Category Archives: Series

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.

 

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Bound by Law – SE Jakes

Author: SE Jakes
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Word Count: 63,521
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $5.50

I have been waiting for this one to come out! As we know, I LOVED Bound by Honor, the first book in this loose series – in case you forgot, I gave it a perfect score. That being said, this one had a lot to live up to… and I wasn’t disappointed!

This story focuses on the other two members of a foster situation – Law and Styx. They were introduced in the first book and I was curious if they’d ever find their way back together. Now I’m not really giving anything away here, as you can see from the cover artwork, but this is a menage story – and no one was more surprised about that, than me (I tend not to look at covers, the whole saying and such). Anyway, Law and Styx do find themselves back in the same room together, except Law has his new boyfriend with him – Paulo. Let’s just saw that amid gunfire and a manhunt or two, sparks fly.

I’d like to be very clear here – this book was nothing like the first one, which makes it even better in my opinion! This relationship was one of trust, struggle, acceptance, and forgiveness, but without any D/s interaction. Power and control was constantly changing hands, but the great thing was, each character was so well-developed, that you never lost sight of who was saying or doing what. The sex was super hot and intense – ten years apart will do that, but more than that, it was passionate and their connection was evident throughout. It was HOT-HOT-HOT, somewhat “tame” in experiences/positions/locations (if you’re able to overlook the uniqueness of a threesome), but not at all boring. There was a constant give and take, which created a sense of vulnerability in each character at various times. And who doesn’t love hot, sexy, fighting, strong men showing a little vulnerability during crazy hot sex?!

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

Not quite another perfect score, but definitely close. I would recommend this to everyone – it’s a stand alone book, or a great extension if you read the first one. It is super sexy, hot, great sex, but even better characters. I just hope that Jakes has another one in the works, apparently I’m a huge fan!

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Renovations 1-3 – Anah Crow & Dianne Fox

Authors: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 46,400
Published: 2011 (compilation)
Fictionwise: $4.99

I know I’m a bit late to this book, but I couldn’t fathom buying each short story, which was barely a few chapters, prior to the compilations being released. That being said, the stories didn’t seem as though they could stand alone, but perhaps that wasn’t the point.

I was excited when I started this story, as I thought the main characters had a lot of promise. There seemed to be reasonable yet meaty personal and familial struggles on both sides and a “realistic” reason bringing the two of them together. And suddenly, I was let down. While these characters and the plot could have been expanded upon and made into a great story, it just fell flat. There was hardly any connection between them once they had sex. The sex and their relationship was not at all related to their struggles – they didn’t really speak to each other, the action was never really furthered… all of that with lackluster sex thrown in! I kept reading on thinking that there had to be some grand redeeming point somewhere – why let these characters go to waste?! But I never found it – I even started the next compilation (Renovations 4-6) to see if things moved along there – more to come on that later. Sadly, it just fizzled (or does it need to start to fizzle?).

The sex was hot for about the first encounter – although it was not very loving or passionate throughout. It seemed almost technical and there were several times that I got bored reading it. I’m not sure if the boredom came from too much sex written in, or perhaps their roles and personalities tended to get mixed up. Either way, it was definitely sex for sex’s sake in this one (and vanilla sex at that).

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

I am struggling with giving this a one overall since I’ve read much worse, I just don’t feel it was worth the time I invested, especially as it had so much promise! I would perhaps recommend this for a newbie who is trying to get a feel for reading about m/m sex, without caring much about the characters, plot, or investment into the story – everyone else will be a bit bored and disappointed.

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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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He Completes Me – Cardeno C.

Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 92,511
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $6.99

Zach reluctantly makes his way back to his hometown following his mother’s death. He hasn’t been in contact with his family since graduating high school. His memories about his family and his home town, are anything but pleasant. When he arrives, he wants to be sure that no one forgets just how “gay” he is – so he dresses and acts outrageous in defiance. But just as soon as he’s ready to denounce everything and everyone again, he meets his brother’s best friend, Aaron – and their instant attraction takes them both by surprise. What happens between them, is anything but easy – but hopefully worth the struggle.

I absolutely loved this book – it was my first time reading Cardeno C, and I am upset it has taken me so long. This story was well written, easy to read, but most of all – it was based in reality. The characters felt like real people – they had jobs, responsibilities, true internal struggles, and hurt emotions. These things weren’t cast aside or quickly wrapped up, just because there was a love story to take place – and I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to read something lightly based in reality, but this was a refreshing gritty change of pace. I wasn’t able to put it down, and in fact read it in one go. There were several struggles throughout – being ok with yourself; getting over or better understanding things that happened as children (overcoming abuse and the guilt associated with it); building relationships in the here and now; choosing sides within a family; and being open to accept and give love unconditionally.

The sex was HOT. The first interaction was sizzling and occurred early on – just a sign of things to come. The sex was “making love” from the very first encounter, which just added to the interactions and struggles, making their coming together even hotter. There were a lot of different types of sexual interactions as well – in a bathroom stall, phone sex, and so on – great variety and true to the situation.

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

This is a great read and I definitely recommend it to just about anyone! You won’t be able to put it down. This has very hot sex, but not anything outlandish (vanilla most of the time with some hints of D/s), but so loving and emotional, that you’ll be hooked. I loved it so much, I bough the next book in the series immediately – and loved it just as much!

Series: Good to Know and An Earlier Heaven – D.W. Marchwell

Author: D.W. Marchwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 62,135
Published: 2009
Fictionwise: $6.99

Author: D.W. Marchwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 71,875
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $6.99

“Good to Know” begins with Jerry McKenzie, an artist who is known for being a recluse and anti-social, gets a surprising gift on his doorstep – his school-age nephew, William. Jerry has no idea how to raise a child, or even if he wants to keep him, so he grabs on to the first person offering help – David. David is William’s teacher and wants to be sure that William is being taken care of after hearing his story – so he does what every good teacher would do, he swings by Jerry’s house for a home visit and finds Jerry completely out of his element. With the intent to help, not act on their mutual sexual attraction, David teaches Jerry the basics and Jerry falls in love with both of the new men in his life.

In the sequel, “An Earlier Heaven,” the family is revisited one year later – and continues to expand with love. William is still a bit of a loner, but he latches on to his soccer coach Cory, and is insistent that Jerry and David help him out. What ensues is a tale of great loss and heart break for William, but one that he continues to overcome and an unexpected family blossoms.

Each book is a good read as a stand alone, but the sequel even further cements their relationship and love after all of the struggles. In the first book, a romance and strong relationship grow through several obstacles. There is strife and struggle, but their underlying love for each other and William, is what makes you fall in love with the characters. A few times you’ll find yourself presented with information without explanation – only to find the explanation several chapters later (just an editorial miss, try not to be distracted). It was fun reading about a loving family – being able to see a child finally have a loving home, will bring you to tears a few times throughout the series. The books were both well-written with a very easy flow and evolution.

The sex in each book was very different. In the first book, there wasn’t a lot of sex and it was seriously lacking description – more of the “they went to bed and then it happened” type of description. In the second book, it was almost like Marchwell was told to add some spice, as there was a LOT more sex, but it seemed to miss the mark on hotness and excitement. There were a lot of “oh yeah, that’s hot” descriptions, but the sex was somewhat gratuitous and almost distracting. I found myself skimming these portions, which are usually my favorite parts.

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

This is a good loving romantic story between two men and the home they create for their son. It’s an easy read and great if you’re looking for a tame story or love beyond the bedroom.

I Spy Something Bloody – Josh Lanyon

I Spy Something Bloody

Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 31,203
Published: November 2008
Fictionwise: $4.99

When in trouble, a spy can only think of one place he can run to – the only place he’s ever felt safe and perhaps even loved, his ex-boyfriend’s home. Unfortunately, the spy is about two years too late after walking out on his ex for a mission. This is the story of how these two people from very different walks of life, work to create a new normal by overcoming years of hurt and letting go of their fears.

While outside of the Adrien English series, this story is told in typical Josh Lanyon fashion – very well-developed characters, danger throughout, real-life internal struggles, and several obstacles to over come on both sides. This is a fun read, and rather short, so you won’t be able to put it down – and just wait until the adventure at the end! Both characters work through some very real struggles including a significant age difference, letting go of a profession/life that they know, learning to accept each other for who they are.

The sex is hot (when it happens), which does not happen often in this book. This is very tame, with some D/s undertones, but not blatant nor a significant plot theme. This is a great read for anyone who loves a good romance, great characters, and some mystery/action and intrigue along the way. It’s also a very “easy” M/M read – and an excellence choice, as are most of Lanyon’s books, for anyone who’s interested in diving into the genre.

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

Read this book if you want to test the waters of M/M stories, love a good romance, or like a little action (not just sex action, but spy action).

Burn – Sean Michael

Burn

Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 51,011
Published: January 2011
Fictionwise: $5.99

An annual game brings together two childhood friends – finally. After a difficult day as a fireman, Marshall shows up to the annual gathering to say hello to his friends. When he arrives, his friend Dave can tell that something’s wrong with Marshall and finally has his opportunity to take care of his long-time crush. As soon as Dave finds his opening, he’s determined to show Marshall everything that he needs to help him deal with his high-stress job and also satisfy his sexual desires. Marshall has no idea what’s in store for him as Dave takes over as Dom and Marshall learns how to submit.

This is a surprising read from Sean Michael, particularly for the Hammer series. This book is based more on the relationship and internal struggles of the main characters, Marshall in particular, versus the D/s relationship or gratuitous sex. There is plenty of sex, and some of it is gratuitous, but there are also well-developed characters and a decent plot. The D/s relationship and roles are not as blatant in his story – while each character has a clearly defined role in the bedroom, one of the characters is unsure of the lifestyle and continuously struggles to come to terms with it.

There is sex throughout the book – vanilla and some D/s play. At times the sex scenes run too long as is typical in Sean Michael’s writing, but they are always hot! You are rooting for both characters to get what they want and what they need from each other, and you see that the sex helps them both meet that goal.

Overall this is a good read with super hot sex. This is a very beginner level D/s book and good for anyone who is looking for a glance into the lifestyle and the very “mild” end of the spectrum. In addition, it deals with issues of coming to terms with sexual need and roles in a way that is very “friendly” for a new M/M reader.

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

Read this book if you’re interested in getting a glimpse into the D/s lifestyle and the Hammer series. And of course, if you’re looking for some seriously hot sex!

Cattle Valley: Making the Grade – Carol Lynne

Cattle Valley: Making the Grade

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total-e-bound
Word Count: 30,923
Published: January 2011
Fictionwise: $6.13

Another installment of this fun Cattle Valley series: a former student Kenny finally has an opportunity to act on a crush he’s had for his former teacher for over ten years, Eli. The two have several obstacles to overcome including pride, very different upbringings that saddle both of them with some baggage, an age difference, and the perceived ethical dilemma of dating a former student/teacher.

As all of the other books in this series, it is a quick and fun read. The characters are well developed and you want to find out how their love story unfolds, particularly in the lovely gay-friendly town of Cattle Valley. For perhaps the first time in this series, the characters venture outside of their protected landscape and into the “real world” of Wyoming. The consequences are striking and provide an opportunity for the main characters to come together.

As in the other books in this series, the sex is spaced evenly throughout the story and is quite tame. This is a love story, more than hot rampant sex, but don’t expect the love scenes to further the character dialogue much.

Overall, this is a good read and well-liked characters. While the struggles at times feel contrived with several communication mishaps, the story is a one-sitting read and a great next installment of the series.

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

Read this book (and this entire series), if you’re looking for more love than hot sex, and great characters to get to know.

A Matter of Time Book I – Mary Calmes

A Matter of Time – Book I


Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Club Lighthouse Publishing
Word Count: 61,666
Published: 2009
Fictionwise: $5.99

This series appears to be one of the highest rated series posted on several sites, so I decided to finally read it! This is a story about a stubborn man without much going on in his life, when he witnesses (randomly, I might add) a murder and steps into the middle of a huge police investigation. A police officer on the scene questions Jory, and finds that he isn’t able to leave him alone. Jory continues to live his life, refusing to let a dangerous killer force him into witness protection. While we see the beginning of a relationship develop between these characters in this book, the main focus is on establishing all of the people, players, and reasons why these two men can’t be together.

This story is well-written and best of all, it’s a story. There is a real plot, relatable characters, and people work! While there is heat and a little bit of sex, although honestly not much in this first book, the dynamics and inter-connectedness between all of the characters is truly the pull, and leaves you wanting more.

This is a very easy read and the plot and characters will pull you in. The sex is hot, but don’t read this expecting a lot of scenes or anything too detailed – that comes later in the series. While somewhat predictable at times, there are a few twists along the way.

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

Read this if you’re looking for a great story with some action (police and danger action that is) and are looking for a new series. The entire four book series is somewhat addicting, you’ll find that as soon as you get to know and love these characters, you won’t be able to put the books down until you find out what happens. The sex is hot when it happens, but don’t expect it in every chapter.