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TWO 5 Stars for Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather #1) by Morticia Knight #MM #BDSM @Totally_Bound @MorticiaKnight

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Title: Bulding Bonds (Kiss of Leather #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Morticia Knight (Totally Bound Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 14, 2015 – 162 pgs

Synopsis

Kyle’s a natural sub who builds dungeon furniture, yet has no interest in BDSM. It takes a hunky Dom to show him just what he’s been missing.

After Kyle’s partner of five years leaves him for another man on the night of their housewarming party, the shy, early-thirties carpenter needs to do a major reassessment of his life in addition to raising some serious cash. With no one to help him pay the lease on his Los Angeles condo, he worries how he’ll survive. His best friend sets up a meeting with one of the Doms and partners at Kiss of Leather, a gay BDSM club being built as a premier destination for those who want the best of the best.

Master Gavin not only wants the best—he demands it. When he meets Kyle, he assumes that part of the builder’s reticence to share anything personal with him must be due to his experiences with an abusive former Master. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin determines to break through the walls surrounding the beautiful man he can’t get out of his mind. He’s hopeful that once he convinces Kyle to sign an initial contract, Kyle might be the first sub to open up his heart.

Misunderstandings and accusations almost destroy everything between them before they have a real chance to begin. However, the true obstacle becomes not only whether Kyle will embrace BDSM as a lifestyle, but also whether he can handle a full-time D/s relationship with a big, bad, scary Dom who’s as sexy as hell.

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Review

FiveStars

This book was just so good!

With this book you get Kyle who has just got out of a relationship because his partner has left him for another man. He also happens to be super shy which I thought was so funny with what he does for work, you would just never think of someone being shy building BDSM equipment. I have to say I also really loved Kyle’s character because besides being super shy he was also so strong and willing to try new things even though they made him very nervous.
Gavin is part owner along with two other men in the BDSM club that Kyle is build the equipment for. The instant he meets Kyle and sees how naturally submissive he is he knows he must have him as his sub.

I have to say I loved the way this author wrote this characters and this story. Also loved the BDSM aspect of this book too. I thought the way the Dom/ Sub relationship between these two men was written was very good. The only real thing I was hoping for was more of this two men together because I honestly did not want to stop reading their story it was just so good!

So I will leave this review with I really loved this book!
I would definitely recommend this book!

Kara

FiveStars

I loved this book and can’t wait to read each book as they come out. I loved how shy Kyle was and how he was always blushing; it was very endearing to me for some reason. Gavin was so patient with Kyle and you could tell both men truly had feelings and were really forming a bond and not just going through the motions. I wish we would have seen more of Kyle’s friend Marshall after everything was revealed but hopefully he will be in a future book. This was a sweet, loving story and I highly recommend it.

Angie

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New Release: 4 Star for The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb (Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm #2) by Vicktor Alexander (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #AlternateUniverse @VVeeB

1.5

Title: The Servant Duchess of Whitcomb (Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Vicktor Alexander (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 27, 2015 – 304 pgs

Synopsis

Orley Garrick is known throughout Angland not only as the man with two dukedoms but also as the hero who survived a brutal kidnapping at the hands of Nafoleon’s army, never once betraying the secrets of His Majesty. Still haunted by his memories, Orley pushes his crippled body to dangerous limits, all in an attempt to run from the demons of his past.

Until he meets Chester Boland, a maid in his friend’s household. Orley is besieged by desire for this gorgeous male woman, and by a connection he cannot ignore. But there are those within the Remmington Realm who take issue with the Duke’s choice—especially given Chester’s Tafrican lineage.

Having stared death in the face and won, Orley proposes they steal away and elope. However, before they can begin their new life, they uncover dangerous secrets that go deeper than they could ever imagine—involving those they trust the most.

Orley and Chester must discover exactly how deep these secrets run before their enemies make sure Chester is removed from Orley’s arms… forever.

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Review

FourStars

Let me say this world this author created was amazing! This is a warning that this is a MPEG book I know some are okay with that like me and some not so much! I do have to say the way the they delivered the baby was very different then anything I have read before.

Now I will admit I did not read the first book in this series before this one and I was honestly so lost through some of this book. I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this series before this one.

Orley is a duke who has fought in war and still has the scars both emotional and physically from this. He is visiting a good friend and is woken by the maid Chester which he feels a instant attraction towards. Chester also feels the same attraction towards Orley. They both go through a lot to be together.

Now with this book because I did not read the first book it took me awhile to figure out what was going on in this world. Chester was born a man but since he has female reproductive organs she/he is actually considered a woman just like some of the men in this world are born woman. The sex you were born is the name you are given hence Chester who was born a man but is a woman. I hope I explained that right. This is a very different take on transgender than I have ever read before and can I say I loved how the author wrote these characters even though it did take me awhile to figure everyone out.

Now as much as I loved these two characters and their story I have to admit there were a few parts that did drag for me.. But otherwise this book was filled with this amazing world that was created by this author that had some action, angst and so much steam.

All together I really liked this book!
I would recommend this book!

Kara

Excerpt

THE SHARP retort of gunfire exploded around Orley Garrick, Duke of Whitcomb, and he ducked, trying to avoid the debris and the bodies of fallen soldiers around him as he surged forward. The smoke from the countless rifles burned his eyes as he desperately looked for the person who had caught his eye. He heard the cries of the dying calling out to him as he rode his horse farther into the thick of battle. Using his sword, he cut down an enemy soldier who raced toward him, mouth open as he let out a battle cry. Orley closed his eyes against the spray of blood across his face and blocked out the sound of the man’s death gurgle as he fell to the ground beneath his own horse.

Orley raced on toward the figure in white who didn’t belong on the battlefield. He called out a warning, telling the woman to be careful, because there was no way a man would be on a battlefield wearing a long, flowing white chemise, free of dust and bloodstain, appearing almost angelic among the crowd of soldiers. The woman didn’t stop. Instead she walked straight toward the commander of the enemy soldiers, and fear filled Orley. He wasn’t sure why; he didn’t know the woman, and yet he could not let anything happen to her.

At that moment, the woman turned to look at him, and Orley gasped when he realized the woman in front of him was not female as he’d suspected but male. Why in the world was a lady on the battlefield?

“You should not be here!” he yelled, trying to warn the male, but just as he got close enough to lift the woman onto the back of his horse, an enemy soldier plunged his sword through the woman’s back and out through his chest.

Orley watched helplessly as the woman’s eyes widened moments before he collapsed to the ground, and a grief unlike aught he’d ever experienced ripped through him.

He was not sure how he knew, but the dying woman belonged to him, and someone had just taken him away.

Tossing his head back, Orley let out an anguished shout at the heavens.

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5 Stars for Other Side of the Line by Marguerite Labbe #MM #Interracial @MargueriteLabbe

1.5

Title: Other Side of the Line
Author Name & Publisher: Marguerite Labbe (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2015 – 330 pgs

Synopsis

Caleb Hudson and Hal Zimmer became best friends the day they stood up against the schoolyard bully together. Life’s complicated enough with their friendship crossing racial lines in 1960s Charleston, South Carolina, but as time passes, they realize it’s more than their friendship that sets them apart from other kids. At first, Caleb denies his feelings for Hal could be more than companionship. He supports his friend when Hal admits he’s gay, but Caleb isn’t ready to face his own truth.

Hal becomes a staunch antiwar protester, and the divide between them widens after Caleb is drafted. But when Caleb returns from Vietnam, the time for denial is over. His homecoming sets off a series of events that force Caleb and Hal to confront their desires and what lines they’re willing to cross to get what they truly want out of life.

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Review

FiveStars

This book was so beautiful… It starts of with Caleb and Hal in the future 2023, then it goes to the past when they were children and spans all the years of them growing up together to when they first admitted their attraction to each other. Usually I am not a fan of books that have a lot of past scenes in them but this book was so good!
They go through so much hate together when they were growing up to people thinking their relationship was not right at all. But they pushed through all of it and just wow!!!
This book really brings to light how ignorant some people were back than and even, now also how hateful some people can be of things they just do not understand.
You start of with them reminiscing with their children and their family on how they started and I have to tell you I could not put this book down once I started.
I want to leave this review with this book was beautiful, heartbreaking at points and painful but also so very sweet!
All together I really loved this book!
I would definitely recommend this book!
Kara

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5 and 3 Stars for New Release: Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #YA #shifter @author_cblee

Seven Tears 1600px COVER-Front

Title: Seven Tears at High Tide
Author Name & Publisher: C.B. Lee (Duet/Interlude)
Publication Date & Length: October 15, 2015 – 234 pgs

Synopsis

Kevin Luong walks to the ocean’s edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. “I just want one summer—one summer to be happy and in love.” Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific—a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn’t know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin’s wish. As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer’s end.

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Review

FiveStars

Kevin Luong ia a heartbroken, sixteen-year-old boy facing a summer of loneliness. Morgan is, well, a seal. A selkie, really. He hears Kevin’s wish cast to the sea, and answers it. Summer ensues.
I loved their story, and cried in parts, and was glad to see a young adult story with interesting conflicts, rather than the same old stuff. This story is really just two kids facing their last days of innocence, and about loving families.
C.B. excels at world-building. She creates a layered and deep mythos without ever explaining things in detail and cluttering up the story. A hint here, a mention there, and the entire Sea comes alive. Fantasy writers should read this, instead of trying to get me to memorize a bunch of names I’ve never heard before…anyway, past, present, and future are all represented elegantly.
My one small issue is that Kevin Luong never faces any internal struggle of his own. He gets to be perfect and be loved without offering Morgan a true partnership in return. He’s not perfect, though. But I quibble. He’s just a kid, and he’s easy to like.
Like shifter YA? Come read the best.
~ C. E. Case
ThreeStar

So, this is a young adult book about Kevin, a 16 year old suffering from a broken heart cause some guy he fell for wasn’t the prince charming he thought him to be, and made a wish that was granted.
What first drew me to the story was the description about the sea granting wishes. Cry seven tears at the right moment and make a wish…I’m tempted to go to the beach lol This was a sweet romance between Kevin and Morgan, the selkie sent by the sea to make Kevin happy.
The author did a good job with writing teen angst without being over the top with it, and being lonely, wanting to be accepted. I liked how Kevin was Asian. I don’t see a lot of mm books with Asian main characters. However, this is totally pure fantasy. Morgan wasn’t very convincing as human. Idk, the writing was odd in some places and i had to put the book down a couple of times. I’d recommend this to those just starting to read MM.
~Cookie

Excerpt

They wander into the house, wipe their wet feet on the welcome mat, climb up the stairs and giggle as they pass Ann’s bedroom. She’s dancing with her headphones on, oblivious to the open door, swaying to the beat.

In Kevin’s bedroom, he quickly scrounges up some clean shirts and shorts. “Here, you can wear this,” he says, handing an outfit to Morgan and then ducking into his bathroom to change.

He peels off the wetsuit and hangs it up in his shower, then leans his surfboard carefully against the wall, eyeing the crack. He’ll have to fix it tomorrow.

When he returns, Morgan is holding onto the wet board shorts, wearing the outfit Kevin gave him. He looks curiously at the rock collection prominently displayed on Kevin’s bookshelf.

“These are beautiful,” he says.

“Here, I’ll take that,” Kevin says, holding out his hand for the bedraggled board shorts to hang in his shower. He’s certain now that they’re the ones from the lifeguard’s lost and found.

Kevin’s starting to worry that Morgan doesn’t have any other clothes, but he doesn’t know how to bring it up. Money can be a touchy subject.

Morgan holds Kevin’s favorite specimen, a piece of green olivine on basalt. Kevin once almost convinced Ann it was an avocado roll—it certainly looks like one, bright green speckled with sesame seeds, wrapped in dark seaweed.

“That’s from Mexico. My family went on vacation to Baja last year, and I got that out of an old volcano.” He tries his best to describe the sweltering heat and the excitement of finding geodes and cracking them open with a hammer. Morgan listens in rapt silence as Kevin talks about the find and tilts the olivine so it catches the light. He sets it back in its spot behind its label, slowly so as not to disturb the other specimens, and Kevin is quietly pleased with Morgan’s careful appreciation.

“I changed my mind,” Kevin blurts out.

“About what?”

“I do want this to be a date. For us, to do that,” he says, blushing. “I like you. A lot.”

Morgan’s face breaks into a bright, happy smile.

“And what do we do differently, for this to be a date?”

Kevin can feel the heat on his cheeks. “We can hold hands, if you like. Um, or kiss, if you want to. But we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I’m fine just hanging out and watching a movie with you.”

Morgan tilts his head and steps closer. “I want to,” he says, not specifying what, but Kevin knows immediately.

It’s just the quickest brush of lips, but Kevin feels it all the way to his toes. A warm curl of excitement blooms throughout his body, and Morgan’s mouth is warm and wet against his. It’s not like any kiss he’s had, chaste and sweet and over in a second, and yet his heart is still pounding after Morgan leans back. He’s close enough for Kevin to be able to count the eyelashes dark against his cheek.

Morgan ducks his head and asks, “Was that okay?”

Kevin’s a little dazed, but he finds his voice. “Yeah. Yeah, that was great.”

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3 stars for Sex, Love, and Videogames (Serpentine #3) by CJane Elliott #MM #Trans @dreamspinners @CJaneElliott

SexLoveVideogamesFS

Title: Sex, Love, and Videogames
Author Name & Publisher: CJane Elliott (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 21, 2015 – 264 pgs

Synopsis

Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.

Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.

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Review

ThreeStar

This is a hard one for me to review because I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the positive side, I loved the characters. Jed and Charlie were both so likable, and their close friends were wonderful. I loved Myesha, and Morocco was a lot of fun. Both guys had many supportive friends around them, and I liked their families, too.

I loved the multicultural aspects of the story. I’m always happy to see more stories featuring characters who are not only white and middle class, and I love books with great trans characters. This book gets a win on that front.

Another thing I liked was that it wasn’t a traditional romance, and that wasn’t the only thing going on. I don’t need my love stories to focus exclusively on the relationship–in fact, I’d rather they not. So another plus.

On the other hand, there were a lot of things I struggled with about this book. For one thing, there was really no plot. A lot of things happened, but there was no running thread from start to finish other than various versions of people being closeted. There were a lot of loose ends, which I’m not sure relates to this being part of a series or if they really just won’t ever be resolved. I was bored for a lot of this book–the relationship between Jed and Charlie didn’t even start until 2/3 of the way in; they had almost nothing to do with each other before then. It was odd, given that, how they had instant love and declared “forever” at twenty or twenty-one.

I was really wary of the portrayal of the only “bisexual” characters. They seemed to be stereotypes and reinforced some negative things–that Black bisexual men are “on the down-low” and are responsible for spreading STIs to gay men and straight women and that white guys are “mostly straight” but like to have sex with men sometimes (and will probably lie to and cheat on their girlfriends/wives). I’m sure this wasn’t intentional, but it is something the bisexual community is actively working to change, so it upset me to see it shown in the book without anything to balance or challenge it.

In the end, I’m glad I read this, but I don’t think it was the book for me.

~Amy

Excerpt

“Okay, warm up laps!” Beau led the rugby team in a slow circuit around the perimeter of Mad Bowl. After a few laps, he stopped and had them do stretching exercises.

The other team did their warming up, and when they moved to take positions, Jed noticed a pair of people standing on the sidelines. His breathing stopped for a second. Charlie stood, hands in his pockets, shifting from foot to foot, while Morocco, a vision in a pink track suit, set up a camp chair (apt name, that) and sat down. Morocco saw Jed looking and waved. Charlie turned and gave a small wave himself, and Jed waved back, heart beating faster.

“Who’re they?” Bud asked, squinting over at them.

“Um, Charlie’s a guy who works at Lucky’s. In the gaming area. And the other is his cousin.”

“Hmm. Townies?”

“Yep.”

“She’s cute.”

“Um, well, about that….” Jed cut himself off because the referee blew the whistle. Time to play ball and hope he did well in front of those two.

The game proved the usual testosterone-fest, with lots of grunting and body contact. When Jed scored some points, Morocco produced pom poms that matched her outfit and waved them wildly.

At the break, Jed ran over to them for a minute to say hi—fuck what the rest of the team thought.

“Jed, child, my word!” Morocco fanned her chest. “Y’all are such manly men! Rugby is going to be my new obsession, I just know it!”

“I like it. My mom never let me play contact sports in high school, so I kinda love ramming into people.” Jed felt his cheeks flame at what he had said. Crap-a-doodle.

But Morocco laughed and Charlie faked a cough so he could smile behind his fist.

“So, hey, thanks for coming. I gotta go back now.”

Charlie nodded as Morocco said, “We’ll see you after the game.” She picked up her pom poms. “Wa-hoo-wa!”

When the team huddled before the second half, a homophobe named Welburn said with a sneer, “Who are those freaks on the sidelines?”

Another guy laughed. “Yeah. I thought all the he-shes lived in San Francisco.”

“What’re you talking about?” Bud peered over toward Charlie and Morocco. “That girl?”

Welburn spit on the ground. “That girl is no she. She’s a he. What the hell are they doing here?”

Beau raised his voice. “Hey, concentrate, guys. We need to win this game.”

Jed held up a hand to stop Beau from continuing. “Before we do that, you all need to know that those are some friends of mine. So shut your fucking faces before I shut them for you.” He leveled a lethal glare at Welburn and his compatriot.

Fueled by his anger, Jed played an amazing second half, and the team pulled out a victory on the strength of his points alone. After their team high five, he trotted over to Charlie and Morocco. Charlie smiled broadly while Morocco jumped up and down. “Jed, Jed, Jed! Wa-hoo-wa! Thass right!”

“Okay, okay.” Jed couldn’t help laughing at Morocco’s outrageous enthusiasm. “Thanks for coming to the game.”

“It was fun. I’m glad we came.” Charlie took a step back, seemingly surprised to have gotten two stutter-free sentences out.

“I’m glad too.” They gazed tentatively at each other, and Morocco suddenly got busy folding up the camp chair.

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TWO 4 Stars for Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather #1) by Morticia Knight #MM #BDSM @Totally_Bound @MorticiaKnight

0.2

Title: Bulding Bonds (Kiss of Leather #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Morticia Knight (Totally Bound Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 14, 2015 – 162 pgs

Synopsis

Kyle’s a natural sub who builds dungeon furniture, yet has no interest in BDSM. It takes a hunky Dom to show him just what he’s been missing.

After Kyle’s partner of five years leaves him for another man on the night of their housewarming party, the shy, early-thirties carpenter needs to do a major reassessment of his life in addition to raising some serious cash. With no one to help him pay the lease on his Los Angeles condo, he worries how he’ll survive. His best friend sets up a meeting with one of the Doms and partners at Kiss of Leather, a gay BDSM club being built as a premier destination for those who want the best of the best.

Master Gavin not only wants the best—he demands it. When he meets Kyle, he assumes that part of the builder’s reticence to share anything personal with him must be due to his experiences with an abusive former Master. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin determines to break through the walls surrounding the beautiful man he can’t get out of his mind. He’s hopeful that once he convinces Kyle to sign an initial contract, Kyle might be the first sub to open up his heart.

Misunderstandings and accusations almost destroy everything between them before they have a real chance to begin. However, the true obstacle becomes not only whether Kyle will embrace BDSM as a lifestyle, but also whether he can handle a full-time D/s relationship with a big, bad, scary Dom who’s as sexy as hell.

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Review

FourStars

I am partial to Morticia Knight books, but even with that biased, this was not my favorite story.  I really enjoyed the slower paced story and despite the fact that there was not all that much heat in this book, it was enjoyable.

I really liked Master Gavin – he was more than patient with Kyle and really wanted to show Kyle what a true Dom is like with his submissive.  Kyle’s natural tendencies were an added bonus for Master Gavin.  It was nice to see that Master Gavin worried about Kyle’s overall being – that he was willing to sacrifice what he had been doing for the club to ease Kyle’s insecurities.

I do with that we had learned a bit more about Kyle and Marshall’s background – while they were good friends, they seemed almost hurried in their friendship.

This story was truly about building bonds – there was far less of what I am used to in Knight’s writing which was both good and bad.  I missed the heat and sexual tension, but this was a nice slow down too.  It’s hard for me to put in to words what was frustrating about this story, but if I had to, I would say that it was so much about building those bonds that there was not much else to the story.

I will hope that the next story is a little more lively.

AvidReader

 FourStars

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book where we learned about Kyle and his business of building BDSM equipment.
I loved the natural submission that came to Kyle and the way Master Gavin taught him everything. However in the end, I felt like the whole building of equipment and starting of the club fell to the way side and we focused mostly on the couple, which was okay, but left me wanting to know more of what else was going on in their lives.
However, just as I’ve come to expect from Ms Knight, the flow was great and the naughty scenes were HOT as were the perfectly displayed emotions and connections between all the characters, not just the main characters. Another smooth read that has me waiting for the next in the series!
Renee

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5 stars for Autumn Changes (Seasons of Love #3) by B. G. Thomas #MM #romance @dreamspinners

Autumn Changes

Title: Autumn Chances (Seasons of Love #3)
Author Name: B. G. Thomas
Publication Date & Length: April 24th, 2015 — 266 pages

Synopsis

Asher Eisenberg is a brilliant actor, destined for fame and fortune. But a traumatic incident in his past has caused him to reject his Jewish heritage and hide from everyone behind walls of arrogance and selfishness, and he blurs his loneliness with a lot of sex and alcohol. When he meets Peniamina Faamausili, however, he strangely can’t stop thinking about the young man.

Peni is struggling with his sexuality, the Mormonism he was raised in, and the Samoan heritage that calls to him. He longs to receive the pe’a—the traditional Samoan tattoos– and learn more of his people’s ways. He has no interest in a man like Asher, who appears to use men and put them aside and whose drinking can’t help but remind him of the drunk driver who killed his father. But he can’t deny his attraction to Asher and finally agrees to a date if Asher can go thirty days without a drink.

Asher is about to go on a journey that will awaken him to his friends, his past, his future, and even to love. But that awakening could well demand the sacrifice of the dream he holds most dear.

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Review

FiveStars

This was a story that grabbed me from the first page and held my attention throughout. I couldn’t put it down. There are so many wonderful elements, from the well-crafted plot to the range of emotions. This was definitely one that hit every one of my reading sweet spots.

Asher is a character who begins the story as lovably hateful. What makes him such a delight to read is that everyone around him is keenly aware of how awful he is–everyone but himself, that is. Watching him unfold and heal from his scars was funny and beautiful and heartbreaking. His admittance of his need to change left me in tears of relief and happiness.

Peni, in contrast, is a gentle, honest man. What I loved was learning about Samoan culture through him and how he was able to heal from his own scars. His self-discovery is vastly different from Asher’s, but it’s equally wonderful sharing his triumph at finding his place among friends and celebrating his heritage.

These two men enjoy a slow yet surprising journey toward each other. For me, it was exactly the right pacing for both the love story and the physical culmination of their union. Everything about it left me wanting more.

Although this is part of a series, it was easy to enjoy it as a stand-alone. I’m so glad I took a chance and picked this one up.

~Amy

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AuthorBio

B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of over nine years and their fabulous little dog, Sarah Jane. He sees his wonderful daughter just often enough to miss her when she isn’t there! He has a romantic soul and is extraordinarily lucky to have many friends.

He loves science fiction & fantasy, horror, romance and more, has gone to SF&F conventions his entire adult life, and been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He is a “Star Trek” and Joss Whedon fan from way back!

He has written all his life, it is where he finds his joy. In the 90’s, he wrote for gay magazines, but stopped because they wanted him to cut out story and romance, and write only sex.

Then through a few friends, he discovered the growing market of M/M Romance and was thrilled beyond words. FINALLY, a way to write the stories he always wanted to write. Adventure, romantic comedy, science fiction, and more, but with gay characters. And he wouldn’t have to fade to black! People wanted to read the erotic as well. Plot and sex! HURRAY!

B.G. Thomas very much believes in The Law of Attraction and that “thoughts become things.” A lot of things all started happening at once. He heard the words, “Leap, and the net will appear,” and something re-kindled inside. He sent out a story and was thrilled when it was almost immediately accepted.

He believes that we are divine expressions of the Universe, each and everyone. “It is never too late!,” he states. “Pursue your dreams! They will come true!”

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4 Stars for Osaki by Remmy Duchene #MM #Urban Fantasy @Totally_Bound

1.5

Title: Osaki
Author Name: Remmy Duchene
Publication Date: April 2015

Synopsis

Once a samurai, always a Shiver…

Kofi Olabasu needs a vacation. He’s spent so much time looking out for his brother and working that he’s completely neglected himself. To make matters worse, feelings for a man are driving him crazy. The moment Kofi feels Osaki, he knows something is about to change. Confused about his attraction to Osaki, he agrees to take a vacation and accepts Osaki’s offer of being Kofi’s tour guide in Japan. However, nothing is as it seems. Soon every dark corner is filled with danger and those who wish to do him harm.

Osaki has a lot on his plate and love is the last thing he has time for. Not only does he have to get used to his new powers as a Shiver and all the training it involves, but he also finds himself being drawn to a human—though Kofi makes it clear he’s into women—and Osaki must respect the man’s wishes. All Osaki really has to do is focus on training and being the best tour guide possible for Kofi. But nothing ever goes as planned and soon rogue Shivers are popping out of the woodwork, hell-bent on destroying Osaki for his inheritance. It soon becomes quite clear that they want him dead, and they’re not afraid to use Kofi as leverage—or as collateral damage.

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Review

FourStars

Duchene’s prose is lyrical and evocative, a treat for the senses and this is a wonderfully unusual series.  In Duchene’s world, gods, goddesses and other mythological beings wage war in the heavens while finding time to enjoy the 21st century human world.

In the second book, Osaki is a medieval Samurai soldier turned Shiver. He is helping Circo and Koi protect the world from their rogue Shiver brothers, all of whom resent Osaki’s new powers.   Kofi, Circo’s brother-in-law, is a human real estate agent Osaki has been charged with protecting.

I absolutely love the way the author has made ancient mythology fresh.  The author manages to make the classical characters both relevant and historically accurate.  I also love the mix of mythologies – of course a brave Samurai would be granted entry to Olympus!

The main characters are both fabulous.  But while there are fantastic descriptions of the Japanese warrior, there are very few descriptions of Kofi.  And I really loved him!  There are possibly too many characters here for a reader to keep track of, especially when trying to remember the family ties between all the god and demi gods.

This is not a stand alone novel.  For a story with such a complex premise, very little information is offered to readers at the start of the book.  I found myself lost.  I had to put the story down and read Circo, the first book in the series, before I began to understand the story.  Unfortunately, even after reading the first book, I still had unanswered questions that kept me searching through my Kindle, sure I’d missed some important facts.

The action and romance in this story are perfectly balanced.  Kofi’s confusion over his sexual identity is incredibly moving and the relationship with his brother is very sweet.  Kofi’s insecurities are met with Osaki’s gentlemanly reserve, making for an excruciatingly drawn-out courtship.  I loved every single scene between the two men.

While the action scenes were exciting and the whole story very suspenseful, there were times where I found it difficult to understand who their enemy was and why they were fighting.

Overall, this is both a tender love story and an exciting adventure.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

Remmy Duchene is a Canadian-hockey-watching-baseball-playing kind of guy. He loves walking in the rain and bugging his friends about his latest story ideas. Remmy believes that true love comes in all shapes, sizes, and sexualities. He is always saying “I’d rather see two gay people in love get married than two straight people that hate each other.”

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3.5 stars for Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson #vietnam #interracial #MM #historical #romance @RENelson13

1.1

Title: Palace Dog
Author Name: R.E. Nelson
Publication Date & Length: February 27, 2015 – 206pgs

Synopsis

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog.

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

In 1972, a group of drafted US Air Force men with college degrees are deployed to Vietnam to teach English to members of the Vietnamese Armed Forces.  Lonely and homesick, Michael ventures into Saigon.  When Tuan, a student, takes him home, Michael falls hard for his younger brother Thao.  Thao and Michael share a love of art and photography.  Slowly, the two men build a relationship that must come to an end when Michael is posted elsewhere.

 

Nelson shines new light on a war that has faded from memory in the face of more recent conflicts.  The sense of place in this story is brilliant; tiny details make the city and the time period come to life beautifully.  This Saigon is a complex, confusing place and Nelson’s gay Airman is part of an antiquated military now unfamiliar to us.

 

The build-up to Michael and Thao’s relationship is long and slow; this is probably very historically accurate, but it doesn’t always make for compelling reading.  Likewise, Nelson captures the tedium experienced by the teachers who are caught far from home yet also far from the excitement and fear of battle.  Again, this feels very real, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a gripping read.

 

The ending feels forced.  True historical accuracy would make Michael and Thao one of the thousands of couples forcibly separated by the conflict, and Mimi, as the child of an American Airman, would become part of a burgeoning, despised underclass that emerged after the conflict.

 

But this is a romance.  So we take the historical accuracy when it is offered and we suspend our disbelief when we’re told to.  What we’re left with is a sweet story of two gentle men caught up in a grizzly, uncontrollable conflict.

~Sarah

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Excerpt

The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me. Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

When I actually sit down to write, it’s generally at my desk in my bedroom. I write on a computer (currently a Mac, I use Word with it). If I’m alone, there’s usually music of some sort. Otherwise the background noise from the television which is in the living room. It’s kind of a white noise effect that I don’t pay attention to. The desk is a mess of papers—business and writing—but I look at the page on the screen before me, pause to focus (if I can), and just start writing. I actually find the creative process continual and the story often plays out in my mind during the day and at night, even if I’m not at my desk. So I often have scraps of paper (some of which make no sense to me when I read them later) to try to capture what at the moment I’m thinking feels perfect. I sometimes find those random thoughts that pop up at all hours of the day or night are just a clearing mechanism. When I sit down to actually write, often those thoughts mean nothing or have evolved into other things.

 

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

PALACE DOG is my first published novel, and the main character, Michael Andrews, is very close to me. In my mind, we were both in the same place (Vietnam) at the same time (early 1970’s) doing the same or similar things (teaching English to Vietnamese military, wandering downtown Saigon, hooking up with the same young men—though not Thao!). But Michael’s story is not my story. And his character is not me, though I think most of my friends may think otherwise. As he developed and the story developed, he became someone else to me. It was interesting after the book had been accepted and was in production, the artist (Paul Richmond) sent me the cover and it was a pleasant shock to see Michael. It was then I felt he was really another person—someone I related to very closely, but someone who was also distinct.

Incidentally, there is another book in progress (way on the back burner) called THE GUILT OF MARTHA CROOK, and I feel very close to the title female character.

 

 

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

I’ve always thought if I weren’t a writer, I would like to create music—both words and music. It would probably be something like Bette Midler or Barbra Streisand would sing. Words I can probably handle, but the music is something I’ve never done. Marrying words and music and trying come up with a good or great song (even for a lounge act!) would be very fulfilling, I think.

 

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

I think the overall lesson I learned from writing is focus and patience. I wrote for many years without being published, or with being almost published and being rejected for reasons other than the writing itself. I have loved writing for as long as I can remember; but also went through periods of frustration at not being published. Now that PALACE DOG is out, it feels like this is the right time. The production (editing especially) was fairly intense but not unreasonable, and it allowed me to see how some alternatives actually worked better. I’m not sure I would have been as accommodating or objective earlier. All the prior frustration, while remembered, no longer feels emotional.

 

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

Probably I would give more attention to the ending, the last few pages. There were some fairly substantive changes made to the structure of the story (the plot remained relatively stable and in tact, but the structure of the book itself was changed in terms of organization of the material and use of tense). There was a production schedule that I wanted to adhere to, and it was very tight. The ending was revised a couple of times, and nothing really changed, but the way it was described could have been a bit more thoughtful, I think.

 

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

I try not to think too much about coming up with new ideas for stories. I find that they somehow find me. It could be a character, a phrase, a scene, a word even that comes to me and and won’t leave until I do something with it. Usually by the time a full fledged story is in the works, that initial thing that first moved me has changed substantially, and usually for the better. I just try to keep my mind open to these things that pop into my mind and pay attention to them. Then I see where they lead me.

 

 

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have two works in progress that are competing for “next.” One is tentatively called A PARK IN RIYADH, which is about sex in Saudi Arabia in the mid-to-late 1970’s. The other is tentatively called CONNECTING THE DOTS, which is a coming-of-age/coming out story set in two time periods—the late 1960’s and the present. I had pretty much settled on the Riyadh story and have written about half of it, and all of a sudden I woke up one morning with a new character for DOTS pushing it’s way into my consciousness. And he won’t leave. So I’ve been making notes for the past week and need to see if, indeed, that book will win out. They both will be done, it’s just a matter of which will come first. Then, too, it occurred to me as I was driving to my regular job the other morning that the two books may be connected—that CONNECTING THE DOTS may be/should be a combination prequel and sequel to A PARK IN RIYADH. But each a stand-alone, too. I’m just not sure how it will all work out yet!

 

 

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

I’ve lived in San Francisco for most of the past 30+ years (with a more recent 5-year attempt to live in Vietnam again that didn’t work out). Living here is ideal for me for writing, but most of the stories I write take place elsewhere in the world. A few stories, like THE GUILT OF MARTHA CROOK that I mentioned earlier take place in San Francisco, but a decade or more ago. A lot of my writings have exotic settings—Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. They are places where I spent a considerable amount of time and had some life-changing experiences. Often looking a personal photographs and listening to music I listened to in those places motivates me. That happens generally in San Francisco, but it really could be anywhere.

 

 

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

I don’t identify with one particular genre. Maybe that’s why it’s taken so long to get published. I just write the best story I can. And it’s usually character driven rather than plot driven. Several of my unpublished novels have strong gay themes and gay characters, but others don’t. I try to write the story that comes to me and not think too much about restricting it to one genre or another. And I find I read the same way. I like particular authors—Fannie Flagg, Anne Rice (the early books in particular), Kurt Vonnegut, Armistead Maupin, to name a few. But I don’t read only one or two genres. Sometimes I will pick up a book simply because of the cover art and cover blurb. Lately, because of publishing PALACE DOG, I’ve been reading more m/m romance genre. But I like anything that has strong characters and a strong story, no matter the genre.

 

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Eating what’s not good for me (especially sweet things). Enjoying classic television and classic movies, even if they are not necessarily truly classic. And looking at vintage porn, which seems more innocent. Sometimes I’ll look at that instead of writing!

AuthorBio

R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade–something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah, Spotlight