Category Archives: Amy

5 Star, 4.5 Star, 4 Star Reviews for Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan #YoungAdult #FF @Poor_Medea

CoverTitle: Prom and Other Hazards
Author Name & Publisher: Jamie Sullivan (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 29, 2016 – 36 pgs

Synopsis

Frankly, prom is a ridiculous concept. People at school treat it like its a test run for a wedding, complete with ‘promposals’. That’s not even mentioning the dresses, which look like Disney vomited tulle and sparkles onto the nearest mannequin. Sam wants nothing to do with it.

Except for the tiny fact that she’s been in love with her best friend Tash since they were ten years old, and Tash dreams of a perfect, romantic prom. Sam had given up hope, until she spotted The Suit in a shop window. Sleek, androgynous, and flat out cool—but also way out of Sam’s price range.

But if she can earn the money for the suit, then surely the suit is all she needs to finally admit how she feels and see they both enjoy the perfect prom.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This is a really cute, sweet story. It’s mainly pretty fluffy, just a nice little story about a girl finding the right way to ask her best friend out and give her the most magical prom night ever.

Although the premise isn’t anything really new, it’s the writing style which made me love this story. It’s funny and smart and features an excellent main character. Sam is a delightful narrator, and it’s easy to see why the girls like each other so much. They’re a perfect pair.

There’s really no angst or drama to be found. The side characters are fun, even Tash’s “date of convenience,” who ends up being a bit of a surprise. Kieran, the tux shop employee, is a fun replacement for the typical fairy godmother. Even the girls’ classmates are a nice bunch, if a bit idealistic.

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet book that will make you smile and say, “aww,” this is the one for you. Very cute!

5 stars
~AmyM
FourandHalfStars
I enjoyed this sweet story of teenager Sam and her secret love for best friend Tash.  As she makes plans for prom night she is a mix of hope and fear and I felt that along with her. It is well written and kept my attention, as Sam was a likeable character dealing with a universal dilemma. Should she come out to her friend and confess her feelings thus risking their existing friendship? This lovely romance was the perfect way to while away an afternoon, dreaming of happy ever afters.
Kitty Kat
FourStars
This was quite a fun and sweet short story. We meet Sam, who has loved Tash since she can remember, and Tash, who may or may not have any idea of Sam’s true feelings. What is certain, is that like many young adults, both have a hard time admitting what they feel for the other. Sam knows Tash dreams of a perfectly romantic Prom, and she wants to give Tash exactly what she wants. But more than finding her way to Tash, this story is about Sam finding herself, finding who she is and becoming comfortable with the person she finds. The catalyst is the Suit. Not only does the Suit finally make Sam work towards being with Tash, but it also becomes the way for Sam to finally accept who she is. The result is a story that satisfies.
Amy P

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Star, 4.5 Stars, 5 Star, Amy, Amy P, Bisexual, F/F, Kitty Kat, New Release, Review

4 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Boy Midflight by Charlie David #MM #Romance @CharlieDavid

CoverTitle: Boy Midflight
Author Name & Publisher: Charlie David (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 4, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

At eighteen, Ashley seems to have everything: looks, talent, and even a girlfriend. What more could a young man want? Yet something is missing, and he has to come to terms with his sexuality and the possible implications for his career in the public eye. He begins dating Chris but isn t sure he s head over heels in love. It s not the knight-in-shining-armor feeling he always imagined.

When Ashley is offered a big modeling job, he leaves his university in small-town Canada for a very different life in sunny Los Angeles, California. There he meets a slightly older man who makes him feel like he s in a storybook romance. But is Ashley ready for real love, or is it just infatuation? The world is spread out before him, at once limitless and daunting, full of endless possibilities one moment and opportunities cut short the next.

Ashley floats between certainty and confusion as he tries to unravel new feelings, deal with past pain, and decide what he wants from life and who he wants beside him during the journey.

Add to GoodReads

Review
FourStars

I will honest and say that the first part of this book was confusing. This book is based off of Ashley’s pov and for the first part of the book I felt like he was all over the place which really started to confuse me. It was like Ashley was wanting to give past and present perspective all at one time. But I pushed through and got past it. Once I did and Ashley quit jumping from the past and present I was able to get into the book. It turned out once I was past that to be a really good book.

Ashley in my opinion has a preconceived expectations of the hat he wants his life to be. But like with anything that is not how it always turns out and even though life does not always go as we think I should, it sometimes turns out better.

Ashley in my opinion needs to set back and enjoy life instead of tryin to make it happen and once he does then his life starts to come together and “The One” he is supposed to be with comes into his life and he finally knows what love is truly like.

I really enjoyed reading about Ashley and his ups and downs. I enjoyed reading about him learning from his mistakes and coming into his own. Ashley is an amazing man and ended up with the a man that is just as amazing as he is.

Good read and look forward to more reads in the future by Charlie David.

Tosha

ThreeStar

This is not a traditional romance. It’s more a journey of maturing and self-discovery. I really like Charlie David’s writing, so I wanted to see what this would bring. I am still deciding how I feel about it. There were things I really liked and things I could have done without.

What I didn’t enjoy: Ashley is an obnoxious narrator. He’s immature and honestly not very nice. The whole first part of the book is his somewhat sheltered life, even at an arts school, where people can be neatly divided into categories: Gay, straight unless they get with another guy more than once, and women who flock to gay guys. There are literally zero other kinds of people. He spends a lot of time saying hurtful and obnoxious things in his head and in his journal more or less along those lines, much of which feels misogynistic and bi-antagonistic. It continues into the next part of the story, after he gets his modeling gig. I almost didn’t finish the book because of Ashley’s attitude.

What I liked: First, that it isn’t a traditional romance. I like that there’s a lot more to the story than “how the prince charmings rode off into the sunset.” I laughed my butt off at Ashley’s name for God (which I absolutely won’t spoil here). Ashley matures a great deal when he’s the one who has to take the lead in a new relationship. The playfulness and tenderness between Ashley and Mikal is absolutely wonderful, and I found it a good deal more romantic than most romances. I adored Fernando, who is incredibly cool, and Ashley’s reaction when Fernando opens up to him is the mark of someone who has learned to be a good friend. The end of this is just a big ball of sweet sunshine which left me happy and yet also wanting to know what comes next for all of them.

Overall, if you can get past the first part of the story, it really takes off about a third of the way in. Despite my misgivings, I still think the author is a skilled storyteller, and I look forward to future offerings.

3 stars

~AmyM

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3 Star, 4 Star, Amy, M/M, New Release, Review, Tosha

5 Stars and 4 Stars for The Big Reveal by Eve Francis #Trans #bisexual #lesbian #Contemporary @LT3Press

29915484

Title: The Big Reveal
Author Name & Publisher: Eve Francis (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 29th, 2016 – 116 Pages

Synopsis

Samus Mallory believes the right kind of fantasy can change someone’s life. Which is why she started to teach fantasy literature at her university, and why Jackie Vasquez, a cute cosplayer who always cross-plays, catches her eye.

As the two connect over their favourite novels and a cyberpunk game called Hack The Planet, Samus thinks she’s found the perfect person to be herself around—until their busy schedules and Jackie’s upcoming graduation ceremony puts a strain on their relationship, and Samus fears she’s to blame.

But as Jackie spends more and more hours on a new cosplay, she starts to realize that her fantasy life—and future—might not be what she and everyone else has always envisioned.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

What a lovely and sweet story. It’s short enough to read in an afternoon, but long enough for a well-paced romance to blossom. The first word that comes to mind with this is natural. Everything in it feels so completely organic. Samus and Jackie meet, discover they had a prior connection (not terribly unusual in a university setting), and slowly build friendship and love. Their discoveries about themselves and each other are realistic, a few bumps and lots of mutual respect.

This is a story about discovery, which fits perfectly with the theme of speculative fiction and gaming. Some people may not be interested in another coming out story, but I liked how it was handled here. For one thing, it didn’t feel like some primer on all things transgender. It also wasn’t full of drama. Samus (who is already living life the way she wants) and Jackie (who is just making some important self-discoveries) are really good together. I loved so many of their interactions and how they both handled their relationship. Samus was kind and respectful, and Jackie asked good questions. I loved when Jackie wondered about “copying” Samus rather than becoming self-aware.

There are also plenty of fun moments. I won’t spoil them, but I will say that I loved the cat-sitting. The sensual moments between Samus and Jackie are lovely and well done. Some things were spelled out and done really well, while others were implied. It was a nice balance.

Overall, I really liked this story, and I’ll definitely look for more by the author.

Amy

FourStars

I liked this book because it challenges some of the preconceptions many have about transgendered people. A lot of people get hung up on the genitals that a trans person has, that may not agree with the gender they present. It feels to me, that the more people are exposed to stories where it’s not only normal but nothing to make a big deal over, the more they will understand. That’s part of why I really liked this book; Jackie doesn’t feel that having a penis makes Samus any less of a woman. Also, the simple fact that Samus is extremely matter-of-fact about the bodily boundaries that Jackie has makes an incredible impact on me. There are no intrusive questions about why Jackie feels this way. Jackie says she doesn’t like something and Samus says okay, no problem. There isn’t any pushing of the boundaries either. And it’s that respect from both, not only respecting each other’s boundaries but also respecting (and feeling safe with) the other enough to be able to communicate about their desires and hang ups. I did feel that Jackie’s transformation was incredibly telegraphed, but that isn’t actually a bad thing. It shows her state of mind before her own realization, and Jack’s state of mind once he does realize who he really is and how he really feels. And it’s that sort of mental and emotional click where everything finally makes sense and feels right that is so important to show to others who may not understand until they see that. Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, and would definitely look at others by this author.

AmyP

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Star, 5 Star, Amy, Amy P, Bisexual, Review, Trans, Uncategorized

5 Star Review for My Zombie Fiance (The Undead Canadian #2) by T. Strange #MM #Paranormal @TqStrange

Cover

Title: My Zombie Fiance (The Undead Canadian #2)
Author Name: T. Strange
Publication Date: July 13, 2016

Synopsis

Edward Grey is no stranger to the undead; since raising his cat as a zombie when he was a child, he and his mentor Mariel have explored and developed his power as a necromancer. Despite everything he’s learned, as a necromancer and a medical student, he’s never encountered a ghost.

While Mariel is unreachable in Haiti on mysterious business, a ghost wakes Edward in the middle of the night, claiming to be his grandfather. When the ghost offers to teach him about this different form of undeath, Edward has little choice but to trust the spirit.

After receiving a phone call from a young girl claiming her father is possessed, Edward and his Undead Canadian fiancé, Kit, must travel to an acreage in Kingston…Ontario.

The haunting proves far more complicated than Edward could ever have guessed, and he finds himself pitted against an ancient evil determined to engulf everyone on the farm.

Edward’s love and connection to Kit will be tested, and his necromancy stretched to his limits as he has to find—and destroy—a twisted spirit more powerful than anything he’s ever encountered.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This is a terrific follow-up to My Zombie Boyfriend. It has all the delightfully weird elements of the first book without being simply more of the same.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up. Total honesty: I didn’t even read the blurb. I just wanted more of Edward and Kit (and maybe Bone). I got my wish as well as a great story that had me hooked from the start and kept my interest all the way to the end.

What I liked: This is brand-new territory for Edward the Necromancer. He’s used to zombies, and now he has to deal with ghosts. I enjoyed the twists, and I liked how it isn’t the same old tired ghost story. Sure, there’s an unhappy ghost, a love connection with the long-deceased, and a couple of exorcisms, but they’re all different parts of the story. They felt fresh, and it was exciting to see Edward’s abilities expanding and being tested.

What I loved: Besides Edward and Kit, I still adore creepy Bone, and I really enjoyed his parts in the story. My only complaint is that there is not enough Boo in this one! I also loved how there’s plenty of shiver-inducing ghost-and-zombie action, but there’s also a lot of oh-my-gosh-I’m-glad-I-wasn’t-drinking-anything humor throughout. And of course, above it all is Edward and Kit’s charming and weird relationship.

Anyone looking for a steamy romance won’t find it here. The lovey stuff happened in the last book, so this one is more about Edward discovering his new talents. However, anyone needing a quirky paranormal tale that can be read in an afternoon should definitely pick this one up.

5 stars

~AmyM

BuyTheBook

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Amy, M/M, New Release, Review

TWO 5 Stars for Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates #3) by Jay Northcote @Jay_Northcote #MM #Romance

30234682

Title: Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Jay Northcote (Jaybird Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2016 – 122 Pages

Synopsis

Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.

Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.

They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

I love this series, and I might even have to say this one is my favorite so far (I hope there’s a “so far”…). Dev is ridiculously adorable and geeky, and Ewan is sweet and sensitive. That right there is reason for me to be head over heels. The two of them together, though? They make it all worthwhile.

Like all the books in the series, this one is light on plot and heavy on character and steamy bedroom fun. Each one matches the personalities of the characters so perfectly, and this one I think does the best job. The whole thing is a delicious blend of nerdy, funny, smart, and sexy. I love right down to my toes how Dev and Ewan talk when they’re in bed together. It’s both funny and hot the way Ewan is so turned on by Dev’s geeky analysis of pretty much everything. It’s just plain adorable.

Naturally, there has to be some tension, and I like that it’s light and easily resolved. I’m not reading these books for gut-wrenching heartache and psychologically deep relationships. I’m reading them because they’re fun. So for me, I like how these two interact. Their reluctance to admit their feelings had me wanting to smack my head against the wall, but it worked well in context, and I adore how they resolve it all.

The characters from the previous two make their customary appearance, and I’m going to throw in my tiny cheer that Jez and Mac are still assuring us of their bisexuality as well as how wild about each other they continue to be. Rupert and Josh are not only fun, it’s nice to see them well-settled with each other too. We also got to meet a few new characters, and my hope is that maybe one of them will get a story next. Oh, and while I know the author writes m/m, someone pretty pretty please needs to write a f/f story for Ewan’s roomies. I’m already shipping them in my head.

All in all, this delighted me, and I’m ready for more!

Amy

FiveStars

This series just keeps getting better.  The third book features a wonderfully innocent yet still rather filthy relationship between two young students.  Much longer than Helping Hand, this is the story of maths geek Dev (his to do list includes creating a Grindr profile and gaining experience) and his sexy neighbour Ewan who accidentally gets Dev’s dildo in the post.  

Just like in the first story, the arrangement between Dev and Ewan is practical at the start – a tutoring exchange of sorts.  

I love the way Jay Northcote captures students and student life in this series.  Familiar to anyone who has ever experienced life in a student residence, Dev and Ewan are vaguely independent, not quite grown up enough to master basic life skills (like cooking pasta) and randy as hell.  This is as funny and sweet as the sex is incredibly hot.  

While much of this story is a filthy and very guilty pleasure, Dev and Ewan also evolve into very real characters.  At times, Dev is very much on the Autism spectrum and his calculated, earnest approach to sex education is brilliant.  Ewan may have more experience in the bedroom but Dev runs circles around him in other areas.  While the two are perfectly matched, clumsy post-adolescent angst makes the romance in this book both amusing and very tender in parts.  

This is graphic, sexy fun.  Jay Northcote is a favourite new adult writer and this is one of her best books yet.

Sarah

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Amy, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah

4.5 Stars for Black Sheep Boy: A Novel in Stories by Martin Pousson #MM #Lit

26113643

Title: Black Sheep Boy: A Novel in Stories
Author Name & Publisher: Martin Pousson (Rare Bird Lit)
Publication Date & Length: May 10th, 2016 – 208 Pages

Synopsis

Meet a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tender and tough stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and murderous bar owners. To escape his haunted history, the wild-hearted boy must shed his old skin and make a new self. As he does, his story rises from dark and murk, from moss and mud, to reach a new light and a new brand of fairy tale. Cajun legends, queer fantasies, and universal myths converge into a powerful work of counter-realism. Black Sheep Boy is a song of passion and a novel of defiance.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FourandHalfStars

This is a highly literary work, rather than the more common gay romance. It’s a dense and somewhat difficult read, on the level of a college literature course. Readers need to bring their thinking game for this one.

After finishing it, I’m still not sure how I feel. It’s extraordinarily well-written, and I definitely enjoyed reading something minus the usual tropes and plot devices. However, I’m not sure I can say I liked it, exactly.

What I loved: the beautiful prose, the Louisiana setting, and a story that wasn’t a romance. I appreciated the almost tall tale quality to it all and the rich history and cultural flavor. Because it isn’t tied with direct reference to a particular era, it has a timeless quality to it.

What I wasn’t fond of: I didn’t have strong feelings of any kind toward the story’s first-person narrator. He was neither easy to like nor easy to dislike. He’s unreliable in the way most literary first-person narrators are, so it’s hard to tell how much of what he says can be taken as “fact.” I actively disliked nearly every other side character, even the ones I suspect I was supposed to like. There was simply no one to connect to, which made it harder to enjoy at an emotional level. At the end, I really wasn’t sure what the point of the story had been all along other than a somewhat voyeuristic look at this kid’s life.

This was a tough read, and I found I could only appreciate it in an intellectual rather than an emotional way. I prefer stories which deliver both. However, I recognize that it is indeed personal preference and not at all anything the story failed to do.

Ultimately, I’m giving this 4.5 stars only because it wasn’t to my taste. It’s otherwise a phenomenally well-written book which I believe readers who enjoy literary fiction will appreciate.

Amy

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4.5 Stars, Amy, M/M, New Release, Review, Uncategorized

4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for A More Perfect Union by B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, Michael Murphy #MM #Romance

 coverTitle: A More Perfect Union
Author Name & Publisher: B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, Michael Murphy (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 26, 2016 – 350 pgs

Synopsis

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FourandHalfStars

This was an excellent story celebrating the Supreme Courts decision for marriage equality. This was written by 4 different married gay men and I absolutely loved the stories they wrote.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth – 4.5 Stars

This story was almost heartbreaking if it didn’t have a HEA. At first I absolutely hated Alex. I mean how could anyone just walk out on their partner that way and Gio’s mother as she forbid Alex from seeing Gio. I love the character development and loved Gio and eventually loved Alex as he redeemed himself in the end.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy – 4 Stars

In this story we deal with two men, one who is dealing with the family from hell. I know that this happens quite regularly in the world of LGBT but when reading it, it really seems to hit home of the struggles that gay men and women deal with. Not just from families but from society. I loved the character development and was happy to see that how the author was able to get give them their HEA.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden – 4 Stars

This was another really great story. In this story we deal with two mean that met and came back together after several years apart. The character development was great and I immediately feel in love with both Jay and Wallace. I loved how the author brought them back together and loved the marriage ceremony.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas – 4 Stars

This was a sweet story about Lucas who meets his soul mate at the age of 5, Dalton. It was also heartbreaking because Dalton refuses to believe he could be gay. Lucas was steadfast in his love for Dalton even when Dalton was dating girls in high school. I loved when they got married and Lucas mother has the privilege of preforming the ceremony.

This is definitely a must read for everyone who enjoys a HEA.

Lynn

FourStars

This is an excellent anthology celebrating the anniversary of marriage equality in the US. These are four very different stories, and there’s a little something in here for everyone. While I didn’t love every single one, it’s definitely a matter of taste and not a flaw with the writing style. All four are well-written. Three out of the four authors were people whose work I’d previously read, and one was new to me. I really enjoyed this collection overall.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth – 5 stars

This was my favorite of the entries. It’s beautifully written and heartbreaking with a storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen. I loved the themes of reconciliation and restoration throughout. While we do get a glimpse of Alex and Gio’s history, there’s no drawn-out meeting and falling in love. They’re already there; this is about how they make their way back from the night which almost destroyed them. Really, really well done.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy – 3 stars

This one was okay, but it really felt a bit over the top to me. I suspect that was the point, so it’s more personal preference than anything I think is wrong with the story. Jeordi and Tom are both likable, and despite the exaggeration, it still has a sweetness to it that left me with a warm, happy, hopeful feeling at the end.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden – 3.5 stars

I loved, loved, loved the first half of this. The way Jay and Wallace meet, over and over until they finally figure out how not to make it accidental, is sweet and charming and funny. I enjoyed the way they bond over geeky pursuits. They are so much fun to read about. Unfortunately, the second half isn’t nearly as interesting. It’s definitely realistic–a bit too realistic, to the point of being uninteresting. I kept thinking something was going to happen, but it’s basically extended details on how they do fairly mundane life things. Sure, they have some obstacles, but those are wrapped up tidily and quickly. It stops feeling like it has a whole lot of plot and more like it just needs to get to the marriage part. That said, I do think many readers could probably relate to the ordinariness of it, so it’s mostly personal preference and not bad writing.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas – 4.5 stars

I liked this one nearly as much as the first story. It contains all the humor, sweetness, and big heart I’ve come to expect from the author. Simply charming all throughout. Lucas is such a delightful narrator, and I loved every single one of the side characters. Well, maybe not the homophobes, but I did love hating them. I adored Lucas’ mom, and his friend Sam is a trip. This has a little bit of everything–some action, some drama, some steamy sex–all of which point toward the overarching theme of love is everywhere if you know where to look. The only reason this didn’t get 5 stars is that like the second story, it’s a bit over the top, and like the third story, the plot fizzles after the big tension is resolved. However, I think it manages to pull off both of those things slightly better than the other two. Just a gooey, sweet, delightful read.

Overall rating for the anthology is 4 stars.

~AmyM

Excerpt

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

“The first time Lucas Arrowood saw Dalton was on his way to his first day of kindergarten. His mother was walking him to school, he was very excited, and his right shoelace was flopping, untied.

“Baby,” said his mom. “Let’s sit down and try to tie your shoe.”

He looked up at her, excitement temporarily quashed. He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t tie his shoe. And he was supposed to be able to. His mother had tried to show him how—over and over again—but he couldn’t get the laces to go where they were supposed to go, and it just fell apart. He couldn’t do it. If his teacher found out, would they make him go home? Would he have to wait until next year? That would be horrible!

“Hey, you can do it. It’s easy!”

Lucas gave a little jump, turned around, and sighed as he looked into the narrow dark eyes of the most beautiful human being he had ever seen.

“Want me to help?” the boy asked, flipping his mop of dark brown hair out of his eyes with a toss of his head. “I taught a bunch of kids last year when I was in kindergarten.”

A bunch of kids hadn’t known how to tie their shoes? That perked up his ears. Lucas looked up at his mother.

She smiled. “Do you want him to help?”

Then he realized something. He did want the boy to help him. He thought he would do anything the boy wanted him to do, even ask his mom to take the training wheels off his bike (which was a big scary because he was afraid of falling and getting hurt!).

“Sit down,” said the boy, pointing to the landscaping wall along the sidewalk.”

Lucas sat.

“What’s your name?” asked Lucas’s mother.

“Dalton Churchill. Like Winston Churchill. Only it’s Dalton.”

He smiled, and Lucas knew Dalton was the most beautiful boy on the planet.

“Who’s Winston Churchill?” Lucas asked.

Dalton shrugged and got down on one knee before Lucas. “I don’t know. I think he’s a minister. Okay, now, first you pull your laces up and then cross them over, like this.”

Dalton demonstrated.

“I can tie a knot,” Lucas said, wanting very much not to look like a complete dope in front of Dalton. Then he frowned. “It’s the other part I get mixed up on.”

“That’s cool,” Dalton said, tying the knot. “Okay…. So here’s the tricky part. First you make a loop and stick it up so it looks like a tree—see?”

Lucas nodded. He wasn’t sure the upward turned loop looked much like a tree, but he wasn’t going to tell Dalton that.

“Then you take the other lace and wrap it around the bottom like this—like a dog running around the tree.”

Lucas smiled. “My neighbor has a dog. His name is Super Mario.”

“That’s a great name,” Dalton said, laughing.

Then he finished showing Lucas how to tie his shoe.

“Wow,” Lucas said.

But then Dalton untied the shoe.

“Hey!” cried Lucas.

“Now you do it,” Dalton said. He nodded. “You can. I know you can. Easy.”

Lucas wanted to yell, “No, I can’t!” but he quite suddenly knew he could not disappoint the pretty boy with the beautiful eyes. He sighed. What had Dalton said about a tree? He made a loop with one of the laces.

“Just like that, but the other one. Unless you’re a southpaw.”

Lucas looked up through his own dark bangs. “Huh?”

“Southpaw means left-handed.”

“Oh!” Lucas giggled. “I’m not.”

“Tree!” Dalton ordered, brows knitted together.

So Lucas made a loop with his shoelace.

“Yes!” Dalton said with such enthusiasm Lucas would have thought he’d ridden down to the corner and back on his bike without training wheels. He laughed and then thought about dogs running around the base of trees. A moment later, Lucas had tied his shoe. His mother clapped.

“Yes,” shouted Dalton. “I knew you could do it, Lucas.”

Dalton walked the rest of the way to school with them. But even better, he also promised to walk Lucas to school the next day.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Monday, September 27

There was only this moment. This place. Alex holding Gio’s hand, gently because of the burns on the back of Gio’s arm and hand. The sounds of the breathing machine came in regular soft sighs.

The little green box held in Alex’s other hand– and all it symbolized between them.

All their life together had shrunk down to this moment, this place, this plea. “Please wake up, Gio. Amore mio, svegliati.”

Sunday, September 12. Two weeks earlier

Alex was late getting home, and he was in a foul mood from the long, difficult day at work. One of the properties he’d made a bid on had fallen through, and another client had all but called him a bald-faced liar.

He was looking forward to getting home, taking a long hot shower, then crawling into bed.

Alex was startled to find a whole meal, complete with wine and candles, laid out on their dining room table. Gio must have spent the whole day cooking.

Alex was late. He’d been delayed with his angry client, and to make matters worse, his phone had up and died halfway through the afternoon and he’d been without his car charger.”

He was already annoyed when he walked in the door.

“Welcome home, amore,” Gio called from the kitchen.

“I had a hell of a day….” He caught a whiff of whatever Gio was cooking.

“Come sit down. I’ve got everything ready.”

The dining room looked like a Martha Stewart production of a telenovella Thanksgiving.

“I’m sorry. I’m not really hungry. Things were the shits at work today.”

“Sorry to hear that. Have a seat.” Gio grabbed his elbow and urged him toward his chair.

“Food makes everything better.”

Alex was starting to get annoyed. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’m not hungry. I just want to wash up– ”

“That’s just the job talking.” Gio took his arm again.

“Knock it off! I’m not in the mood tonight.”

Gio looked hurt, but Alex plowed on, too incensed to stop.

“This isn’t some kind of June and Ward Cleaver relationship.”

“I just– ”

“You have to let go of your stupid, unrealistic expectations of me and this relationship.”

Gio frowned. “That’s bullshit, and you know it. Just because you had a bad day at work, there’s no reason to take it out on me.”

He was right. But Alex couldn’t admit it. “Just leave me the fuck alone,” he said, grabbing his phone charger and storming out. He’d find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

1999

Doug had seemed terrific when Jay first met him. He was funny, attentive, good in bed, and Jay’s family thought he was great. At family gatherings, that is—not in bed. They were living together in short order.

But after two years, things weren’t going so well. They’d moved to Dover, which allowed Jay to get back in touch with some of his college friends, but their relationship seemed to grow rockier by the day. They fought constantly, though Jay was never really sure what they were fighting about. They just didn’t… fit anymore.

But still he tried. Jay was nothing if not stubborn.

His ties to the pagan/Wiccan world had long ago faded away, since Doug thought that stuff was weird and creepy. In fact, his ties to anything outside the tech industry had pretty much withered to nothing. He worked long hours, during which he thought about nothing but computers and switches and routers. It paid well, and raises were frequent, so he was caught up in the game his coworkers played—pushing for promotions or transfers every six months to a year in order to get salary increases. Like his coworkers, he had an E*TRADE account and spent time between support calls attempting to build a stock portfolio. He had the sense not to gamble the small amount of savings he had, but it was a fun game to play.

But he was unsatisfied. He couldn’t quite put a finger on why until one Saturday, when he was sitting at Café on the Corner and his friend, Steve, happened by. Steve had been part of the medieval reenactment group Jay hung out with in college, and apparently he was still involved with them.

“Michaelmas is coming up,” Steve pointed out, referring to one of the large feasts the group “put on every year. “It’s going to be at the Unitarian Church. You should come.”

Jay couldn’t see that happening. He no longer had any of his medieval “garb,” and Doug was likely to turn his nose up at the idea of hanging out with a bunch of reenactors all day.

Jay said diplomatically, “I’ll think about it.”

“Well, at least stop by the monthly Wiccan group. Julie’s usually there, and Mark. A whole bunch of the old crowd. That’s tomorrow. Same place.”

It would be nice to see some of them. And Doug was working on Sunday. “That might be fun.”

“Are you still writing?”

He wasn’t. Jay had written a lot of science fiction stories in college, and he’d talked about getting published one day. But that, like everything else he’d enjoyed in those days, seemed like nothing more than a dream he’d once had, barely remembered.

This conversation was getting depressing.

“So,” he asked, trying to change the subject, “do you still sing?”

Steve grinned with excitement. “Yeah, man! My band is putting together our second CD.

It’s gonna be awesome!”

The more he talked about his life, the more it became clear Steve was barely scraping by financially. But he was doing what he loved, and he seemed just as happy with his life as he’d been in college. Jay, on the other hand, had plenty of money. He had a career now, a boyfriend, a new car, and a nice apartment. He’d thought he was doing okay, but now he realized exactly why he’d been feeling so uneasy. His life had veered off course. In just five years, he’d lost touch with everything that had been fun and creative in himself. He was no longer Jay.

And he missed himself.

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

“When the front door of the trailer slammed shut with a loud bang, followed immediately by an animalistic howl of rage and frustration, Tom knew Jeordi was home. He snickered and shook his head.

“Hey, babe,” Tom called out. “I forgot this was the day you were going to visit your parents. It went that well, huh?”

One glance at his boyfriend told Tom all he needed to know. Despite the scowl and look of anger and frustration on Jeordi’s face, it only took one glance at the man to ignite the most sensitive parts of his nervous system (and everything connected to it).

He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Jeordi. He wasn’t handsome in the New York runway model sense, but was handsome in the real man sense. Jeordi turned heads every time he walked down the street, although he consistently missed the many glances people cast his way.

All Jeordi saw when he looked at himself was that he wasn’t tall, and he felt his ears were too big. Tom daily told Jeordi that he was the most studly man he’d ever known—and he quietly gave thanks that the man was all his.

Tom felt two strong hands wrap around his waist as he stood at the sink in their kitchen.

Carefully setting down the dish he’d been washing, he leaned his head back against his boyfriend’s solid shoulder, brushing his smooth cheek against Jeordi’s fuzzy cheek—fuzzy not from a beard but from a strong five o’clock shadow the man dependably had every day by late afternoon. Jeordi hated it, but Tom loved it and loved rubbing one part or another of his body over the stubble.

“Love you, babe,” Tom whispered. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Why?” Jeordi whispered into Tom’s ear.”

“Why? Why? Why do I keep subjecting myself to the same crap?”

“So, they didn’t throw their arms open and tell you they’ve joined PFLAG and ask for your advice on what to wear in the next Pride Day parade?”

Jeordi snorted. “Um, that would be a great big no.”

“What did they do this time?” Tom asked.

“Prayed—and then some. They tried to have some kind of healing service to rid me of the evil that had ‘grabbed hold’ of me, to quote my mother. They said they needed to cast the devil out of my body.”

“Oh, isn’t that special,” Tom joked.

“Not so much,” Jeordi disagreed.

“Was it just your parents?”

“Oh, no. That’s what made this one more frustrating. They had their minister there. He brought a backup minister—poor kid looked freaked out just being in the same room with a known homosexual. Don’t know what he thought was going to happen.”

“They upped the ante, I see,” Tom said.

“Oh, there’s more,” Jeordi said.

“More?”

“Hell, yes. They had some of my more uptight brothers there with them this time.”

“They succeeded in getting any of your brothers to be in the same room at the same time?

How the hell did they swing that one?”

“Don’t know. Must have been one hell of a bribe. They, of course, brought their wives, I guess to show me how a good strong Christian heterosexual marriage works. They pissed me off so much I slipped and asked Beau how he could take part in something like that when he’d been off screwing half the women in the county. He didn’t appreciate it. I guess his wife didn’t know he was a hound dog she needed to keep on a tighter leash.”

Tom stopped what he was doing and dropped his head back, deep in thought. “Hmm, your brother Beau would look damned good in a collar—and naked,” he said. “Now, if you maybe added a blindfold, put him on his knees with his hands cuffed behind his back—now that’s just freaking hot. Maybe I should call his wife and give her a few suggestions. How do you think she’d take that? I’d be doing it strictly to help her out since I doubt she’d ever come up with an idea like that on her own. And of course I’d need to be there to help her, you know, to consult.”

“Don’t go there,” Jeordi warned with a chuckle. Beau was beautiful, but unfortunately he knew it and wasn’t at all opposed to spreading his beauty around to any and all women who’d have him. “At least that got the two of them out of the whole ritualistic crap my mother had planned for the weekly visit.”

“Two down, ten to go,” Tom said.

Tom turned around and wrapped his arms around Jeordi, kissing his neck. “I love you, babe,” he whispered into Jeordi’s ear as he held tightly to his man.

“I’m so glad you do. My family certainly doesn’t.”

“Oh, they love you. They just don’t understand it because the playing field has changed since you came out,” Tom said.

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 4 Star, 4.5 Stars, Amy, Lynn, M/M, New Release, Review