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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.

By the Numbers – Chris Owen & Tory Temple

(Please excuse the missing book cover and Fictionwise info – their site is down)

Author: Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Publisher:  Torquere Press
Page Length (ePub): 139
Published: 2011

I was glad to see this finally published, as I enjoyed the first firefighter story – and I hadn’t really connected the dots until the main character referenced his boss Chance, and then it all came back to me. Anyway, this was a very quick read and had potential to be a great story, but it continually fell short. The premise of this story is a fireman rescues a pregnant dog from a burning apartment complex, the grateful dog owner seeks out his hero to thank him, ends up befriending him, and then they move in together before, start messing around, and then “overcome” struggles with the fireman’s ex-wife. By the end, there is SO MUCH about the ex-wife that isn’t relevant to their story, that I’m not really sure what the driving force was. This joint writing effort was disjointed throughout, and it seemed like the authors weren’t able to get on the same page to tell this story.

One of the most noticeable flaws, was that he characters seemed to change their core personalities as the book unfolded. For instance, one of the main characters Deuce, opened the story and came across as socially inept, not quick witted, and a bit “dorky.” All of which could have been interesting, but as you read, he became more dominant, had a ton of work friends, was able to socialize fine, and even brazen. The characters were quite surface-level to begin with, so the shifting in personalities broke my connection with their story over and over again. It was also quite far-fetched from reality, but set-up as to be “real life,” which broke down another connection. And fair warning, there is a random daughter thrown in as part and parcel of the ex-wife.

The sex was hot at the beginning, but as soon as the story/characters started falling apart, I found myself wandering through the love scenes. Vanilla with a few over/under tones of Dominance/submission, and there was a varied way in delivering the sex – sometimes the interaction lasted several pages, other times it was briefly mentioned.

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

A middle-of-the-road m/m read. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a hot sexy fireman, enjoys quick/surface level fun, or is just trying to dip their toes into the m/m action. It is an easy read with nothing offensively wrong with it, just not as tied together for an experienced m/m reader and fan.

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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Above the Dungeon – SM Johnson

Author: SM Johnson
Publisher: Torquere Press
Page Count (pdf): 309
Published: 2011?
Rainbow eBooks: $5.99

When Date, a straight preppy guy runs away from his family and commitments, he goes to his gay cousin to help him explore a new path. Little did he know that included BDSM, bar tending at a gay bar and exploring his own sexuality.

When this book started, it seemed destined that the powerful Dom and owner of the bar and dungeon, was going to be the love interest for Dare – but the story doesn’t really stop there. I think that was where this book lost me, to be honest. There was some hot sex and BDSM exploration, but the undefined relationships were a bit difficult to connect with. Now don’t get me wrong, the sex was a ton of fun to read – even if it seemed at times, a bit disjointed from the overall story; the BDSM play was consistent throughout, which was also a nice change of pace.

Despite all of the available avenues for this story to take, it remained very surface level – even left me wondering how the relationships were left at the end. This is a definite hot read for people who enjoy reading about multiple partners and undefined relationships, or just want some steaming D/s scenes.

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

I would recommend this for experienced readers, and those just looking for sex, sex and sex, particularly those who are looking for steamy D/s scenes – as the consistency of each character’s role was the strength throughout.

Amanda Steiger – Feet of Clay

Author: Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 28,950
Published: 2011
Fictionwise: $3.99

This was a very short read – about 64 pages or so, and I was wishing that it was longer. Steiger wrote a beautiful story with all of the necessary elements, jammed into a short read. The characters were both complicated and relate-able, even if the circumstances were a bit unrealistic. As you read it, you’re not stumbling over sex or the relationship like so many short stories tend to do – the relationship develops with time, and happens only when forced.

The prose was well written and somewhat inspiring for anyone who fancies themselves as a writer. This was what kept you wanting more. Which is why I wanted this story to be full-length – I want to know how both of the characters developed, a bit more of each back-story, and how they would overcome everything together going forward. While none of those items were addressed in this read, the fact that there is so much more to explore and I STILL enjoyed it, is a feat in itself.

This is a m/m romance – Steiger plays a little with the thought or notion of Dominance/submission, but it’s not fully played out, nor would it be considered D/s (yet – maybe book two?) for those within the lifestyle. The sex, once it happens later in the read, is hot, but the heat comes from their connection, not the graphic details – which is always a nice change of pace.

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

I would recommend this for anyone looking for a one-sitting read and enjoy every minute of it. Also, great inspirational words are written into the plot for aspiring writers (I’m going to keep this one on my eBook reader in case I need a jolt). Very tame sex, when put in perspective, but a great starter book for anyone interested in the genre without wanting to commit to a full-length novel.

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Making It Up – TC Blue

Author: TC Blue
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 66,669
Published: 2008
Fictionwise: $5.99

Dr. Thomas Paulson hadn’t visited home, a small town in Arkansas, since he ran away after breaking the man he loves heart. He ran all the way to Los Angeles, trying to move on. His current boyfriend knows that Thomas has been holding back, but when he intercepts a message from Thomas’ ex-boyfriend’s mother, Alan hatches a plan to get JJ and Thomas back together again. But can it really be that easy to just throw the two of them together again? Lots of obstacles are bound to get in the way with Alan letting Thomas believe that JJ is dead; JJ about to walk down the aisle; and Thomas still together with Alan.

This was a fun read with several twists and turns along the way. There were several instances of miscommunication and paths crossing which can be a bit tiresome, but the end result was fun and explosive. This was a very well-paced read with enough going on to fuel the story forward. Some relationships seemed a bit underdeveloped, but the relationship between JJ and Tommy was easy to relate to and constant, even after being apart for so many years. Blue definitely mixed things up with this setting and the set of characters, and it ended up being an entertaining and engaging read.

The sex between the main characters did not occur until very late in the read, so not a hot and steamy read from the get-go. But when they finally got together, the sex added to their already strong connection. There were also a few sexual encounters with unlikely characters that were very hot, which had me thinking: “that’s so hot; but wait, I don’t want that to happen; but it’s so hot.” Very tame and vanilla, but hot nonetheless.

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

Read this book if you’re interested in reading an unrequited love story, come full circle. It’s also a quick read and well-written, you’ll not want to put it down.

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!