Category Archives: Kris

New Release: ONE 4.5 Stars, THREE 4 Stars, ONE 5 Star and ONE 3 Star for Lover On Top (Six-Alarm Sexy #3 – Standalone) by Kristine Cayne #MM #Romance @KristineCayne

Lover on Top FinalTitle: Lover On Top (Six-Alarm Sexy #3 – Standalone)
Author Name: Kristine Cayne
Publication Date & Length: May 2, 2016 – 110,000 Words

Synopsis

A straight firefighter discovers an irresistible attraction for his best friend’s younger brother—one that could lead to complete disaster.

A perpetual bachelor, firefighter lieutenant Hollywood Wright hops from one woman’s bed to another, searching for something he never finds. Has his father’s emotional and physical abuse somehow damaged him? Or is something else going on, something that involves the intense and uncomfortable feelings aroused by his best friend’s little brother?

Sexy-as- sin paramedic Chad Caldwell has always been out and proud. Sure, some gay-bashers are harassing him, but he’s determined to be true to himself. There’s just one problem: He’s hung up on Hollywood, his older brother’s straight best friend. When Hollywood’s apartment is damaged by fire, Chad reluctantly takes him in. Will Chad’s heart survive such close proximity to a man who’s both unattainable and everything Chad wants?

To their mutual surprise, Hollywood finds Chad and his world fascinating—and much hotter than anything he’s ever experienced. But with a rabidly homophobic father, is Hollywood doomed to die in the closet? Chad won’t accept anything less than a public relationship, no matter how amazing the sex is. Can Hollywood ever accept the man he’s always kept buried deep inside?

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Review

FourandHalfStars

I know this says that it can be read standalone, but I recommend the series – you will gain so much more knowing all of the characters.  I am so happy that Chad finally got his own story.  However, I was slightly disappointed in the story too.  I guess I had built up, in my own world, how his story would pan out and this was not it.  Despite those preconceived notions, I still enjoyed it.

Chad is out, proud and not afraid to tell people how it is.  However, due to his job, he is finding that not everyone is OK with his attitude.  He has been the victim of vandalism, hatred and gay slurs.  Not only that, but he has also been the victim of some violence.  Despite that, he keeps his head held high – after all, he has a supportive family who would tear anyone who messed with him apart.  He loves his job, he loves his family and he loves Hollywood…well, all but the last are not issues.

Hollywood is another story entirely.  Not only is he known for being intolerant, he also has a huge stick up his a**.  He is crass, mean, a closeted alcoholic and his biggest issue is that he can’t seem to get Chad out of his head.  When his own stupidity lands him at Chad’s apartment as a temporary roommate, he learns more about himself and discovers that he’s not all that likeable.

With a history like Hollywood has, he has to either buck up and be true to himself or hide away and never be happy.  I found that his ups and downs were very difficult.  He swung high and low like he was taking uppers and downers – and he dragged poor Chad along for the ride.  I found the apologies to be somewhat juvenile and Hollywood’s uncertainty somewhat painful to read.  Yes, he had a difficult past – but that does not mean that he has not turned in to a stand up guy who can make his own choices.

The antagonist in this story was very predictable and even with the predictability, I still found that I liked the story.  I do wish that we had been able to see further in to their relationship, but I am crossing my fingers that more will come from Cayne.

AvidReader

ThreeStar

I think this is this author’s first attempt at MM. She brought together a hot firefighter named Hollywood and a younger paramedic named Chad. Hollywood is Chad’s older brother’s best friend and Chad has a crush on him. Too bad Hollywood is straight.
Of course like most MM books, the “straight” guy isn’t always so straight. I liked these two characters well enough to finish the book. With that said, I won’t be rereading cause it just wasn’t that exciting for me. It deals with some past abuse about Hollywood and poor Chad gets a hot and cold answer from him, which got annoying.
I also wish the cover was better.
Cookie
FourStars
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and this book was really good. I understand that this author primarily writes M/F books but I loved her M/M romance and she should consider writing more M/M romance. This book had real depth and I loved Chad and Hollywood. The secondary characters were great also, even though I’ve never read any of the other books in this series. I really loved Chad’s family and was glad they supported Hollywood. This was an excellent book on self-discovery and most of all love.
Lynn
FourStars

When I requested this book, I didn’t think much beyond the “Sexy” in the title and the firefighters in the picture. I was hoping for sexy firefighters and I wasn’t expecting much more.  So I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and the depth of character development.  
Hollywood and Chad are very sexy, but they are also complicated and their romance is well developed.   Hollywood’s gay-for-you story is almost believable (and I usually take some convincing).  I enjoyed the other characters in this story enough to look for other books in the series.  Chad’s family is fantastic and I can’t wait to read each of his siblings’ stories.  
While the storyline with Hollywood’s father was more than a little exaggerated and one of our leading men does end up in hospital (my least favourite and most overused m/m plot device), there is heart as well as heat here and I really enjoyed the story.  

Sarah

FourStars

Although I haven’t read books 1 & 2, it seems each book can be read as a stand-alone. There were parts that would be better understood if the books are read in order. That being said, I thought this book was wonderful. At times. You will get your HEA. Always a plus in my book. I just didn’t care for who the bad guy was and how that played out. The topic of counseling should have been pursued. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

I love Chad! He is the all-around fun loving guy you want to be friends with. He’s confident, strong-minded, sweet and funny. He has been out and proud since his early teens. He has also had a crush a Hollywood “Nate” since around that time as well. Because of Chad’s sexuality he becomes the focus of someone’s hate crimes in town. And when things get really bad, he reaches out to Hollywood for help.

I like Hollywood. But he is the type of person I would approach with kid gloves. I feel for Hollywood. What he needs is a great counselor. He should have sought out someone in his early twenties for all the abuse he suffered by his Father while he was growing up. In doing that he could have discovered his true self earlier in life and he wouldn’t have turned to alcohol to hide his feelings. Much the same way his Father did.

After a fire in his kitchen, the water damage is too extensive for Hollywood to stay. At the urging of his friend and partner, Chad offers his spare room to Hollywood. Soon after he moves in, Hollywood is unsure how to deal with the sudden feelings he has for Chad. When his Father gives him a “friendly” reminder of events that happened when he was a child, he begins to recall all his repressed memories of his childhood best friend.

I know at times it seems like the story may drag a bit, but, I think it was important for Hollywood to go through all the emotions he did, the way he did. That’s what we as humans do. Some more than others. We process differently. I found it hard to believe the Fire Chief was able to get away with all the crap he did. But, I’m also from small town America where that kind of crap wasn’t unheard of. It just sickens me. That’s why I left.

Kris

FiveStars

Wow….talk about HOT!!! Who does not love a fire fighter and fire fighter EMT. I have to say that I just loved this book.

Chad is the persona of a sexy fire fighter EMT. He is sexy, confident, and he is out and proud gay. I believe that it takes a truly remarkable individual to be out and proud in what some would consider “a mans job”. I think that he is even more remarkable after all the crap that he has had to put up with when it comes to harassment by an anonymous homophobic ignorant individual/individuals. He is trying to let all of the harassment role off his shoulders and stand by his convictions with the help of fellow work mates and family/friends. It takes a remarkable person to insure the things that he indures on a constant basis and still have a love for life.

Hollywood has not had an easy life with who he has a father. He was abusive mentally, emotionally, and physically. He is also homophobic. So it is no wonder it took Hollywood so long to except his feelings for another man. He wants to be with Chad but he lets fear guard his heart and he pushes and pulls so much I don’t know whether Hollywood even knows if he is coming or going. The question is can he decide how he truly feels and stand by it before it is too late and he loses Chad?

This book is a perfect example of how hard it is for some people to be truly free to feel the things that they feel. It is not always an easy journey to get to where we would like to be but if we are strong like these characters are then we may find our happily ever after.

Tosha

Excerpt

Hands gripping his head, Hollywood paced back and forth between Chad and the neighboring building, like a caged lion. “I’m confused. It’s your fault. You and your tight ass.

Your tattoos. And don’t get me started on your little twink boyfriend.”

“My boyfriend?” There was no way Chad could follow Hollywood’s leaps of logic.

“Fucking cowboy told me about it. You slept with Blondie. It was that same night with Candy, wasn’t it?”

Chad clenched his jaw. “Sandy.”

“Who the fuck cares?” Hollywood shouted.

“Why are you so upset?” Chad asked. “You’re straight.”

“I don’t know what the fuck I am. You’ve got me watching gay porn. Fantasizing about—”

Hollywood gritted his teeth together and rubbed his face with both hands. The sound of his stubble scraping against his palms had Chad’s heartrate shooting up. Even when he was a mess, Hollywood was hot.

“What do you fantasize about?” Chad couldn’t help asking any more than he could help the rasp in his voice.

Hollywood stopped his pacing, hesitated, then advanced on Chad. Each step slow and deliberate. Chad sucked a breath into suddenly deflated lungs. Oh God. He was so fucking turned on. And what kind of slut did that make him? He didn’t know if Hollywood was going to kiss him or beat the shit out of him. All he knew was that he needed to find out.

With rough movements, Hollywood gripped the sides of Chad’s head. “I can’t think of anything except kissing you. Your lips, are they soft or hard? How would your stubble feel against my skin? What do you taste like? It’s driving me crazy.” He stared into Chad’s eyes.

“You are driving me crazy.”

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NEW RELEASE: TWO 5 Stars for How to Save a Life by Andria Large #MM #Romance @Author_ALarge

HTSAL_Cover

Title: How to Save a Life
Author Name & Publisher: Andria Large
Publication Date & Length: May 24, 2016 – 195 Pages

Synopsis

How do you save someone’s life?

There’s the obvious way of physically saving them from a tragic end.

Then there’s the more subtle way of saving someone who doesn’t know they need to be saved. Someone who is drowning emotionally and has no idea that they are slowing dying.

Ezra Whitmore is one of those people. After tragically losing his wife, he’s still going through the motions, but not really living. All he has now is his son, Spencer, and his career as a dentist. The life he thought he was going to have has been torn apart. The things he had once enjoyed no longer feel the same without the person he had shared everything with.

That is, until Ferris Jenkins crashes into his life. Not only does the lifeguard save his son from literally drowning in the ocean, but he also slowly starts to bring Ezra back to life.

As soon as Ferris lays eyes on Ezra, he can’t get the gorgeous dentist out of his head. He knows nothing will ever happen between them because…well, Ezra is straight and he’s gay. You can imagine Ferris’ surprise when Ezra gets drunk one night, kisses him, and admits that he’s always been attracted to guys. This gives Ferris hope that maybe, just maybe, he can land the man of his dreams.

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Review

FiveStars

This is such an incredible book. I love a book that when you are reading it you find yourself smiling at the happy parts, crying at the sad parts, and getting mad at the parts where you want to just grab someone and shake them and say what are you thinking. That is what this book did for me.

Coming out is not an easy thing. Especially when you have hideout from everyone for so long and Es married to a woman and have a son of your own. That is what happened to Ezra. But after his wife died unexpectedly and his 14 year old son at the time came out to Ezra, it became hard to hide those feeling any longer. Especially after meeting Ferris.

I personally feel that Ezra’s fears kept him from fully being who he is. He feared losing his family and he also feared what people would think about him. I do not honestly think that he would have faced who he truly is on the inside of it had not been for his sons bravery when he came out to Ezra. You could that Ezra was so proud of his son for doing what he had always been afraid to do but he was also scared for him. I think it took a lot for Ezra to wrap his mind around the reality that it is ok to be who you are and love who you want to love. I also believe that Ferris helped him with that.

Ferris is such a strong person but he also has his own hurt from losing his family when he came out so he understands what Ezra is going through and I think that makes it easier for Ferris to be patient with Ezra and do things on his own timeline. But I also think that because of their relationship it helps when Ferris’s family unexpectedly comes back into his life after Ezra’s son Soencer lays into Ferris’s brother for the way the family treated him when he and out.

I truly believe that both of these men helped the other man in ways that made each other’s life so much fuller and completed and complimented one another in ways no one else ever could.

This book is such an incredible story about overcoming fear and finding the one person that you can be yourself with without feeling like you have to hide. It is a story about love and acceptance.

I really hope that Andria large will make a second book and make this into a series so we can see what happens with Spencer and Jessie because I believe that would be a good story.

Tosha

FiveStars

I love this author. I truly enjoyed the Beck brother’s series. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

I admire Ezra’s strength. His wife recently passed away, and Spencer just recently told him he is gay. Ezra vows to do what he can to show his son the support he wishes he had gotten at that age. Ezra could never talk to his family about his sexual preferences for fear of being rejected. Ezra can’t help his attraction to Ferris. Although, it takes him by surprise because he thought he had been able to suppress those feelings.

Ferris is a mature, out and proud gay man in his 30’s. He’s crushing hard for Ezra, but he refuses to go back in the closet for anyone. Ferris wants Ezra to date women to be sure he’s really interested in men the same as women. Yet when he sees Ezra with a woman he gets angry and acts liked a jilted lover. His feelings toward Ezra are strong, but if Ezra can’t express himself publicly, there is no future for a romantic relationship between them.

I was happy they were finally able to work through their own thoughts and fears together to make the relationship work. This is a feel good story from start to finish. I hope Spencer gets his own story as he goes off to college and starts his life on his own.

Kris

Excerpt

So, Ezra and I head for the dance floor. We find an open spot in the midst of the crowd that is mostly girls. I find out very quickly that Ezra is a really sexy dancer. Oh, what I would give to be all over that delicious body of his. He rolls his body like a goddamn male stripper. I’m mesmerized and completely turned the fuck on.

A young girl, probably in her mid-twenties, dances her way in front of Ezra. She puts her back to him and shoves her ass in his crotch. She’s a cute girl with a nice body. Ezra’s eyebrows shoot up and his wide eyes meet mine. He actually gives me a “Help me!” look. Apparently, he’s not ready to have a young girl bumping and grinding on him. It seems that even though my friend is lonely and could use some lovin’, it doesn’t look like he’s ready to have some chick he doesn’t know rubbing herself all over him.

Ferris to the rescue!

I step closer and grab Ezra’s hand, pulling him out from behind the girl and up against my side. I wrap my free arm around his waist and pull him in so that we are touching from chest to thigh. Ezra can no doubt feel my erection against his hip, but it can’t be helped.

“Hey!” the girl, who looks downright pissed, yells over the music. “I was dancing with him!”

“Sorry, hun, but he’s with me, and I’d appreciate it if you kept your skanky ass away from his cock,” I drawl, palming Ezra’s ass for effect.

I feel Ezra’s hand snake around my waist, causing goose bumps to pop up all over my skin. The girl rolls her eyes and mutters something about all of the hot ones being gay, before stomping off through the crowd. I smile my triumph and turn to look at Ezra, who is so close that our noses touch when I face him.

My breath catches as a wave of desire hits me hard. Shit, I would love to seal my lips over his right now. I swear that same look is in his eyes again; but this time, the lust has been cranked up a notch. He looks like he’s actually thinking about kissing me, too.

“You might want to dance with me if you don’t want to get hit on,” I murmur just loud enough for him to hear me.

Ezra licks his bottom lip and gives me a jerky nod. “Yeah, okay, we can dance.”

We slowly start swaying to the music. I turn slightly so that we are completely facing each other and slip my thigh in between his. The arm Ezra has around my waist tightens, pulling me closer. His nose brushing my cheek and ear, sending shivers down my spine. We grind against each other. I keep my hand on his ass for show…okay, that’s a lie; I just want to touch his ass. It’s a very nice ass – firm and round – and I’m fairly certain that what I’m feeling against my thigh is his erection. Fuck me, I’m in so much trouble with this guy.

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New Release: 4 Stars, 3.5 Stars and TWO 3 Stars reviews for Stained by Chris T. Kat #MM #Romance @christi_kat

StainedORIG-final-01Title: Stained
Author Name & Publisher: Chris T. Kat (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date: June 1, 2016

Synopsis

Blair Clark has reached his breaking point. Forced to leave one job because of sexual harassment, he’s having difficulty finding another. Since no one believes what happened, Blair’s left with a stain on his employment record that he can’t get rid of. He’s had to move back home with his mother. As if that’s not bad enough, he realizes his crush, Travis, is simply using him.  His romantic life looks as hopeless as his job search.

Jack Ross is sure he’ll never find anyone who’ll love him for who he is. All anyone sees is the port-wine stain on his left cheek—not the man behind it. Even his mother thinks he should get rid of it. But the procedure is difficult and painful.

When Blair applies for a secretarial position with Jack’s firm, both men learn that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. It’ll take a lot of trust to chase away their insecurities, but if they take a chance on one another, love will find a way.

Review

FourStars

It is so sad that some people find it ok that they treat people like they are less than that should be treated.

Jack is used to being treated differently because of the birth mark that is in his face but even though he is used to I think that it still hurts him to know that most people look at him and see that instead of what is inside which is an extremely generous, loving, caring man. When he meets Blaire I think he was instantly attracted to him but he worried he would be like everyone else and find him lacking because of his looks and because he was not a dominant individual in bed. You can feel his insecurities when it comes to wanting to know how Blaire truly feels about him but tried not to let it show.

Blaire in my opinion does not have a high opinion of himself because he has been beat down by so many people because of his looks and because he is gay. Blaire is tiny and not butch like other men so he is very insecure where that is concerned but once he meets Jack, he soon finds out he doesn’t need to worry about that because like Blaire, Jack falls in love with Blaire for the man that he is and not what some people dictate him to be.

These two men could not be more perfect for one if they tried to be. They just have this sweet love for one another that makes you smile. I really enjoyed reading this book and hope others do too.

Tosha

ThreeandHalfStars

I read a few books by this author and although this was good it certainly wasn’t her best work. When you read the blurb that exactly what happens. No surprises and I typically like some surprises in my reading. I felt that the character development was lacking. The plot had the potential to be something amazing but it just seems to fall flat. However as it was a novella it was a quick read and I did enjoy meeting these two men. I was glad to see that both men were able to find someone who seemed to be a perfect fit for them.

Lynn

ThreeStar

This book wasn’t very long. The blurb tells you what the story is going to be about in a nutshell. What it doesn’t tell you is that it mostly focuses on Blair’s troubled past, his previous job he lost, his friend with benefits, Travis, who is a total jerk and it’s mostly depressing as hell to read. Most of the book Blair and Jack go to lunch every day, nothing happens between them then Travis decides to be a douche bag and then all of the sudden Jack and Blair are boyfriends. I would have liked to see more of Jack and Blair and less of the drama with Travis. It was just ok for me.

Angie

ThreeStar

Blair’s need for a job lands him in the office of the man he fell into at a bar. He immediately knows after that incident he’ll never get the job as Jack’s secretary. Blair’s self-esteem and self-confidence are low after many failed job interviews. Because of this, he’s sure he’ll never get this job.

Because of his attraction to Blair, Jack isn’t sure he’ll be able to work alongside him on a daily basis. Jack’s self-esteem is low because he has a birth mark on the left cheek of face. He’s sure he’ll never find someone who can see past the purple mark and just notice him.

When he finally hires Blair, that’s when the trouble begins. Blair’s past catches up to him and before they know it, Blair and Jack must fight to keep the damage to a minimum.

This is a good, interesting story overall and a nice quick read. It would have been nice to get Jack’s POV and Blair was a bit wussy to me, but still an okay read.

Kris

Excerpt

“Can’t I?” I gazed into Travis’s brown eyes, the same eyes I dreamed about at night. In those dreams they were filled with love, but when I looked now, I only saw cruelty, arrogance, and something more, something darker I didn’t want to think about.

“No.” Travis snatched my chin, held it tightly between his big fingers and forced me to keep perfectly still. “No, you can’t. Choose a manly job and they’ll stop. Keep flaunting your sexuality and that’s what they’ll do.”

“Flaunting my sexuality? What’s that got to do with my job?”

“You’re a secretary, for fuck’s sake. It’s a woman’s job. Now stop adding fuel to the fire and cowboy up.” Travis’s voice remained low but it held an angry edge to it, one I recognized well.

I dropped my gaze, and a moment later Travis let go of my chin. Breathing out a sigh of relief, I winced when another guy asked, “Having trouble keeping the fairy in line?”

“Are you kidding?” Travis replied, puffing up his chest.

Enough was enough. I bolted up, ready to leave, when a big hand clamped on my arm. I tugged, but the grip tightened. Anxiety blossomed into fear, especially when the table dropped into sudden silence.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Travis hissed.

My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, making it impossible for me to answer. What the hell was wrong with me? Why had I pursued Travis for so many months? Just because of his looks? Sure, he was hot, and exactly how I liked my men—big, fair-haired, and brown-eyed. But there was no love lost between us. Travis would never come out as gay, even though he liked to fool around with me whenever it was convenient for him.

“Blair, sit your ass down again, you’re attracting attention.”

When Travis pulled at my arm with more force, I planted my feet. I didn’t anticipate Travis letting go all of a sudden, leaving me to stumble backward. I crashed into someone behind me, taking us both to the ground.

Rolling to my knees and away from whomever I’d thrown, I apologized, “I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you?”

Heat flooded my cheeks as embarrassment swept over me. Holding out a hand for the guy I’d tripped, I recoiled when the man sat up, revealing his face. A gasp tumbled over my lips and I stared openmouthed. The skin of the man’s left side was stained in red, giving him a slightly scary appearance, as if he’d been badly burnt.

“I’m fine,” the man said, his brows creasing in a frown. Obviously he’d seen my reaction and wasn’t too thrilled about it.

I couldn’t help but stare even more. The man’s dark blue eyes bore right into me, daring me to say anything. The stained skin drew my attention, no matter how hard I tried to look elsewhere. It looked so painful, a large blotch of red that started below the man’s eye, covered his whole cheek, and tapered out at his jawline.

“It’s not contagious, if that’s what you’re afraid of,” the man said in an icy tone. He rose in one fluid motion, holding out his hand for me to… to what? Help me up? Why would he do that?

I eyed the outstretched hand, hating myself for the fear coursing through me. Just when I was about to take the man up on the offer, two big hands grabbed my waist and hoisted me to my feet.

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THREE 5 Star, THREE 3 Star, ONE 4 Star, and ONE 4.5 Star Reviews for Believing Blue (Manchester Menage Collection #3) by Nicole Colville #Menage #MM

CoverTitle: Believing Blue (Manchester Menage Collection #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Nicole Colville (Hidden Pleasures)
Publication Date & Length: April 20,. 2016 – 525 pgs

Synopsis

Is there a fated path we follow, or is it simply a series of coincidental events?

Police officer Kellan Howard is rumoured to have spent too much time in sub-zero temperatures, leaving him with a block of ice for a heart and women lining up to help thaw it. Mountain climbing is his only love, leaving no time for a relationship, and although meaningless sex satisfies his physical need, it’s empty. When he attends a fatal traffic accident, he didn’t expect his entire life to change. Along with a final message, Kellan is offered something else from the dying man: the chance to fall in love. Kellan’s never considered being with a man, but when he meets Valentino, he’s instantly drawn to him.

Suffering from crippling agoraphobia, talented Italian artist Valentino has a solitary existence, only experiencing life outside the house through his partner Stuart. When their relationship comes to an abrupt end, Kellan helps ease his suffering. A deep bond binds the two men together, and the sexual tension can’t be denied, but Valentino questions if the distance between their very different lives is too much, and if they can bridge the gap by themselves.

Ballet dancer Blue has a vibrant personality which demands attention, but his humour and courageous attitude are a shield. Blue’s good at making others believe in themselves, but what he needs is someone to believe in him. He could be the bridge both men are looking for, but Blue’s never allowed anyone to get too close, and when Kellan and Valentino enter his life, he desperately tries to protect his heart and his secrets.

When all three meet, the chemistry is undeniable, but each have fears about moving forwards. Together, they learn love comes in many forms. It can’t be restrained or labelled, and it doesn’t always appear in the way you first imagined.

**Blue is a standalone book, and although characters from previous books do make an appearance, it won’t spoil their stories if you choose to read them afterwards.**

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Review

ThreeStar

Triggers: Death

OK, let me start by stating that I have not read the previous books in this series.

Next, let me say that if you’re in to really long stories that take about 45% to get in to the actual story, then this is your book.  However, it just wasn’t for me.  I had a very hard time connecting with the characters and really, the only one I enjoyed was Kellan.

You start out with this tragic event that is supposed to push two of the men together.  In reality, I thought that it was more of a barrier to them figuring out that they wanted each other.  There was this constant ghost between them.  And, while the writing wasn’t poor, it was incredibly slow.  I literally kept checking the status bar to find out if I had moved at all in the story.

Then you have Blue… Oh Blue.  Drama like the Kardashian’s could only dream up.  He was the most annoying character in this book for me.  Always with something to harp about, and although I know that for the most part it was a front for his own insecurities, it just became too much.

I did like how Colville split the men up in this story.  You were given a little bit at a time rather than the whole group of them.  However, again, when they came together, they just didn’t really gel for me.

Unfortunately, despite wanting to enjoy and like the characters in this story, I just couldn’t picture their story.

Tessa

ThreeStar

I was exciting to read this when I read the synopsis…and was sadly disappointed. I love MMM…and this one wasn’t very convincing at ALL. I think giving it 3 stars was generous of me, actually, but I liked the cover, I liked the beginning, and I give the author props for writing over 500 pages for this book. Too bad it was 300 pages too long in my HONEST opinion.
I really liked the plot, well the plot that was written in the description for this book, but I hate it when an author brings the 3rd partner in the relationship in the middle of the book and all 3 of them didn’t even realize they knew each other til like 80% of the book. Meaning there wasn’t a 3some til 80% of the book. I disliked that very much. I felt cheated. I almost gave up half way when I realized that the menage wasn’t going to happen any time soon and I was on like page 250.
All I got was Kellan and Valentino together, then not together. Characters from previous books taking over the pages and Blue’s annoying thoughts. I admit that I thought that Blue was cute at first…but after 525 pages, he got really annoying.
*sigh* This book did not need to be 525 pages. Why the heck was it that long? I don’t mind long books, but only if the story draws me in and this didn’t. I ain’t gonna lie, I skipped some pages after reaching 50% of the book cause I just wanted to get to the 3some already and even that disappointed me.
If the other books are like this one, I’m not reading them, sorry.
Cookie
 ThreeStar
Honestly, this book was way too long. I was skimming so much because it was just too wordy and at times didn’t hold my attention at all. I struggled to get to the 50% mark. The blurb just caught my attention and I had to read it. Unfortunately I should have just stuck with the blurb. I wanted to like it, I wanted to connect with the characters and fall in love with all of them and feel everything they did, it just didn’t happen for me with this book.
Angie
FourStars

This is a great addition to the Manchester Menage Collection. You get to see all the previous characters and how they are doing and actually wrap up a few of their loose ends while the story of these three men unfold. It’s great to get Blue’s story after falling a little in love with him from the previous story!

I don’t think you could find three so very different men and make it work like this story does. Kellan is solid and steady but self contained. Valentino is a beautiful artist who is suffering deeply. Blue is enigmatic, energetic and inside crushed by self doubt. Through tragedy Kellan and Valentino come together to struggle through the aftermath of true loss. I was unable to deny the absolute attraction these two have and it’s well written given what is happening in the story. It’s erotic and consuming but can’t block out the real problems that come from the devastation after such a tragedy. Blue with his outrageous personality and attitude makes for some great laughs even while I wanted to shake him sometimes during the story but being such a smart ass. But he really is the balm that Kellan and Valentino need. This story really is a marathon and not a sprint so it builds slowly to the pay off for these three men. While I would have loved a bit more at the end, the end really is endearing and shows how fate sometimes steps in and puts the right person in your life at the right time.

This story is a bit heartbreaking at points and yeah sometimes makes you want to scream. However it’s so well written you can’t put it down because you want to see these three men come together so badly and find some happiness and love.

~Jessica

FourandHalfStars

You will tear up, nod to agree, and definitely laugh with the humor that was set forth in this beautiful story about loss, hope, believing in yourself, finding love and to love again.
 
Valentino, completely broke my heart from the start through to the end. I truly felt that this story was about him than about Blue. I loved Blue and his constant manners. A lot of people in this world could learn a thing or two from him. And his humor and love of life…I laughed so much with him. Kellan was just a solid rock all around. These three men were so completely opposite yet were all the missing pieces in each other lives to become a whole.
 
Most of the story you learn about each one and how they come together. Kellan was the common link until the end, then you find out it was Blue. But to me, it will always be Tino who was my favorite. Tino was such a strong man. I felt every tear, every breath, every sorrow, every fear from him. I loved how these men came together to support and push each other. The love was real and deep.
 
This was a great addition to the Ménage Collection. This can be read as a standalone but worth reading them in order.
~Keri

FiveStars

I have found my next go to book. I cried. I laughed. I laughed until I cried. The story is based in England but it isn’t hard to follow along with the wording. There are many elements to this story that must be touched upon. I hope I remember them all.

As a police officer, Kellan is called upon to help when needed. He also volunteers for many extra shifts because he has no one at home waiting for him when he gets done with work. The weather has taken a drastic turn, bringing snow too quickly, causing the roads to become dangerous to be out on. He’s on his way back to town when he happens upon two officers from neighboring Manchester. They are stuck on the slick road so Kellan must help them push their car. As the three men are nearing a dangerous turn they spot a car that has crashed into the rocks. They work desperately for hours to free the driver. As the rescue team works to free Stuart, the driver, he talks to Kellan about his boyfriend Valentino. Sharing stories and secrets. Unfortunately, Stuart doesn’t survive his injuries and dies shortly after being rescued.

Valentino has lived the several years of his life through the eyes of Stuart. Never leaving the home that he and Stuart had come to share. When Kellan arrived on his doorstep, Valentino was terrified. He has been a loner for so long, he doesn’t know how to interact with anyone other than Stuart and the owner of the art gallery. His family disowned him when he was 15. He has pushed everyone else away. But, every chance Kellan gets he is banging on Valentino’s door, asking for acceptance into his life.

Blue. What can I say about Blue? He has such a strong spirit. A spirit that anyone could be jealous of. He has a supportive and loving family as well as friends. You can’t help but be his friend. You’re drawn to him when you walk into a room. Except for Kellan. Kellan can’t seem to get on Blue’s good side no matter what he does. Every time they meet its oil and water. Until Kellan has to rescue a very drunk Blue from a man who wants to rape him. The two men are able to set aside their differences and soon their relationship starts.

The three men are brought together when Blue is requested by Valentino to be his model. It is Blue who eventually brings Valentino and Kellan back together. And it is Blue who keeps the throuple together when all the dust has settled.

~Kris

FiveStars

For me, Blue, Kellan and Valentino are the most interesting characters in this series.  Kellen and Valentino meet through tragedy; Blue is Valentio’s muse and Kellen works with Blue’s friends.  The relationships are complicated and the men are wonderfully original.

 

The triad is well balanced here and it was easy to understand the balance created by the threesome that wouldn’t have existed for two of the men as a couple.  I enjoyed the lack of angst and drama in these relationships, though the tension between Blue and Kellan at the start felt a little exaggerated.  

 

Despite some incredibly heavy topics and some serious issues each man has to work through, this remains a fun, sexy story.  I challenge any reader to refrain from sobbing through the first thirty pages, but the grief and strain at the start of the story is tempered by hope and humour as the story progresses.  Once these men get to know each other, there is fantastic heat between all three.

 

My only reservation about the story is that I’m not sure the men’s ages worked for me completely.  Party boy Blue feels much younger than the other two, but he is only supposed to be a few years younger than Kellan.  In the same way, Valentino, mourning his life partner, felt considerably older than Kellan.  But all three men are supposedly in their early to mid twenties which didn’t quite fit for me.

 

This story linked in to the two previous stories more than the second one did and I enjoyed revisiting characters from earlier books.  This is such a great series and this third book is a wonderful addition.  

~Sarah

FiveStars

If you do not believe in fate, once you read this book maybe you will. This is a book about loss, about love, about acceptance, and about fate.

Kellan is a police officer and is straight. One night on a bad snow storm him and two other police officers come across a man that is a terrible vehicle accident, Stuart. Stuart knows he is not going to make it and Kellan will not leave his side. Stuart tells Kellan about his sole mate and the love of his life and tells Kellan to go to him and they will find love in each other.

Valentino is the man that Stuart was talking about and Valentino turns out to be exactly what Stuart said he was and so much more. Of course Valentino is heart broken and grieving. Even though he is heartbroken he and Kellan start to get closer and Kellan and start to fall for one another till Valentino pushes him away.

Kellan is heartbroken but respects his wishes and eventually starts to move on with Blue, but once all of them come together unintentionally sparks start to fly between the three of them and they decide to become a trio. But nothing that is easy is worth it and there are so many obstacles these three men have to overcome to start towards their happily ever after.

I truly enjoyed this book. I cried with these characters. I got mad about some of the things these characters went through in the past. I laughed with them and I routed for them.

Blue is my favorite of the three I think. He is the light for all of them. He is so full of life that is hard to not to be happy when you are around him. He is full of spunk and he takes no BS off of anyone. He is just him and it is a take it or leave it type of person.

Kellan is the one that hold them all together. He is the one that is caring, compassionate, and at some points the peace keeper. He is the voice of reason and he loves these two men unconditionally.

Valentino is the one that makes these two men realize that they are worth the love they are given. He shows these two men how beautiful they are both inside and out. He is also such a strong individual and just does not realize it.

I would highly recommend this book because it is so amazing.

Tosha

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Excerpt

Kellan gritted his teeth together and stood up. “I won’t leave you like this.”

“Get the hell out!!” Valentino gripped the base of his nose, rubbing it gruffly. His eyes snapped shut, but not quickly enough.

Kellan spotted the misty glimmer in them. Whether his tears were caused through sheer frustration or sadness, it didn’t matter. Kellan couldn’t leave. He’d have to be forced from the house by an armed response team. “No!” Kellan held his shoulders firmly. “I won’t leave you.”

“God-damn it, Kellan.” Valentino’s eyes flew open, and Kellan’s hands were thrust from him with a jerk. “You’re such a pain in the arse.” He leaned forward, almost hissing his words out against Kellan’s lips. “Why don’t you just leave me alone, huh? Why do you continue to push me when I don’t want it?”

Kellan’s body brushed against Valentino’s firm flesh, and he cursed himself for responding so quickly. “Don’t lie and say you don’t want me here when I know damn well what you want.” Kellan didn’t really know for sure, but there was a heat and need between them which couldn’t be ignored anymore. Valentino needed him, and Kellan was willing to hand over whatever he could to fulfil that need.

Valentino turned those teal green eyes on Kellan’s, a soft growl spilling from his lips.

“You’re a fucking tease! A tease, Kellan.”

Kellan was about to come back with a response, like how he had no idea he’d been teasing Valentino, but he was halted by two hands on either side of his head and Valentino’s mouth being forced against his. He stopped breathing, too stunned to act.

Valentino had his face clasped tightly to his, those full lips hitting Kellan’s hard and fast, his tongue licking and seeking entrance inside.

A white hot shot of lust spiked through his body and every thought other than being against this writhing, sexy man disappeared. Kellan grabbed hold of Valentino’s hips, rushing him up against the wall and taking ownership of his mouth with a grunt.

Valentino bit down on his lip causing Kellan to pull back. As soon as they separated, Valentino had the upper hand and was spinning him around, holding him against the wall and spreading his thighs open with his knee, rubbing up against the hard length of Kellan’s cock. Despite knowing he could easily restrain Valentino and take control back, he didn’t want to. He wanted this from him. “You know what I want?” Valentino breathed out through their kisses. “You want to give me what I need, Kellan?”

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4 stars for Second Skin by Alex Whitehall #Trans #MM #ScienceFiction @alexwhitehall

CoverTitle: Second Skin
Author Name & Publisher: Alex Whitehall (Riptide Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: April 11, 2016 – 90 pgs

Synopsis

When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.

That’s when things get tricky.

Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.

But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.

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Review

FourStarsGoing into this book I only knew half of what to expect. I had never read a transgender story so I was very excited to read this book. I knew that Jay is transgender and is struggling to get through his college years just like any other college student.

When Roswell’s secret is revealed it wasn’t what I had expected at all. I don’t want to say that I was disappointed after that, but I wish I had had some sort of clue as to the direction this story would go. And no, I don’t think the cover of the story was enough of an indication.

I still enjoyed the story. It is very well written, and I have never DNF’d a book. Although there’s no indication of a sequel to this book, I can’t help but wonder if that thought is in the back of the author’s the mind based on the ending of the book. I feel like the lives of Jay/Damien and Roswell are left hanging in the balance at the end. I wish I could give the story 5 stars, but not knowing the direction the story would take me was a bit of a mood killer. Especially when this was my first transgender story. I’m sorry.

~Kris

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TWO 5 stars for A Year Less Three Days by Alyx J. Shaw & Mychael Black #MM #Romance #Paranormal

29638780

Title: A Year Less Three Days
Author Name & Publisher: Alyx J. Shaw & Mychael Black (Samhain Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: May 31, 2016 — 133 Pages

Synopsis

Only love will save them…if it can survive the pits of the damned.

When Lias’s wife was kidnapped, all his skills as a woodsman couldn’t save her—or himself. Captured, sold repeatedly to different masters, Lias endures abuse, torture, and worse. By the time his latest master buys him, Lias is little more than an animal.

He is a creature of rage and hate, antagonizing his master at every turn, lashing out at his boundaries, waiting and watching for a chance to escape and return to his children—or die trying.

At times, Necromis, a knight of the Order of the White Bear, would like nothing more than to oblige his aggravating new charge, but one thing stays his deadly hand. Lias is his last hope. Long ago, Necromis made a deal with a demon named Bonecracker to gain fame, wealth, and respect.

But the day of reckoning is coming, and there’s only one way out of this bargain—capture the heart of a broken slave, or Necromis’s soul will forever belong to Bonecracker.

Warning: Mention of rape, violence.

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Review

FiveStars

This book is nothing like I thought it would be and definitely did not turn out how I thought it would either. None the less it was a book full of magic, demons, curses, love that passed and new love that transpired. It was truely an intriguing read that I really enjoyed.

Necromis made a deal with a demon to save the man he loved from being a slave. But the demon tricked him and Sterling did not make it. To break the curse Necromis had to make a slave that was straight fall in love with him and the feat was not an easy one. But it did happen and Lias did eventually fall in love with him and broke the spell. But that is not where it ended and it was heart breaking what transpired.

At first I was not a fan of Necromis but the more I read of the book the more I realized that everything that Necromis did he did for the love that he had felt for Sterling and it may not have all played out the way he hoped but everything that happened to him led him to Lias and a love so strong that each of the two men was willing to sacrifice themselves for the other. There was a sacrifice but I will not say or spoil which man made the sacrifice nor will I say what the sacrifice was. I will say that I found myself crying and asking why it happened the way it did. But even with crying I still enjoyed this book and I still loved how this book played out. Alyx did an amazing job with this book. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

~Tosha

FiveStars

Lias is a broken man. A mere shell of the husband and father he once was. He has all but, had the life beaten out of him. As he comes to terms with the fact he may never see his children again, he is sold one last time to a new Master.

Necromis is damned by the devil. In the hopes of spending the rest of his life with his lover Sterling, Necromis is given status of a Knight by Bonecracker in exchange for something else. After the deal is made Sterling’s Master kills him to spite Necromis. Necromis is distraught with anger and guilt for not saving Sterling. To save his own life now he must save the life and earn the love of another man. Not just any man, a man who has only had feelings for women in the past.

Lias must learn to trust Necromis and understand that not all Masters are evil. And Necromis must show Lias that he can love a man just the same as loving a woman. And it just may be possible the relationship is better than either has ever experienced.

This is a fantasy story, so if that is not your cuppa this book is not for you. The book is well written and kept me hooked from beginning to end.

~Kris

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TWO 5 stars for The Visitor by Evey Brett @EveyBrett #MM #Paranormal #Mystery #Romance

29723382

Title: The Visitor
Author Name & Publisher: Evey Brett (Lethe Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 24, 2016 — 24 Pages

Synopsis

When John finds himself wandering along a muddy road, he has no idea how he got there or why he’s covered in bruises. The only clue is the uniform identifying him as a footman from the nearby Rothingham Hall – and the mere thought of returning there terrifies him.

When the kindly Lotd Vanderley finds him, John is taken in and provided with a new position as well as comfort and safety. His wounds heal, all except for the bloody marks on his neck which refuse to mend. Then the nightmares come, allayed only by the tender, erotic comfort provided by an anonymous male visitor in the night.

Slowly, John begins to piece together his past, but once unsettling truths come to light, he must risk everything in order to end a legacy of fear and suffering – and to prove his loyalty to a man he’s forbidden to love.

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Review

FiveStars

This is ashore story about a young man named John who has no clue where he came from or what happened to him. He is taken in by Lord Vanderley. That is when all the weird things he is frightened of from his dreams start becoming a reality that he never knew existed.

This book as I said is a short story that takes place back in the day when Lords of the manor where present and when homosexuality was not accepted and people was killed for it.

This short story is about the conflicting emotions one feels about being a man and being attracted to another man even though it is in a time that is unexpected. It is about that man being confused and scared but also excepting to those feelings and pleasures. But it also a short story about both good and bad vampires and the experience one can go through when encountering both the good and bad vampires. Last but not least, it is about excepting ones fate and the love that should not be for many reasons.

It is a quick read but it is a very interesting story. I found I was constantly trying to figure out what happened to John to cause him to not remember and I never came up with what actually happened until Evey was ready to reveal it in the story.

Very good short story with twist and turns.

~Tosha

FiveStars

A wonderful story was revealed in very few words. I enjoy books like this. They keep my imagination from going stagnant. You’ll find a lot of mystery, some romance, and a quite a bit of nail biting suspense.

After being rescued from the side of the road, found beaten and unable to remember anything, John is taken in by Lord Vanderley. He is given a Footman position while he heals from his injuries. Although he is grateful for the home and the kindness shown to him, John is haunted by his nightmares at all hours of the day as well as in his dreams. Until he is visited by someone during the night, who eases his nightmares and soothes him into restful sleep.

As time goes on John pieces together memories and snippets of his past. Certain smells and names bring unpleasant thoughts and the nightmares begin again. And just like the first time, the stranger returns to John’s bed in the middle of the night to ease his mind. When John is reconnected with his former owner, all the horrible memories of that night he was found by Lord Vanderley come rushing back. Including the unspeakable things John was forced to do because his former Master held a spell over him. John begs Lord Vanderley to forgive him, only to discover Lord Vanderley is hiding secrets of his own. Together they free John from his former demons and ignite their passion for each other.

I am shocked at how a book with so few pages could hold so much story line. The story was well written held my attention to the end.

~Kris

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THREE 5 stars and ONE 4.5 star for Torn: A Bi-Erotic Novella by E. B. Barrett @storiesbyEB #bisexual #erotic #BDSM

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Title: Torn: A Bi-Erotic Novella
Author Name & Publisher: E. B. Barrett
Publication Date & Length: May 13, 2015 — 113 Pages

Synopsis

Fresh from college graduation and his girlfriend’s decision to leave him, James Stevenson spends a summer in Amsterdam coping with unrequited love and the challenge of his identity. Trapped within family and social expectations, he finds himself still in love with Amee and unable to express his desire for the brilliant, compassionate Professor Joshua Thomas. As James works through his past and present, we follow him on an emotional and sexual journey of self-acceptance.

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Review

FiveStars

Torn is such an appropriate name for this book. When I first started reading it I kept wondering what is the deal. Is he gay, bi-curious, straight, what? Then as I read a couple of the chapters it became clear to me, James was asking himself the same questions. He was questioning his attraction to his girlfriend at the time Amee and the fact that he was open to trying the new ideas that she wanted to try. I think that Amee played a huge role in James life and him figuring out what his true self was. Amee questioned what she liked as far as sexually and brought James along for the ride. Of course Amee being more open minded with herself then James was with himself…. She found her way quicker then he did. Along with doing that she realized that James was not only attracted to her but to also me and she did not have a problem with that. She encouraged James to find himself as far as sexually where men was concerned and figured out he would not do that if they stayed together. So she ended the relationship but not their friendship or her support. And she made it known that the door would always be open for him.

James had a harder time excepting himself then Amee did but he knew with it a doubt that he loved Amee but that he was in love with Joshua his former professor.

Joshua was another strong role in this book. He is gay but he too excepted that James was Bi and that yes they may be in a relationship with one another but that Amee gave James something that he could not and he was excepting and encouraging of it.

This book was written beautifully and took you through the confusion of trying figure out where one could be happy with who they are without feeling guilty for it. It is an amazing story. I can honestly imagine someone going through something like this in real life and worrying about being happy with who they are and excepted for who they are instead of what they want. E.B. Barrett did an amazing job on this book. Loved it from start to finish.

~Tosha

FiveStars

Elegant, flawless writing, exquisitely crafted characters and a completely filthy imagination make for an unforgettable story.  In fact, this might just be the most powerful erotic story I can remember reading.

On one level, this is a new adult story of self-discovery.  At college, James’ girlfriend pushes him beyond his comfort zone as she drags him along on her quest to find her kink.  After college, James pursues a crush on a former professor as he explores his own kinks in Amsterdam.

The struggle of a mathematical genius to find his place in the world is also the struggle of the bisexual young adult to discover his sexual identity while forming the relationships that will shape his life.   

I think my reaction to this story was so powerful because the author made me care fiercely for James, for Amee in all her guises, and for our good professor.  This is sexier because of the humanity the writer brings to her characters.  

I love the lack of judgement, the strong relationships that exist beyond the boundaries of heteronormative structures and I love the range of imaginative sexual encounters in this story.  I recommend this for readers who enjoy erotica but find themselves unmoved by formulaic BDSM stories full of recycled characters and scenarios.  This is different and I absolutely loved it.  

~Sarah

FiveStars

This book in my opinion is awesome! The author really hit on what I think a lot of our younger generation questions about themselves. I think it’s only natural to question which sex you’re attracted to. I also think it’s only natural to experiment when you’re young.

James and Amee do that. Amee really pushes James to go outside his box. As the 2 lovers experiment, Amee discovers she is a Dominatrix and James hasn’t lost the love he felt for his professor, Joseph.

The 2 part ways so Amee can pursue her dominant side and James can try to find what/who makes him happy. We are taken on a journey between his past and present self as James discovers who he is and how to accept himself for loving the people he loves.

The story is well written and keeps the reader engaged to the end. I had some serious Aha moments myself while reading this story. I love when I can read a book and it makes me question myself or something I believe about myself. That’s great.

~Kris

FourandHalfStars

This was written more like a nonfiction memoir than a fictional story to me, but that’s what made it so excellent to me. It was raw and real and sexy and honest.
James is trying to figure out who he is and what to do about the feelings he has. I have to say that I loved the erotic encounters that he has while he is also growing and learning what he wants and needs. There is a dual love story we see, but I have to say I preferred the one with Joshua over Amee. I felt like we missed out on some of the love that was there between James and Amee because she was so focused on finding herself. However, I did feel that there was something special between them, but the emotional connection and feelings really shown through for James and Joshua.
This was an excellent story about a man discovering himself and acknowledging that he was bisexual, not gay and hiding, not straight hetero, but somewhere between and being okay with that.
Renee

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5 star, 4 star and 3 star reviews for The Little Things by Jay Northcote @Jay_Northcote #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

29850625

Title: The Little Things
Author Name & Publisher: Jay Northcote (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 2016 — 214 pages

Synopsis

There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter, Evie, is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.

Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.

Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

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Review

FourStars

This is a slow, honest story about a very ordinary young man whose life is upended by  a sudden loss.  While this may not be the best paced or plotted of Jay Northcote’s books, she manages to capture Joel’s overwhelming grief with wonderful sensitivity.

I really enjoyed the characterisation in this book and there were a few chapters I couldn’t stop myself from crying through.  While Joel and Evie are the most thoroughly developed characters, the supporting characters are complicated and very real.  I don’t always enjoy children in fiction, but Evie is almost perfectly crafted.

At times, the low-key realism is too slow for me.  The more mundane details of Joel’s life drag and become tedious in parts.  I’m not sure an honest study of grief could be anything but slow and difficult, but I found this a little bit too real at times.  

This is a difficult book.  There are spots of joy and there is some hope offered by the end but this packs quite an emotional punch.  It is advertised as an m/m romance, but while there is a little romance, it is secondary to the story of Joel’s grief and the story of his struggle to keep his little family functional.  

~Sarah

FiveStars

This book had so many emotions coming out in me. It is a happy, sad, heart breaking, frustrating, emotional book.

Joel is a father to 3 year old Named Evie. He and his best friend, Claire, got pregnant with her in college and decided the best way to raise Claire is through co parenting where she is with one or the other for equal amount of time. And it is working perfectly for them. Then one night everything changed when Claire was in a car accident that took her from all those hat loved her dearly. Joel found himself being a single parent raising his beautiful daughter on his own and losing his best friend to boot. Shortly after Claire’s passing Joel kept bumping into a man that intrigued Joel but there was always something in the way of them getting to know one another better (That something was Dan, Joel’s part time boyfriend). Finally the last time they ran into one another at the children’s ward when Evie got sick Joel and Liam exchange phone numbers and that is when the fun and living again begins.

As I said this book was very emotional. I cried when Claire passed away. It broke my heart for Joel losing his best friend and his life being turned upside down. I cried when Evie would ask for her mommy because she just did not understand. I was frustrated when Joel tried keeping in a relationship with Dan when it was so obvious that they was in different places in there lives. I was happy when Joel and Liam started talking and when Liam was not only interested in Joel but also in Evie. Then I was frustrated again with Joel for not realizing that what him and Liam had was a good thing but he was too scared to let it happen and decided it was best to not see where things could go. I was heart broken for Evie who did not understand why people would come into her life and then leave again.

This book was an amazing story of someone’s life being turned upside down and the kindle of strength it took to fight their way back to steady ground even though things would never be the way they once where. It is very inspiring, although still emotional. Jay did an excellent job of pulling all the emotions out of the readers and made this an amazing story because of it.

~Tosha

ThreeStar

Although I enjoyed this book I had a difficult time getting to the end. I feel like some of the story line just didn’t belong in the book. And even though I did that I was still able to understand the plot of the story. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

I feel bad for Joel because I know what it’s like to share parenthood with someone and then they’re gone. It’s difficult sometimes to accept that life can go on when you’ve lost that someone who feels like your other half.

I liked Liam. He was a no nonsense, tell it like is kind of guy. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to say it.

I wish I could give this book a 5-star review, but I just can’t. There’s just too much going on throughout the book. I can appreciate wanting to tell us about Joel’s sister and her struggles to have a baby, but then she should get her own story. Don’t include it with Joel and Liam.

~Kris

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Pre Release Reviews! THREE 4 Star and ONE 5 Star Review for Against the Rules (Boundaries #2) by A.R. Barley #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Against the Rules (Boundaries #2)
Author Name & Publisher: A.R. Barley (Carina Press)
Publication Date: June 6, 2016

Synopsis

Kelly O’Connell’s out of control

An RA at Halton University, he spends his off nights at a club, hoping to find what he’s looking for in rough sex with strangers.

Until one night the play gets a little too rough. An isolated room, a dangerous situation…and an unexpected rescue.

Ian Rankin knows what Kelly wants—a true Dom, someone who will protect him instead of using him, someone who can take him to the edge without pushing him into unsafe territory.

Ian knows just what Kelly needs, and he’s the only man who can give it to him.

There’s only one problem: Kelly is a student, and Ian is a teacher.

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Review

FourStars

This book in my opinion is about letting go of the pain that grips someone and standing up for themselves and making their own decisions. It is a well thought out book that goes through all the steps that one would most likely go through in this type of situation.

Kelly is a few months from graduating from the university and his whole life is up in shambles. He lost his father to drunk driving and then shortly after his mother to cancer. He still has nightmares about her passing and nothing seems to stop them except a night of rough, sometimes kinky, sex. So that is what Kelly looks for to try and help dull the pain from his loss. One night while at the club things go almost to far when a guy he had been with previously decides to up the stakes. Kelley is rescued by Ian. From that point forward things were about to change with Ian’s help.

Kelley reminds me of someone who is drowning in pain and heartache. He cannot face what has happened in his life so instead he lets everyone decide what he does…. His family, his friends, his professors. I guess he feels it is better for them to take over for him so he does not have to decide for himself and in doing so he will not make the wrong decision. I think that he is misguided in the thinking that pain will take his pain away. I agree that he is submissive to an extent but I think that what he is really looking for is someone to love him and someone he can love. He wants someone to help himself hold himself accountable for stupid decisions he makes but done so by someone who loves him and not intentionally hurt him.

Ian is looking for the same thing that Kelley is lookin for but he is dominate. He tries to give Kelley what he needs but he falls in love with him to. I think Kelley does just as much for Ian as Ian does for Kelley because I believe that Isn is carrying around guilt about his former sub/boyfriend that he had not let go of. He lets it get into his head and almost loses the man he loves because it.

I really enjoyed reading this book and taking the journey right along with Ian and Kelley. It is an amazing story.

Tosha

FourStars

So, I know that I gave book #1 4 stars and I gave this one 4 stars, but this one was not as good as the first one.

There were some elements of BDSM in theory, but it was not practiced well and was very unsafe.  The two MC didn’t know much about each other, their own limits, each others limits and so overall, this was not a good BDSM story.

While I was looking forward to Kelly’s story, I found that I didn’t really like the people he was surrounded with.  His family, while family, were meddlesome and super supportive for most of the story.  Kelly was floundering in his own way and the only way he knew how to feel was by putting himself in dangerous situations.  Even though he was looking for something, even he didn’t know what he was looking for until he met Ian.

Ian is kind of an enigma in himself – he was a professor, but seemed to lack a sense of direction himself.  After his chance encounter with Kelly, he reiterated several times that he didn’t date students.  However, he was contradictory, because that’s just what he did.

Overall, this was a well written story, it just had elements that I didn’t really like.  The two MC went on their own personal journey, found where they wanted to go and learned hard lessons along the way, but the story was just ho-hum compared to the first story.

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FourStars

I had a really odd reaction to this story. I loved both characters on their own. Kelly, the grieving, self-destructive student and Ian, the dominatrix turned professor are both beautifully drawn. I loved the clash of Kelly’s white collar, ivory tower Upstate New York upbringing with Ian’s more humble Chicago/LA roots.

My problem is with the two men together. Ian isn’t too much older than Kelly, but he is an adult, a professor at Kelly’s university who decides to initiate Kelly into a BDSM relationship with minimal communication and dubious consent. Unsafe BDSM, even in books, makes me squeamish. And with such a shaky foundation, I found it very difficult to believe in the romance between the two men.

But I also really enjoyed parts of this book. Kelly’s grief, his choices as he prepares to graduate university, his friendships and his family – these are all beautifully written. Ian’s struggles with his family, his work and his professional relationships are also pretty special.

So, if you don’t scrutinise the BDSM aspects of this story too hard, it is a really satisfying read.

Sarah

FiveStars

I was very excited to read this book. I wanted to know what Kelly’s story was as soon as he was introduced in Boundaries book 1. I had high expectations going in and I don’t think the author disappointed.

Kelly is a lost soul when Ian comes into his life. Kelly has just lost both his parents. He’s finishing his college degree and his aunts are pressuring him to sell his childhood home and move away without any regard to what he wants. The dean of the college, who was a longtime friend of his mother’s, has also just offered him the job of being his Administrative Assistant. Kelly feels pressured by the people he should be able to count on the most in his life for support. Kelly finds the control he needs from his struggles the only way he knows how, drinking and sex.

Ian is drawn to Kelly as soon as he rescues him from his abusers in the restroom at the nightclub. Ian can tell he’s struggling with a lack of control in his life and offers him an outlet through safe, consensual BDSM. Even though Ian and Kelly both know it’s probably not a good idea to start dating, they do because Kelly is only a few months from graduation. No one knows they’re dating except Nick and Jesse.

I think troubles begin in the relationship because there is a lack of communication between the MC’s. Kelly says he has no limits when it comes to his sexual needs and Ian doesn’t do the relationship any justice when he doesn’t set boundaries when it comes to his dominant side.

The last few chapters may seem a little rushed to get to the ending, BUT, the story still had the HEA because the MC’s finally sat down and discussed what they wanted from the relationship and how to communicate that to each other and what their limits and boundaries are. Kelly was finally able to stand up to his Aunts and he accepted the job with the dean.

~Kris

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