Title: Dreamspinner Press Year 9 Greatest Hits
Authors: Michael Murphy, Anna Martin, Grace R. Duncan, Kim Fielding and Sean Michael
Length: Collection (5 full length novels)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th May 2017)
Overall Heat Level: Explicit
Overall Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts
Blurb: Enjoy a selection of the greatest hits of gay romance published by Dreamspinner Press combined into one exclusive volume: by Anna Martin: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, a story of a boy who he wanted to marry his best friend at age six, and the journey that finally gets them there; by Sean Michael: The New Boy, a romance between a shy photographer new to the scene and an experienced model and Dom; by Grace R. Duncan: Beautiful boy, about a Dom with a hurtful past and the sub who shows him love again; by Kim Fielding: Rattlesnake, where a drifter on a quest finds hope and a home; and by Michael Murphy: The President’s Husband, in which the first openly gay president and first husband of the United States must deal with the pressures of their demanding new jobs.
Review: I always like to have a bit of look over of Dreamspinner’s Greatest Hits collection at the end of every year. For the most part, I am always satisfied by the novels featured. I’m going to change up the review format to include an individual heat and heart rating for each of the five books featured. I’m not going to go into too much detail either, just a quick summary on my thoughts of the book and an equally brief summary on the overall plot.
Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me by Anna Martin
and One Time I Kissed Him First
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts
This is a friends to lovers type of story, between two besties who have been fighting an attraction between each other since they were children. I’m not entirely familiar with Anna Martin’s work, so this was an interesting one for me. This is a charming tale and quite cute. I love how we get to know the characters so deeply before they get their HEA. I understand that this is greatly due to the format of the novel, the five times Scott kissed Evan is presented to us out of chronological order. Despite liking the premise (usually a sucker for these types of novels), I personally didn’t mesh well with the format and thought that it prevented me from relating to the characters, though I’m sure others will enjoy this one.
The New Boy by Sean Michael
Heat Rating: Explicit
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts
The New Boy is the first book in the Iron Eagle Gym series by Sean Michael. I was curious about this book because I love Sean Michael, although for me BDSM books are usually hit and miss for me. I think I enjoy books by authors that understand the lifestyle, rather than others that make the book seem like a flimsy porno. And so, long story short, I did enjoy The New Boy. Lance is a photographer just won a once in a lifetime contract to shoot photos of models in an exclusive BDSM club, the only problem he has is finding models. One model that he does meet is Tide, he is not only a model but he’s also a Dom. I loved the introduction to the host of characters and the careful way in which the relationship between Lance (the sub) and Tide (the Dom) is defined and how it works. They are contrasting characters, Lance is quiet and shy (almost naïve), while Tide is in your face, a little cocky and knows what he wants. In short they are the typical sub/Dom duo. The only issue I found was that there was not a lot of development of either main character.
Beautiful Boy by Grace R. Duncan
Heat Rating: Explicit
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 2.5 Hearts
You know how I was just talking about those hit and miss BDSM novels? Yep, this is one of the misses for me. In part I think it’s because of the couple of Grace R. Duncan books I’ve either heard the audio for or read, I’ve always found myself struggling with connecting to the characters I think it’s now safe to say that I find the author’s style not to my taste.
This is an insta-love BDSM romance, so I know that will turn off a number of people alone. Also, I know people that don’t like orgasm denial in BDSM, yet the BDSM itself is very basic, so there is not really a lot of balance in terms of the sex play. Mal is the Dom and after tragedy struck in an ill fated relationship, he decided to turn his back on the lifestyle. But Kyle, a sub he wins at a charity slave auction, is the young man that brings him back into the lifestyle. There is danger in the form of a serial and a heck of a lot of baggage from both men.
The other thing is, I swear I’ve read a book with a very similar storyline. I’m certain it’s a different book and one that I read sometime in the past couple years – I’ve definitely not read this book before. There are details that I remember from the other book that aren’t in this one. Regardless, I can’t remember what book it was, so maybe I’m wrong.
Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding
Heat Rating: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts
This is a charming book. Although I missed it’s initial release earlier in the year I looked forward to it mostly because I love Kim Fielding’s writing. This story has a lot of heart and a sweet romance between drifter, Jimmy Dorsett and small town, average guy Shane Little. Jimmy’s encounter with a hitchhiker has him heading to Rattlesnake to deliver a letter that has come so many years too late. Shane helps Jimmy when he breaks down and the sparks light immediately between the guys. Jimmy first fights his drifter instincts, but later this turns into fighting to keep them when the prospect of settling down with Shane scares him. These guys are great together, they have a lot of chemistry but the romance is sweet.
The President’s Husband by Michael Murphy
Heat Rating: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
By far my favorite book of the collection. This is a novel from the Dreamspun Desires line, which I fell in love with earlier in the year when I heard the audio for the book. My initial thoughts haven’t changed between hearing the audio and reading the novel. Essentially, this is a story of a relationship that becomes strained due to stress. Specifically, it’s the new POTUS and his husband who are struggling between the sudden inauguration from Vice President to POTUS within the space of an hour, and the President’s husband who wants to maintain his life as doctor and med school professor while battling the conservatives that believe that the very male President’s husband cannot be in the spot light.
For more info, please see my audio review: http://mmgoodbookreviews.com/the-presidents-husband-by-michael-murphy-audiobook/.