Category Archives: Romance

Tigers and Devils – Sean Kennedy

tigers and devils sean kennedyAuthor: Sean Kennedy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word/Page Count: 376 pages epub
Published: March 2009, August 2012

I must confess that I read both books in this series, out of order! Usually that means I can never go back, but I loved the second book so much that I thought I’d give the first book (Tigers and Devils) a go. And it didn’t disappoint! Even with knowing how the story progressed, it was a completely different story and held its own nicely.

This is the love story of two unlikely and opposite men, struggling through different situations to come together – and hopefully stay together. One is a very famous/popular soccer player, the other a somewhat stereotypical film festival coordinator. Think: macho pro-athlete, coupled with a lanky nonathletic sarcastic movie buff. But it came together amazingly well and un-cliched. Through publicity hoops, jealous exes, fears of being outed, and “am I good enough” struggles, this is a love story that mostly seems “true to life.”

The sex is hot, but not prevalent. Which was kinda nice, I have to admit. Sex was had when it fit the story, not the other way around. It was hot at times, somewhat “eh” at others, but overall, created a lot of heat to the tale… even if it was pretty vanilla.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot♥♥♥

I really liked this series (at least the two books I’ve read in it) and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good love story that isn’t always flowers and fake promises. There were struggles, true ups and downs, passion, and a good love story.

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On the Dotted Line – Alexa Snow

Author: Alexa Snow
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 50,330
Published: 2012

While the convention of this story has been told many times before (wealthy doctor falls in love with a poor retail guy), but the story overall was a decent read. Typical instant attraction in a moment of urgent panic, and then stumbling/fumbling to match up correctly, and end with the secret (being poor) being spilled to a happily ever after.

There was nothing earth shattering about this story – in fact, there were a few boring moments, but I liked both of the characters on their own – and together. The one lingering question is I have no clue what the obsession with pens was or why it was in the story – it was never explained (that I can recall at least).

The sex was ok – very vanilla, very middle of the road. There was attraction there which came through nicely, but nothing over the top. Two “normal” guys who liked each other with a small bit of turmoil thrown in, came together when they had sex.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat:
Plot: ♥♥

I would recommend for any newbie’s to m/m as this is a very easy love/romance story with very light sex and heat. It’s also a quick read for anyone who’s looking for something a bit more low-key with better character development.

A Cat Named Hercules – KC Kendricks

Author: KC Kendricks
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Word Count: 29,951
Published: 2012

This had the word CAT in the title, which meant I obviously had to read it. From the sexy cover, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, other than some serious hotness and a little kitty thrown in. What I got was a bit different – this is a story of two men coming together because of a cat. New to town, the main character goes with his friend to a charity event and finds a stray kitten calling to him – concerned about the kitten’s well-being, the local vet arrives and the two fall in love with each other.

This main plot of this story revolves around one man finally being true to himself and his courage to finally live as the gay man he always knew himself to be. Through a few misunderstandings, they work everything out and have the kitten to thank for everything.

The sex was very tame and very vanilla – and no, there was no animals involved. 😉 It was a fun and easy read, without the typical angst of coming out stories. The warnings read voyeurism and sex in public places – but I wouldn’t label either incident as such, so if you’re into that, this isn’t the book for you. Overall, a decent love story between one confused man and one patient man, who bond over their cat.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat:
Plot: ♥♥

This is a great book for a quick lazy afternoon read, or someone who is looking to venture into m/m without any of the “scary” parts.

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Getting Off the Ground & Infinity Pools – L.A. Witt

Getting Off the Ground
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Number of Words: 20,803
Published: 2011


Infinity Pools
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Number of Words: 40,767
Published: 2011

 

I was SO disappointed in the first part of this “series” – “Getting Off the Ground.” It was a super-short story where two people meet while waiting to catch a flight to Hawaii. They instantly hit it off, one character, Elliot, was left at the alter by his fiance the night before and was trying to keep it together and orderly, by making lists. A nearby passenger Derek overhears Elliot’s predicament and decides to start chatting him up. This was a meeting of opposites attract, they had an intense connection, and then it ended 52 pages into the story. I was ANNOYED. It took me awhile to get into the concept and story, which is unusual for me and a Witt story, but I stuck it out and wanted to find out what happened next. As soon as I saw “Infinity Pools” available, I was hoping that it would be better (and longer) than the first one and tell me what happened – and it finally told me what came next! However, these two books such have been published together as one…

The story was a bit basic and very surface level as in none of the bigger issues they were dealing with, were ever really dealt with. The story was a vacation fantasy story with two unlikely men coming together and essentially spending two weeks having sex and falling for each other. Most of the story was carried by the sex which was hot, but got a little boring at times. I found myself drifting and then trying to figure out who was doing who and what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, there was some serious sizzle at times, but about half of the sex scenes could have been taken out of the book and it wouldn’t have been missed.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

This is a great read for someone who is looking for sex, and lots of it. These are two “normal” guys that hook up, and hook up, and hook up – and fall in love through spending time together over two weeks in paradise. It is an easy and engaging read that you don’t want to put down until you get to the end, but it does stay out of some of the areas that would have created deep and interesting characters.

 

Dawn in the Orchard – Cooper West

Author: Cooper West
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Page Length (ePub): 166
Published: 2011

This was my first foray into reading Cooper West and I wasn’t disappointed. I was bit unsure how the story was going to work out, which was a nice change of pace – there was sufficient back-story at the beginning, and the empathy and connection with the main character, happened immediately. One musician with severe stage fright inherits a home in the back country in North Carolina. He arrives with nothing to his name and without any type of future planned. While he settles into his new place, he finds his passion perhaps for the first time, and takes a chance with his music and love. His new found interest (Chuck), is so in the closet, he can’t even see a way out – can they both get over their fears and real roadblocks, to create music and a relationship together…?

This was a nice story and a very easy read; there were a few times during the book that I stopped to scratch my head, but they were mainly about the life Chuck lead before Gary came to town (ex-wife, kids, etc). These were not main themes of the book until the end, so don’t worry if you are not a fan of that theme. It also seemed to have a lot of work-up for an instant change – something that I doubt would occur in real life. Regardless, it was well-written with well-developed characters and an unique story line.

The sex was good, but not sizzling. I did like how it happened at appropriate times and wasn’t the only thing carrying the story. There was tension, feeling, passion, and more between these two which was payed out well throughout the story – only one or two times where I started wondering during a sex scene. No D/s play at all – very vanilla.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥

This is a great book for anyone looking for a strong story line and great characters. Vanilla sex and is a good starter m/m read – and even interesting for those of us who read it a ton!

Series: Torched and Blow Torch – Chloe Stowe

Author: Chloe Stowe
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Word Count: 48,611
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $6.99

Author: Chloe Stowe
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Word Count: 46,530
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $6.99

 

 

 

I actually made a mistake when starting this series, as I bought them both at the same time – I read the prologue for “Blow Torch” by accident. And I have to say, it is an accident that I would recommend all readers to do! It provided me with a great background on the characters and helped me understand everything that unfolds in “Torched” even more. So that’s my tip to the beginning of this Hellsgate series.

That aside, I absolutely loved these two books. They were admittedly short reads and could have unfolded in one book, but I definitely wanted to keep on reading. The characters felt so real even though they were such opposites. One of the main characters is a war veteran and hero (Bronze Star winner) who experiences difficulty in life post-war. He meets, in a rather dramatic way, his love interest who is a very successful real estate mogul from New York. Opposites attract in this one, and they definitely end up working well together through the many challenges life and others, throw their way.

The sex in these books is hot – not graphic or thorough, but hot because of their passion for each other. From their first scene together, it is clear that they have a deep connection pulling them towards each other after years of not letting others in. Sex was part of this book, but definitely not the driving force.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥

I would recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a passionate romance, particularly with imperfect partners in unlikely situations. You will fall in love with both characters and root for them in the most unlikely circumstances, not to mention enjoy reading their passion increase as the story unfolds. Great, fun and easy read with a lot of emotion throughout.

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Make A Right – Willa Okati

Author: Willa Okati
Publisher: Loose-Id
Word Count: 81,295
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $7.99

I was torn over even purchasing this book, especially when I saw the steep price (thank you for coupons), but being an Okati fan, it was just too hard to pass up. The story begins somewhat abruptly with two former lovers, crossing paths. Their 10-year history together is uncovered slowly throughout the book, but the premise is that they need to join forces to attend their friends (from their foster home) wedding. The story line itself – everything from how they met, their relationship, the premise for them coming back together, and the random characters, were a bit far-fetched and felt somewhat arbitrary at times. However, when you’re able to weed through the confusing plot turns and random dialogue and revelations, these characters evoked great emotion and passion throughout – and this fact alone, is why I’ve given it the rating I have.

The personalities between the two main characters were as different as night and day, but each loved the other in his own way, which made it sometimes painful to read (think tears), and other times almost comical. Tuck was, by far, the more relatable character and made this read worth it. I don’t think that any of this would happen in real life, nor do I agree that anyone would give in to someone who hurt them for TEN YEARS, but in this book, it seemed to happen to wrap up the story quickly.

The sex between them, when it happened, was a bit all over the place. The first encounter felt shameful, but after that, while there were regrets, the sex was filled was passion, thus, evoking even more emotion than their encounters evoked. Very vanilla sex, but you could feel their passion and wacky love for each other and it brought them even closer.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re a Okati fan, or if you’re looking for some strong emotions in your story (and can overlook some random things thrown in). I was impressed by the level of heartfelt connection throughout, but there are definitely some plot issues that would make it difficult for a plot-driven reader to overlook.

Sonoran Heat – Katrina Strauss

Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Word Count: 48,547
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $7.00

The beginning of this story definitely tries to grab you – almost a bit too fiercely. However, I was intrigued enough to continue reading and pleased to find that the beginning scene of a very young trio, was not a main story plot – but the background for the true love story. It did take me some time to be ok with the age difference between the main characters, which was also a theme of the story – a man in his 40s and a 21-year old. They did have a strong connection and bond, and age faded into the background as their love blossomed.

This is an easy and quick read, and probably could have lent itself to a longer story – apparently I think all of the good ones need to be longer these days! There were a few cliches throughout, but presented in a way that wasn’t so in your face; instead, woven into the plot line quite nicely. I am curious if there is a sequel or two, based on some of the characters introduced as there was enough ground work to create more fun in the Arizona desert.

The sex in this story is very tame and vanilla, but hot when it happens as it is filled with passion, trust and understanding. Each character continues to work through their pasts and hopes and fears for the future, that each coming together helps cement their relationship and sense of belonging together. The sex will not ignite any pages, but it is tender and thoughtful and fun to read. The focus here is their relationship, not having sex for sex sake.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat:
Plot: ♥♥♥

I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good love story; interaction between an older guy and younger man; and loves a well-written story (without minding some usual themes). This is a particularly good read for newbies to m/m as it’s not at all scary and quite tame with a “real life” story plot.

 

Trust Me – LA Witt

Author: LA Witt
Publisher: Champagne Books
Word Count: 89,334
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $5.99

Homicide detective Brian is called out to a gruesome murder and is stunned when one of the victims is the spinning image of his boyfriend. What ensues is an intricate tale with many twists and turns as he tries to figure out what happened at that scene, with his boyfriend James, as the main suspect. Will his personal relationship get in the way of his job?

This was a great cop/detective read! It was jam-packed with evidence, several chases, endless questions, and more twists that you could even imagine. And jam-packed in the middle of all of that, is a relationship between the lead detective and the prime suspect. Brian is constantly questioning himself and his relationship throughout, but still finds himself drawn to James. Their desire and passion is almost tangible each time they come together – but their struggles in between those times, adds even more fuel to their fire.

The sex was quick and hot with one or two tender sessions thrown in there; filled with feelings of desire, lust and turmoil. Very vanilla, but unexpected and hot nonetheless.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥

I would recommend this to anyone who loves cop dramas and the bevy of suspense around the crime. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be surprised – and also fall a bit in love with both characters here… even if you fight against loving James.

 

Dutch Treat – Andrew Grey

Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Page Count (ePub): 161
Published: July 2011
Rainbow EBooks: $5.59

As the story begins, you find the mind character in his first “long-term” relationship (all of six months), and about to head out on a work assignment to the Netherlands. He’s nervous about the effect his five months away will have on his relationship, but learns that he does not have to worry about that for long. When he arrives in his new country, he immediately runs into Stephan – a colleague who is ready to help him find his way in his new land.

To be honest, I was very disappointed with this book. I am a huge Andrew Grey fan, and I felt that this one lacked his usual magic. There was no passion or connection between the two main characters. I kept thinking how arbitrary their story seemed and how they fell “in love” out of nowhere. I didn’t even know that they liked each other! In addition to their lack of connection, there were a lot of superfluous details about the Netherlands that never played back into the story – perhaps they were edited out, but either way, the details were a bit tenuous. On the positive side, I found myself very interested in the work story and what the outcome would be with that drama – probably not the best sign when reading a romance novel.

The sex was forgettable… really, I don’t really remember them having sex. Grey tried to incorporate a D/s situation, but it was an undertone that was never really brought to light or explored.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat:
Plot: ♥♥

This was a quick read and had a fun subplot (the work drama), especially for people who may work in the corporate world and it took place in an unique location. So perhaps this would be a good read for people looking to explore new settings and a light read.