Tag Archives: Family

5 Stars for No More Hiding by Renee Stevens #MM #Romance

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Title: No More Hiding
Author Name & Publisher: Renee Stevens (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 12, 2015 – 256 pgs

Synopsis

Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he’s been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?
When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.
Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip’s chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?

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Review FiveStars OMG, I don’t even know how to review this book and do it justice. I am on a review team, I read a lot of books and sometimes when I start a book, it has been a little bit since I signed up to review it and on occasion I forget what the blurb about the book says. This is the case with this book. Going off the title I thought it was just another story about a closet gay man and finally coming out and not hiding. Oh no, this book was SO much more. I read this book in one sitting, I didn’t get up, I didn’t move. I was hooked from the start and honestly never wanted it to end. I don’t want give any of the plot away, you have to read it to experience the emotions that I felt when reading. Phillip is an amazing man, he went through so much in this book, I felt like I was with him every step of the way. When he hurt, I hurt, when he cried, I balled like a baby, when he fell in love, so did I. Vance was an amazing guy from the start and he kept getting better and better. I also loved Robert, Phillips twin and his family. This book had drama, angst, heartache, sadness, happiness and romance. A beautiful story that dealt with very difficult issues and felt so real, simply amazing, one book I will recommend to everyone and read again and again.

Angie

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5 Stars for Twelfth Night (Love’s Labours #2) by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae #MM #Romance @racheline_m @erincmcrae

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Title: Twelfth Night (Love’s Labours #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 12, 2015 – 68 pgs

Synopsis

Michael and John, a May/December couple, navigate the repercussions of their gay-for-you love affair in the hothouse of a summerstock theater production.

Back in New York City at the conclusion of their show’s run, John is overwhelmed by his obsession with Michael and the difficulties of learning to date again after the death of his young son and his recent divorce. John gradually comes out to his colleagues, his football rec league friends, and even his ex-wife.

But when he invites his parents over for Christmas to meet the person he’s been seeing, the holiday—featuring Michael’s family’s amateur production of Twelfth Night—quickly turns into a French farce of potentially catastrophic proportions, forcing John to finally take the lead in claiming his evolving identity as he takes the next step in his relationship with Michael.

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Review FiveStars

This is a terrific sequel to Midsummer. It’s definitely necessary to have read the first one in order to understand the relationship dynamics between Michael and John. I liked this one slightly less, but only because I think it lacked just a bit of the magic that made the first one so wonderful and memorable.

The story is entirely told in John’s point of view, so we only ever see the somewhat otherworldly Michael through his eyes. That’s part of what intrigued me in this story. I kept feeling frustrated with Michael because it seems at first that he’s erasing John’s bisexuality and expecting him to identify as gay. However, that’s not what’s happening, and when that’s revealed, it changes the whole perspective–and that’s why it’s important that it’s not in his POV; this is really John’s relationship psychology that we’re seeing. The moment when John realizes it along with the reader is definitely a highlight for me.

Other readers may get something else out of the story, and certainly fans of sensual, romantic stories will love this one even without being motivated by the underlying themes. For me, it’s the literary flair which makes the story worthwhile. This is incredibly well-written and nuanced; it’s simply marvelous.

Amy M.

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5 and 4 stars for Of Love by Sean Michael #MM #Romance #Family @Dreamspinners

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Title: Of Love
Author Name & Publisher: Sean Michael — Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date & Length: June 24, 2015 — 136 pages

Synopsis

Free-spirited computer programmer Kent McMann loves life, candy, his family, and his job designing apps. With his go-getter attitude, he succeeds at anything he tackles. So having a child with a surrogate mother is the perfect start to the family he’s always wanted, even though he still hasn’t found his longed-for Mr. Right.

Then, into Kent’s life comes triathlete Dex Lochland, who also happens to be a successful app designer, and the two of them hit it off. They soon begin a relationship full of fun, sex, laughter, and love. But when Kent learns his attempt at fatherhood with the surrogate has succeeded, Dex is shocked. Unknown to Kent until that moment, Dex has never wanted children.

Kent’s decision before he met Dex might cost him the man of his dreams.

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Review

FiveStars

What a lovely story full of pure sweetness. Though the primary relationship arc is about Kent and Dex, this is about so much more. The title is perfect because there are so many kinds of love shown–friendship, romance, parent and child, extended family.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first. The beginning didn’t draw me in right away. The reason Dex and Kent meet is because of Dex’s pushy friend. I got a little nervous that it might be all about Dex’s failure to commit and having his nosy friend in the way. I was also a bit worried it was going to focus on Dex’s fitness. Fortunately, neither of those things is true, so readers who don’t like those elements should really just push past the first chapter.

There is a lot–and I mean a lot–of descriptive sex. That’s fine, and many readers will love it. I found myself skimming because I was more interested in the rest of the story. It didn’t bother me or make me not like it; it was just something I noticed.

This is pretty much an angst-free, charming, sexy story. It’s not about overcoming some big obstacle or facing the past or emotional drama. It’s about two people who grow to love each other and have no problem admitting just how much in every way possible. Both Kent and Dex are likable and charming, and they both grow as people. Dex’s transformation is more obvious, but there are some subtle changes in Kent, too.

All in all, this is a delicious slice-of-life story, perfect for a beach read or a lazy weekend afternoon

Amy

FourStars

I love this story.  Kent is a fabulous main character and Kent and Dex together are just about perfect.

An independently affluent computer programmer, Kent is ready to be a parent.  He may not have a partner, but he does have a surrogate, an IVF clinic and an incredibly supportive family.  Dex has never wanted a family.  The triathlete trains hard and lives for his sport.

But from the moment they meet, Dex and Kent are inseparable.  The entirely convincing hook-up turns friends-with-benefits turns something-more is so sweet and so natural that it is actually amazingly romantic.

Only someone independently wealthy working from home could deal with Dex’s rigid training routine, and only someone with rigid self-discipline could manage the wonderfully erratic Kent.  The men aren’t perfect, but they are perfectly matched.

I usually avoid books involving pregnancy and small children, but Kent and Dex’s reactions to the pregnancy were brilliant.  There were a few soppy moments, but the baby parts of the book were managed with humour and some very realistic scenes of panic and sheer terror.  I’m not sure I want to read about the ‘happy family’ next stage of their lives, but I actually enjoyed the pregnancy story.

I’ve awarded four stars because this is a little too saccharine and a little too cozily domestic for me.  I personally prefer Sean Michael when he is writing about more alternative lifestyles, but I know that many readers love their romance sweet and their lifestyles traditional.  I’m sure those readers will absolutely love this book.

~Sarah

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5 Stars for Two by Two by Debbie McGowan #MM #Family @writerdebmcg @b10track

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Title: Two By Two (Hiding Behind the Couch #6)
Author Name & Publisher: Debbie McGowan – Beaten Track Publishing
Publication Date & Length: March 31, 2015 – 815 pgs

Synopsis

Two pregnancies, two babies, two troubled teens. Two psychologists hunting down the leader of a deadly cult.

When Libby takes a stand against her abusive parents, Josh and George readily make her a part of their family. However, her parents may have been involved in something altogether more sinister, and now The Circle must draw together to protect both Libby and her friend Adam.

Meanwhile, two unexpected guests seek sanctuary in Shaunna and Andy’s new home, but that’s only a part of it, and they soon realise something is very wrong. Someone is watching them…

All this and more in Two By Two: Season Six of Hiding Behind The Couch.

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Review

FiveStars

If I wasn’t sure before, this book sealed Debbie McGowan as one of my favorite authors. I’ve yet to find anything she’s written that I didn’t love.

I can’t say much about the story itself without giving spoilers. This is the most recent part of her ongoing Hiding Behind the Couch series, and it’s fairly important to read them in order for context about the relationships among the characters. Readers can catch on for the most part, but without reading the other parts, it’s difficult to understand a lot of the motivations.

For the most part, although I’ve grown to love all the characters, I really just read these stories for Josh. He is one of my favorite characters in any book, and I love seeing the world through his eyes. He’s complex and interesting, and the best part of this installment in the series is seeing how he’s developed over time.

What I like about Ms. McGowan’s writing is that there’s a realness to it. Her characters deal with some serious issues, but in a way that doesn’t feel played for melodrama. At times, this makes it an emotional read for me because many of their issues are so close to home for me.

The other thing readers should know is that this novel is epically long. I found (due to the emotional impact and the length) that it was best to read it in smaller chunks. It’s easy enough to do, as there are several intersecting storylines and the POV switches frequently. It reads a bit like how it would be if someone put a television series in novel format. I enjoy it, though I suspect there are readers who would find it not to their taste.

I’m looking forward to reading more about these characters (I’ve read the series but not most of the stand-alone companion stories). I highly recommend this, reinforcing that it’s important to start at the beginning for the best experience.

Amy

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5 Stars for Hiding Out (Checking Him Out #3) by Debbie McGowan #MM @writerdebmcg @b10track

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Title: Hiding Out (Checking Him Out #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Debbie McGowan (Beaten Track)
Publication Date & Length: March 18 2015 – 85pgs

Synopsis

If any adult was going to get the chicken pox, it would be Sean Tierney. That alone would be bad enough, but his illness means friend and colleague, Josh Sandison-Morley, has to step in and face his fears: guest-speaking at a university in Norwich. As Josh gathers his husband and his foster daughter for the trip, he is unaware that their world is about to collide with that of another makeshift family: Noah and Matty’s.

Matty is agonising over his impending dance show. Sure, talent scouts will be in the audience, but there’s an even bigger problem. Noah—Matty’s on-again, off-again boyfriend—has promised to be there too. And Matty’s dance? It has a secret meaning he’s not sure he’s ready to reveal to Noah.

Can Josh and Matty face their fears and perform for their respective crowds? More importantly, will the Sandison-Morleys’ influence be enough to get the young men to express their feelings to each other before it’s too late?

* * * * *

This novella continues the stories of Josh and George from the Hiding Behind the Couch Series and Matty and Noah from the Checking Him Out Series.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a short, sweet crossover story between the Hiding Behind the Couch series and the Checking Him Out series. It’s not necessary to have read any stories in either world, though it does help provide some character context. There’s enough information provided to enjoy the story without it.

There are two converging storylines: One about Josh and his family and one about Matty and Noah. Crossovers are tricky and can end up feeling forced or cliched, but there was none of that here. The interactions are relatively brief and have only minor impact in either world–a lot like real life.

As much as I enjoyed meeting Matty and Noah (I haven’t read the other books with them), Josh is just about my favorite character in any series ever, and I could read about him forever. It’s his insights which are the backbone of any story in which he appears. His interactions with the other characters are odd, charming, and perceptive, and I enjoy seeing the world through his eyes.

What I find so delightful about the Hiding Behind the Couch series is that it feels very much like a book version of a favorite television serial. Every time I pick one up, it’s like tuning in to see what happens next. I love Ms. McGowan’s smart, classy style and the way so much of the story emphasizes the psychology of the characters. Even in such a short story, all the strong personalities are evident.

Another well-written, enjoyable tale.

Amy

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4 Stars for The Shared Harvest by D.W. Marchell #MM #Family @Dreamspinners

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Title: The Shared Harvest
Author Name & Publisher: D.W. Marchell (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 22, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Doug Johnston is his brother Paul’s primary caregiver. Though Paul’s disease dictates he shouldn’t live past the age of twenty-five, Paul’s thirtieth birthday is a few months away. The brothers have only had each other since their mother passed away years earlier and their father left shortly after Paul’s diagnosis with Becker’s muscular dystrophy. Though mostly happy with his life, Doug would love to be in a relationship, but he won’t settle for anyone but the perfect man.

Carson Oliver used to be the man everyone recognized and wanted, But when the top-rated DIY program he hosted was canceled in the late 90s, he sought comfort in food… lots of food. While he owns a landscaping business and family farm, he doesn’t think life has much more to offer than working and taking care of his ailing mother. When he meets Doug, the attraction is immediate. It is aided by an important role Carson once played in Doug and Paul’s lives—one Carson doesn’t remember but they’ve never forgotten.

When Carson doesn’t believe anyone can possibly want him the way he is, Doug sets out to prove him wrong. With the assistance of his enthusiastic brother, Carson’s unrestrained mother, and her crazy cat, Doug just might get the job done.

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Review

FourStars

This was a slow, sweet story. Both the main characters are caregivers, Doug for his brother and Carson for his mother. Doug’s commitments have prevented a relationship, while Carson, a former TV presenter, feels old and unattractive.

Slowly, the men come together, their lives merging, their burdens shared. They build each others’ confidence and become partners. Supporting characters are carefully drawn and Carson’s family farm provides a beautiful backdrop to the story.

This isn’t an exciting book, it isn’t fast paced, and sex scenes are tender rather than erotic. This is a glimpse into the lives of two ordinary men who find each other despite their challenges and responsibilities. It is a book about love, loss and making new families with the people we care about. A gentle romance.

Sarah

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4 Stars for You In My Arms (Sunset Club #1) by A.C. Katt #MM #Romance

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TitleYou In My Arms (Sunset Club #1)
Author Name: A. C. Katt
Publication Date & Length: March 19, 2015 – 166 pgs

Synopsis

Jason’s priorities are non-negotiable: take care of his sister; keep a roof over their heads; go back to school eventually. Can one club owner make it easier to uphold his priorities and maybe add him to the list?

Jason Monroe had to leave school to be the guardian of his sister Kitty when his dad and step-mom die in a car crash. He’s working two jobs to keep them afloat, but their boat is leaking much like the roof of their old house. Jason doesn’t have time for love that is until Zach Montgomery, the owner of the Sunset Club, the premier gay club on the Jersey Shore comes calling.

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Review

FourStars
This is a very sweet story about families. The families we’re born into and the ones we make ourselves.

In the first installment of the Sunset Club series, Katt introduces a cast of complicated, intriguing characters. Her leading men, Jason and Zach are both gorgeous. It is impossible not to love the young, beautiful Jason, buckling under the weight of his responsibilities. And everyone has dreamed of a man like Zach stepping in and making life that little bit easier.

The supporting characters are the strength of this book. Precocious small girls, an elderly neighbour, interfering best friends and a kindly team of soccer players all add depth and colour to what might otherwise be a simple romance. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series and Katt has introduced us to several men I’d love to see paired up.

I lowered the star rating because of the number of times Jason’s hard luck story was told, retold, and told again. I understand various characters needed to talk about it, but surely the readers only needed to hear it once?

Ultimately, this is a gentle, thoroughly enjoyable romance. Even though Zach and Jason work in a gay nightclub, Jason’s family life remains the focus of the story, and his tiny sister Kitty is always his priority.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is new to both GLBT and to writing being, as she claims, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance. Her current releases (from MLR Press) include the award winning Rock and Roll novel Shattered Glass and her just released BDSM novel, A Matter of Trust

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5 Star Review for Living in Sin by Anastasia Vitsky #F/F #Family #Coming out @AnastasiaVitsky

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Title: Living in Sin

Author: Anastasia Vitsky

Publication Date: March 25th 2015

Synopsis

Come out to your family, or we’re through!

Sick of playing “roommate” for the sake of her girlfriend’s religious, tight-knit family, Audra issues an ultimatum: Tell your family, or I move out. After all, Audra’s family supports her and loves Ciara as a second daughter. Why would Ciara’s family be any different? Audra’s tired of hiding the reality of their lives. She puts Ciara first, so why can’t Ciara do the same?

Caught between her family and her girlfriend, Ciara resents being forced to choose. She tries to keep the peace by accepting her aunt’s endless blind dates and comforting her mother who care for Ciara’s dying grandmother. How can Ciara shatter her family by forcing the truth on them? How can she face life without Audra if she does not?

Agonized and at her wit’s end, Ciara receives an unexpected spirit visit that asks her hard questions. Does love require self-sacrifice? How much can she give up without losing herself?

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Review

FiveStars

I’ve read a number of Ms. Vitsky’s books, and each time, I think I couldn’t possibly love it more than the last one, only to be proven wrong.

This is a gentle, tender story about the ways our own raw places can unintentionally wound the people we love most. Ciara’s fear of rejection by her family is palpable. Even though the story is in first person from her POV, Audra’s emotions are also tangible. What I liked, though, was that it never dipped into emotional drama just for the sake of forcing a reaction. The feelings were realistic.

One of my favorite things Ms. Vitsky does in her work is examining the interplay of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. These are deeply human and deeply spiritual themes, and she’s excellent at viewing different angles. In this story, part of what makes it so good is when the characters’ hidden reasons for their actions rise to the surface and they have the chance to understand each other. I was actually surprised by the ending, but I thought it was a perfect fit.

If you want a very quick read that will warm your heart while making you think, this is perfect.

~Amy

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authorbio

I am a multi-published author of F/F DD fiction, an active blogger, and a coordinator of various events to bring together writing, reading, and kink communities. Look for events such as Christmas in July, Advent Calendar, and Spankee Doodle Dandy.

My current releases include The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus (12/8/12), Desire in Any Language (1/18/13), and Editorial Board (3/2/13) from Blushing Books.

My newest release, The Way Home (Kat and Natalie, Volume One), came out 3/6/2013 and reached #31 on Amazon’s Top 100 list for F/F fiction.

I love to hear from readers!

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