly, but after a while the story picks up and we are shown the many different aspects of life in a big city. Grant is a pretty good character, naïve at times, but with a certain optimistic outlook on life that keeps the story from getting too dark. I must say I liked the porn making part of this book the best. It was not perfect, but there were enough details to keep me going and the author made sure not to repeat Grant’s experiences and approached every new event with a fresh vision in mind.
If you’ve liked The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill or Tinseltown by Barry Brennessel you will probably love this book.
Blurb: Tate Mackenzie has signed on for a weekend of kinky fun at the hands of respected Dom, James Lucas. However, James has invited another man, twenty-four year-old Sebastian Doucette, to join in. Thrown together under James’ expert tutelage, the two men experience an instant attraction and begin a tentative relationship on their own time. But James hasn’t been entirely honest with the boys and soon Tate finds himself the focus of two infatuated men. How will he choose the man he wants or the lifestyle he desires to pursue?
Review: I’ve had a nice experience with one of Elisabeth Lister’s books and while that sounds kinky it’s nothing compared to the sexual tension and chemistry this author can create.
That said, I will get into this review with a warning – this is not a ménage, but rather a triangle which eventually ends with just two men together. It is mentioned in the blurb, but if you’re just skimming it like I did, and reading what you want to see you will miss it. So it happened that my whole experience of the book was clouded with my expectations and I analyzed the relationships according to them.
The whole story is told from Tate’s point of view and I read about his enthusiasm about finally having another session with this famous Dom. As the day approached his happiness was almost contagious, but then he found out that the session would involve another man, Sebastian. Tate wanted to meet Sebastian before actually getting naked with him and the sparks flying there were otherworldly. After their weekend with James, the Dom, they decide to explore their relationship a bit more despite having another scheduled session with James.
At first I was disappointed at first by the difference in the chemistry between Tate and James as opposed to the emotions between Tate and Sebastian. They were all supposed to be interested in each other, weren’t they? Instead James was all clipped and scene centered while Sebastian truly enjoyed every moment he and Tate had together. But then as I read on I realized it was actually a strong point of this story because it showed the difference between just a sexual meet, what the three of them experienced that first weekend and something deeper which was the case later on between Tate and Sebastian. Boy was I wrong.
The clipped and almost mechanical scenes continued throughout the story and for some reason I just couldn’t see Tate and Sebastian working out together long-term. When it comes to the professionalism of the sessions, I was pretty satisfied, but the negotiations were glazed over and that dimmed the experience for me some more.
By the end I was really struggling with the rating because the dynamics between the three was so wrong and didn’t work for me at all, but at the end, when I finally realized the book would end with just two men, I hated Tate’s final choice. Both Sebastian and James had their good points as well as bad, but I guess I’m more into the personality of the ‘loser’ in this story and that sealed the deal.
Since I’ve liked this author’s work before, I was surprised at the completely different flow of the story. It wasn’t really my thing even when I wanted to be amazed by it, so for the rest of you – pay attention to the blurb and jump in with your eyes open, tastes are different, and ours might be worlds apart.
Blurb: Jason Kennly needs to get a closer look when he spots a gray leather collar from across the dealers’ room at a science fiction convention, even if there’s no way he can afford it on his college student budget. After all, looking is free. But then he spots something he wants even more than the collar: leather booth owner Henry Durand, who insists Jason try it on. When Henry asks Jason to be his model at a bondage demo, Jason agrees despite his lack of experience as a sub and ends up spending a no-strings-attached weekend exploring his kinky side with a virtual stranger.
Then the con is over, Jason and Henry go their separate ways, and it’s back to real life. Coming to terms with his identity as a submissive and masochist isn’t easy for Jason. Suddenly he has to face fear, doubt, and a best friend who’ll do anything to get him away from “that creep” and back together with the ex-boyfriend who ignored him. All Jason wants is to be with Henry, but what if that means becoming his slave?
Review: From the first pages of this book I just knew it was perfect for me. I was somewhat skeptical getting into another story about the lifestyle, but H.B. Pattskyn put my fears to rest quickly and I was just thrilled to be able to add another brilliant author to my list of those I should keep an eye on.
I do sound somewhat ominous, don’t I? Well, I guess you just have to meet Jason and Henry first to understand what I mean.
Jason is a student working his way through school with a rough background and an exhausting home life. His only reprieve is the science fiction convention where he came to let loose, enjoy and forget about his trouble, even if only for a little while. He had no idea one stand and a collar would change his life in a heartbeat.
Henry sells custom leather products and looks the role. He oozes masculinity and dominance and Jason all but whimpers at the sight, touch and the first word. Yeah, he’s pretty much smitten, only for a moment he’s not quite sure if it’s the feel of the collar around his neck making him week at the knees or the man fastening it.
A May/December novel with almost twenty year age gap between the characters was rather refreshing for the author’s thoughtful way of putting an inexperienced Jason through his paces and giving Henry a vulnerable side that slips through his dominant personality just in the right places. The sex was phenomenal, super-hot and exciting without it overwhelming the book. Despite the subject, this story had a solid plot that revolved around the characters, their doubts, insecurities and the road they needed to take to be happy.
Of course, things are never easy in life and there had to be at least one insufferable best friend and an ex who doesn’t accept the fact that the relationship is over. There was nothing I didn’t like in this story and can recommend it to everyone who thinks the subject might interest them. The scenes between Jason and Henry are intense as well as explicit which I of course loved, but someone else might not. I would like to include a small cheating tag in there as well, because it does happen and while I didn’t even blink over it for how expected it was for me, others might appreciate knowing it is there.
This is spicy enough to appeal to a lot of readers, but combined with the beautiful writing and exceptional characterization, it’s a book for every fan’s shelf.
Blurb: Ewan’s application to the Hammer Club has hit a snag. For some reason, Master Oliver has asked him to train alongside another Top before having his membership approved. Ewan’s not sure where he screwed up, but he figures he must have done something wrong for Oliver to have taken this step.
Randy is the Top assigned to work with Ewan. Easy going and unattached, Randy is happy to work with Ewan, even more so when he meets the man and is instantly attracted. That attraction only deepens as the two men work together and find themselves deeply compatible in the bedroom, and in life.
What happens when Randy expresses his belief that Ewan is a sub, and not just any sub, but Randy’s sub? Can Ewan find it in himself to give Randy what the man wants, and what he himself needs?
Review: This is another story in the Hammer series where the connecting point is the exclusive BDSM Club and the reappearing characters who tend to grow on you more with each new book. In that regard, it’s a Sean Michael classic, with sex consuming almost each page and very little plot.
Ewan had submitted his application to the Hammer Club as a top. But, Master Oliver, a character who appears in pretty much each book, has some information that make Ewan different, and instead of approving his membership, he assigns him to another top for training.
Now, if you’ve read any of the previous books, you already know that Oliver is a scheming man, who always has his friend’s best interests at heart. But, boy does he love to meddle, and you’ll have trouble finding a more stubborn top than him. He loves pairing up his friends and members so it’s not by chance that he chooses Randy as Ewan’s trainer.
The sparks are instant, edging on explosions and the sex is scorching. But you can’t really expect anything else from this BDSM world. Because, if there is one thing that it never lacks, it’s imaginative positions, scenes and toys. Yes, I loved the sex, found it to be very satisfying and while I was somewhat disappointed that some talked about scenes never took place, what I got was more than enough.
If this is your first Hammer novel, you should be aware that the plot really is minimal and I’m not exaggerating about the amount of sex. When you read a few of Sean Michael books, it also become repetitive and you notice little things like one word sentences that feel unfinished and a lack of research on some sexual practices. So it happened that I had a feeling I’d already read some parts of this book in others and at a few spots I was seriously worried about Ewan’s nipples.
However, good sex and a lot of it, is not something that will make me give lower ratings. In this case my issue was the too quick jump for Ewan from a confident top to a submissive who barely resisted. Words leaving his mouth contradicted his thoughts and when you include his past into the mix, it all comes out even less believable. I disliked Randy’s way of solving issues with sex and spanking. But, then again, I always have issues with that, because I don’t think traumas could be solved so easily and words do have a purpose.
All in all, true fans won’t be disappointed because this is definitely a hot piece of writing; true to the series with hotness screaming off the pages.
Blurb: Kyle knows he shouldn’t, but once again he finds himself waiting for Quinn, the sexy man who drove out of his life years ago, but keeps turning up when Kyle least expects it. Every time Quinn’s car would come rumbling down his street and stop before his house, Kyle would eagerly jump inside the passenger seat and go anywhere Quinn wanted to go.
Yet this time, Quinn is back for good. Or so he says. Will this be the start of something special for Kyle and Quinn, or just one more passionate drive down memory lane?
Review: Kyle has spent years waiting for Quinn, his childhood friend and more, and while he only tends to receive crumbles in the form of rare, even yearly visits with a hot encounter or two thrown into the mix, Kyle keeps on waiting and hoping, but also living a life he’s not quite satisfied with on the side.
Although very well written, this short story felt more like a chapter of a novel than a complete work. Coated with despair and bittersweet happiness, it not only left me wanting for more, but also with an unhealthy dose of melancholy. I haven’t noticed if there is a warning somewhere about this being a story without a happy ending, but even if you do find it, take it seriously otherwise you might not finish this on a positive note. The story will only leave you with some vague promise of happiness in a distant future, but even if you disregard that, there should be a cheating label glued to it for those who would rather avoid such books.
The warnings aside, I did enjoy the encounter between the two characters and how the author worked through the anticipation of each action and word. The way Kyle and Quinn missed each other was enhanced with her every sentence and almost from the very start I wished only the best for the guys. The finality of their night together hit me hard and I couldn’t help it but imagine myself in such a situation. It was difficult to relate to either of the characters because there were few reasons or explanations behind their actions, and what little was told didn’t paint them in a pretty light.
Down Memory Lane is just that, one in a row of experiences worth remembering that might or might not lead to something better eventually. If you are ready for the challenge and tired of the classic happily ever after, take a ride with Kyle and Quinn, it just might be your thing.