Call Me But Love by Tracy Rowan

CallMeButLoveLGTitle:  Call Me But Love

Author: Tracy Rowan 

Genre:   Contemporary YA Romance with a Shakespearian twist

Length:  Novella (74 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (August 28th, 2013)

Heat Level:  Mild

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb:   Mercutio is a funny, moody, complex foil for Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but in the four stories presented here, each an independent tale, Mercutio’s love for his friend goes far deeper, always somehow entwined with the fates of Romeo and Juliet.

The first tale sets the trio back in Renaissance Verona, where Mercutio vies for Romeo’s love. Romeo is oblivious, but the love triangle has deadly consequences. Next, we find Romeo and Mercutio in Victorian England. Though Romeo knows Mercutio loves him and returns his passion, he struggles to fit his desires into the strict mores of the day. The third story takes us to post-WWII America, where war-weary Romeo, Juliet, and Mercutio long for the right to love whom they choose. The final story in the collection brings the three characters into contemporary times, a band on a road trip that will change their lives forever

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Reviewer:   Tams

Review:  Four acts bound into one novella all spurned from the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet with a slight gay twist.

We begin at the start as the original story of these two young lovers is reinvented with a gay undertone. There is still the agony of love, betrayal and death as the array of young men fall on each other’s swords, and not the sexy kind of sword, the literal sword, unfortunately.

Each tale is just a little different and more advanced, or modern, than its predecessor but always, Mercutio is in love with his friend, and Romeo and Juliet could still screw up a wet dream. From Verona to England through WWII and finally closer to the present day, the one constant is that Mercutio has to fight for the right to love who he chooses. The majority of the time, it has devastating consequences.

I’m going to give this one an E for effort. I was never a huge Shakespeare fan aside from the version with Leo, but I did like the way Rowan was able to take the classic tale and spin it into a gay YA story. This one is YA all the way, so there are no naughty bits, but surprisingly, there is no angst either. That gains bonus points from me! If you are a fan of Shakespeare then you need to give this one a go, it might just surprise you.

The Vampyre's Revenge by Tracy Rowan

VampyresRevenge[The]LGTitle: The Vampyre’s Revenge

Author: Tracy Rowan

Genre: Contemporary, Vampire

Length: Novella (130pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (13th February 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Podgy fanboy Frank Vogel lives a dead-end life. He’s addicted to pop culture, Internet porn, and fantasies about Rebecca Hansen, a Buffy-like cheerleader from his high school days, but he yearns for something more. When he finds out Mrs. Carlson, his sweet, elderly landlady, is a vampire, a whole new world opens up to him. Blinded by dreams of sexy, mysterious vampires, Frank begs Mrs. Carlson to turn him. Against her better judgment, she does.

Unfortunately, Frank’s life doesn’t seem much different afterward. Then he runs into his unwitting nemesis, Will Chase–former high-school football team captain, former boyfriend to Rebecca–and makes gleeful plans to destroy him… until he discovers that he and Will have a lot in common.

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Review: Frank leads a humdrum life. He has no friends other than his landlady, Mrs. Carlson, and he spends most of his time alone. When he discovers that Mrs. Carlson is a vampire he envisages a glamorous life and convinces her to turn him. But, he quickly discovers being a vampire isn’t all he wished, other than having a craving for blood. When he bumps into Will, who was one of the most popular guys in high-school, he decides to enact vicious revenge, but comes to realize that he and Will make great friends.

This story is a complete new look for vampires and the awkward realizations of a lonely geek. Frank is a lonely guy; he fantasizes a lot, reads comics and works, when he sees an opportunity to improve his life (or so he thinks) he begs to be changed into a vampire. His first day as a vampire makes him realize that it isn’t as dark and forbidding as he thought.  When he bumps into Will he wants to be all snarly vampire, but ends up making friends with him instead. Before long they are the best of friends, and when Will fixes him up with sexy Rebecca he realizes it isn’t what he wants, but the man who has caught his heart just might not want him.

Frank is an interesting character, but he is also, in a way, a lesson… the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Frank and Will become great friends.  They have a lot in common and an easy camaraderie, but when Frank discovers that Will is bisexual he starts to wonder about men. In a way you can see where Frank is coming from, because he hasn’t been that interested in women before, and he wants to know more about himself. Will is a character that we only really see at first as a friend, and if I am honest until they first kiss, there didn’t seem to be any attraction between them at all.

I will recommend this story to those who want a geek who stereotypes vampires, some laughs, a sexually confused geek, a great friendship, friends to lovers’ story and a happy ending.

Suffer the Little Children by Tracy Rowan

Title: Suffer the Little Children

Author: Tracy Rowan

Genre: Historical (1890), Sleuth, Private Detective

Length: Novel (175pgs)

Publisher: Torquere Press (26th January 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: When Victorian private investigator Nick Romney’s step-father, an Anglican bishop, is murdered, Nick refuses to get involved. At the urging of his family, though, Nick and his lover Davy step in to investigate. Together they uncover the truth of the bishop’s involvement in the dark and horrifying world of child prostitution, the reason why he was killed, and the shocking identity of the murderer.

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Free Short Stories on author’s website:

Review: Nick Romney (Rom) and David Malvern (Fitz or Fitzhugh or even sometimes Davy) have been partners in life and work for ten years.  They have worked a case and are enjoying some down time in Paris when a telegram arrives. It’s a blast from the past for Nick and it opens up a new investigation that delves into the seediest secrets of London.

When I first read the title and blurb I was really dreading reading it.  it’s about a Bishop (church), it’s about child prostitution and it’s a private detective, so I was expecting it to be dark and dour with horrifying details and a church cover up while they sang the dead man’s praises; all the while two upper-class men bumbled about interfering in police business and making a mess of things… what I got was a well-crafted story that reminds me a lot of Sherlock and Watson (the originals not that silly new T.V. program).  Taking you back in time to a simpler more exciting sleuthing experience.  And while child prostitution is in there it isn’t gone into in too much detail and the murder is the main focus, along with Nick and Davy’s relationship.

In this well written story, Davy is the Narrator so it’s all from his POV.  But it is so well done that we get a good feel for the characters and the descriptions are really detailed.  Davy also gives us a few flash backs as to how the two met, one of their first cases, secrets from Nick’s past and talks he had with his father. This story isn’t dark and dour; in fact in some places it is humorous. The investigation is the main reason I enjoyed this book, simple methods of solving a crime, lucking for clues and discovering secrets… there is nothing like a good sleuth to show people how it’s done.

Now let’s not forget about the relationship which, even though there are only a couple of slight sex scenes doesn’t take away from the fact that these two men love each other very much.  It’s there in the trust and intimacy, the way they act with each other and support each other.  It just shines through. Davy’s family surprised me in the way that they accepted Nick with open arms when they figured out their true relationship, but their support when secrets from Nick’s past come out is brilliant.

My recommendation? Wow, hmmm…being honest… if you love sleuths like Sherlock, Poirot and Miss Marple, if you want a relationship that has endured and is still romantic, if you want a true murder/mystery and a story that can delve into the worst without all the details then this is for you.  I, for one, will be hoping that Tracy Rowan will publish more stories about Nick and Davy’s sleuthing adventures.