Tag Archive | m/m

recent reading

I’ve been reading some non netgalley stories, a couple i was asked to review by authors, some I borrowed on KU, and a couple I bought.

The Ex Factor,  Debbie Viggiano 

The Ex Factor by [Viggiano, Debbie]

Genre: general fiction

I’ve read several of Debbie’s books, and this is a departure from the usual but still with her excellent solid writing style.

Its a hard subject, one that strikes close to home for many readers. When a marriage breaks up some fathers drift off, happy to abandon their family, others though are like Sam, desperately want to be a father, to have as much access as possible but get thwarted at every step by the mother. Sadly apart from expensive court proceedings, and not everyone has the thousands that can cost, there’s nothing else they can do. Even then having a court order doesn’t help when the mother say the child is ill, asleep, at a friends, doesn’t want to come and refuses access. The father can go back to court as Sam does, but that takes time and the months away from his daughter take a toll on him, on his new family and of course on Ruby. The only happy one is the mother, Annie, such a vindictive character. It would be nice to think parents always wanted the best for their child/children but like Annie many only want control, revenge for what they see as slights. Annie was the one to leave, yet tells Ruby Sam was at fault, forced her into an affair. Of course her poison is all lies but kids naturally believe what parents tell them and Annie has Ruby for the majority of the time, been drip feeding her malicious words into her ears. Its cruel, and yet it goes on day after day for many families. My lovely brother is going through the same process, so far he’s been unable to see his daughter for almost two years, despite spending several thousands on court fees. The court agreed he’d done nothing wrong, was a good father, but the mother was so vindictive she has kept his daughter away and all he can do it seek more legal proceedings. Meanwhile his little girl probably is being told daddy didn’t want her…..
Its an incredibly sad, very realistic story of what pressures a family breakdown can put on the absent parent, spilling over into other family members. Thankfully the end shows there is a glimmer of light, and I’m hoping that same thing happens for my brother in time.

A KU purchase

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya 

Royal Love (Last Royals Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

a KU purchase
This was a fun read, though it took me some time to warm to Angus, he was alpha male but on the OTT side, and there were times when I wanted Siobhan to just tell him where to go. She veers between wanting him and wanting independence and I did feel the whole getting together part was a bit rushed. I felt both acted out of characters and one thing that really annoyed me was the lack of condoms. That’s just not a good message to send out in this day and age!
There’s a little suspense, I’d kind of worked out what had happened and who was behind it, but it was still a good addition to the story and gave it a little extra edge.
I loved Angus mum and aunt, perfect snobbish b itchy characters – they really add to a story for me, make a contrast to all the sweet stuff.
Its not a story I’d re-read, a little too light and sweet for me, I need a bit more drama but its a fun read for when you want something easy to relax with.
Stars: Three, a little light but a fun story.

Rockstar Daddy, (Wilder Rock 1), Taryn Quin

Rockstar Daddy (Wilder Rock Book 1) by [Quinn, Taryn]

Genre: Romance,
a side spin from the Oblivion series. I usually loved Taryn’s stories, especially when she writes with Cari Quinn but this one was a little simple. Its got plenty of heat, lots of erotic encounters but for me they became the story, and there was little else to it – just a series of very hot sex scenes tied in with a tin backstory. For many people that’s perfect, for me it needs to be story first.

Another KU purchase

Lifeline,  Amelia Lawrence 

Lifeline by [Lawrence, Amelia]

Genre: Romance, M/M
A good read, very real with scenes that happen far too often. Alex was heartbroken after his romance with Jack went badly wrong, and feeling rejected he’s a prime candidate for manipulative bully Cole.

Like so many of these characters Cole starts off well and then the crack drift in, by which time Alex had lost his self confidence and was constantly striving to be someone who wouldn’t anger Cole. Its easy to say “why not just leave?” but much harder for anyone to do it. Bullied sap at self confidence, convince people no-one else will want them and of course the threats that Leaving will have drastic Consequences is enough to put most folk off, and Alex is just working and returning home, all the joy has been sucked out of life.
Jack – well, Jack was wonderful, regretted the past very much and wanted a second chance with Alex. The way the story played out was really well done. Its not one I’d re-read but was a very enjoyable story, a realistic portrayal of an unpleasant subject.

One I bought, was only 99p

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Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved A Gathering Storm, book two from Joanna in this series, and I enjoy that it’s written by so many different authors but set in the same fictional town. AGS was a historical novel, while this one is current day.

I loved Nathan, and its easy to see he’s one of the world’s people pleasers, someone who feels they need to fix every problem. I sympathise, I have the same issue….
He’s given up so much to help his mum and her husband and his half sister, left his well paid job in London, used his savings to keep the shop afloat. Derek his stepdad is a good man, but really bad at business, and they were in danger of losing everything.
It wasn’t helped when they discovered Rosie was so sick and now needs a liver transplant. They’ve all been tested but aren’t a match.

Imagine Nathan’s surprise then when his night before hook-up hottie walks in the house and he finds its Derek’s estranged son. He is a match and is staying for a while while he donates part of his liver.
Its a sticky few weeks, Derek and Mack don’t get on, he’s staying with Nathan while he recovers and it makes Nathan feel a bit stuck, wanting them to reconcile, feeling awful for the way Derek has been such a great dad to him, but essentially abandoned Mack at 15 after his mum died. I felt so angry at Derek, and so sad for Mack. How could anyone do that? I was cross too at Nathan’s mum, she must have realised what was happening and she should have had compassion for Mack, made Derek do something.
Anyway, there they are, an awkward grouping, thrown together. Mack and Nathan are still fiercely attracted, Nathan knows Mack’s off soon as he recovers, but somehow despite his not wanting to get into a temporary relationship they do, and of course Nathan falls in love….

I loved Nathan felt so sad for Mack, for all he’d been through and he still feels so lost, so unloved.
Can Nathan persuade him to stay though? Does Mack feel anything more for him than lust? What about the issues surrounding the cafe, the way Nathan has become the guy who does everything?
There’s a lot to ponder here, family issues, how we make mistakes that get larger as time passes, how hard it is to say sorry sometimes, to make it meaningful, and of course will Mack stay?

Stars: four, an enjoyable story, with issues that too many people face. I felt so sad for Mack, facing what too many gay kids faced.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

Infamous, Jenny Holiday

Infamous, Jenny Holiday

Infamous by [Holiday, Jenny]

Genre:  Romance, LBGTQIA

I really enjoyed this read, I love romances which have the issue of fame to contend with.
It has to be hard, trying to meet someone when the media are out to catch every possible hint of scandal, and happy to make up what isn’t happening, to put a spin on an innocent photo.

Jesse got caught in just that when his band was starting out, and promised their new manager he’d take more care in future.
The band has risen to heights they only dreamed of since then and Jesse has done everything his manager asked, dated whoever he was told, made up and broken up on demand.
Its a shallow life though, he doesn’t think he’s unhappy, thinks he has what he dreamed of until he meets Hunter….

Hunter has just come out of a relationship where he had to play room-mate not partner to his lover. He finally realised that contrary to what was promised when they met, that’s all he’ll ever be. He’s heartbroken but determined not to live in someone’s shadow, not to hide who he is.

He and Jesse get closer through his work and Jesse’s charity meetings at the hospital, and a friendship develops. Hunter thinks Jesse is straight, but one night…well, leads to some changes. He tells Jesse though he’s not hiding who he is, not ever again.
Jesse is stuck, be with the man he’s come to love and lose his career, let his bandmates down or keep his career and lose Hunter.
Tough one and the way it played out was wonderful. No two page drama but chapters of it, lots of angst, lots of wondering”can they? Will they? How can…?” and I adore books that make me feel like that.

Stars: Five, great read, real situation, not a one plot story but one with some real substance to it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Snowcroft Restoration, Men of Snowcroft 4, Christi Snow

 

 

Snowcroft Restoration, Men of Snowcroft 4, Christi Snow

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, LBGTQIA

I enjoyed the first book in this series, but having missed the next two and being over three years since book one, it was a bit like coming in cold and maybe it affected how I felt about this story.
I liked it, just didn’t love it, didn’t feel it was special.

I felt Law and Ian went from 0 to 100 without stopping, and that works in Lust but Love? I wasn’t feeling it.

I also had a hard time dealing with the unreality of the legal side, how Law was not FBI and yet still able to use his contacts, his aliases, hos cards, and how those were linked to his personal account so there was no financial restraints.

I felt the Nick/Ramirez story came too close to overshadowing the main one, found the change of ID from Bad Guy to Good Guy done Bad Things hard to take. Tell that to the guys he maimed, ordered killed… “oh, he’s really working for a greater good” Nope, doesn’t wash.

The story too got incredibly busy, with betrayals, double dealing, multiple good/bad guys, kidnapping, shootings, murders, bombs, it was at times somewhat chaotic, and rather than work to a final climatic end it felt kind of fuzzy, too much going on to appreciate just how each part worked.

Maybe if the gap between my first read and this had been shorter, not three and a half years, maybe if I’d read books two and three…I don’t know. It was a decent read but not one that excited me, and not one I’d reread.

In common with many LGBTQIA reads too there seems constant emphasis on the maleness, the rooms smell masculine, the décor is masculine, their clothes are masculine, the guys themselves smell masculine ( as opposed to what I’m not sure?), everyone is rugged and outdoorsy, or tall and well built, except for Nick and that poor dancer – Matt? – they seem to be totally the opposite, slight and effeminate, the husband and husband introductions get pulled up again and again. I get it, its a story about men, men with male partners, I don’t need reminding of it every few pages.

Stars: Three, an OK read but not a rereader.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Michael’s Wings, An Original Sinners Collection, Tiffany Reisz

Michael’s Wings, An Original Sinners Collection, Tiffany Reisz

Michael's Wings (The Original Sinners) by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre: LGBTQIA,  Romance

Well, if you love the Original Sinners series you’ll want to read this. I don’t usually read shorts/novellas unless like this they are about characters I already know, so can understand and follow easily something that doesn’t need space to tell me who everyone is and all about them.
The new novella covers 30% of the total, the rest being previously published shorts. I’d read all them before, but love this world and characters even though I find the concept of loving multiple people difficult to understand. then I guess we love all our children so in a way why should multiple lovers be an issue? something to ponder I guess….

Of course Michael needs time to answer That Question – griffin knows this and yet its hard (!!) waiting, an anxious time for him. Nora help Michael sift through his fears, he loves Griffin, they all know that but he’s has such insecurity about himself, and such a difficult past he needs to deal with this, work through it and a beating or three from Nora concentrates his mind!

A fun read, usual TR sensuality and spice, a bit of sass, a lot of sex and sensuality and a side of submission helps Michael understand himself.

Stars: 5, great value if you haven’t read the rest of the stories, but still good to have them in one collection at a decent price.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Two for the Show, Megan Derr.

Two for the Show, Megan Derr.

Two for the Show (Lovesongs Book 4) by [Derr, Megan]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

This is book four in a series. Its billed as a stand alone so I requested although I hadn’t read the others.

I did follow the story just about OK but there were so many little snippets and incidences that I think if I’d read earlier books I would have enjoyed this one more.

Still, I hadn’t, came in cold so to speak and never really felt that I connected with either the characters or the story line. I liked both Nikko and Jake but didn’t really feel anything more between them that a spark of lust, it didn’t have that must-be-together feel that I love in romance reads.

Its an OK read for me, not great but not bad, just one that because I didn’t feel “into” the story it was a rush to just finish and pout it away.

I didn’t really understand the logic about creating a scandal, did see it would be a distraction but in the circumstances it would have created more eyes on Nikko and his world and I didn’t think that would have been a good idea given what he’s trying to do.

Like I said I think if I’d read earlier books, knew more about the overall story and characters I’d have got far more from this. As it is, its a short read, just 1903 kindle locations – I’d guess that’s about 125 pages or so, and there simply isn’t the space to let me get to know the people and understand the whole story well enough.

Stars: 2.5/3. Its an ok read coming in cold to the series, and if I’d read other books I think I would have rated this far higher.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne (Hours of the Night Book 2) by [Preston, Irene, Rancourt, Liv]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Vampires, supernatural suspense, M/M romance – what’s not to love? This is a great series but don’t start here, read books 1 and 1.5 or you’ll be lost.

Even though I’ve done that there are times when i needed to do a mental backtrack just to recall who fits where and how…There are some great characters here but the cast gets larger, with each book building on both short and long term story arcs, and that makes the whole thing pretty complex.

Sara: I love him, open, cheerful, confident in his sexuality and very much in love with Thad. He’s 23 and has a wonderful joy about him that makes him feel young, but not immature. He’s on the fence about the Monks, but respects Thad’s devotion to them, his quest for redemption.
I’m with him about them, not so sure they are the good guys they appear to be, and irritated at the way they use Thad’s guilt over what he is for their own ends. They withhold information to suit themselves and don’t worry about danger to Thad, seem to see him as dispensable.
There’s one bit where they are meeting with Brother Michael – I think it was him – and Sara remarks on the surrounds, very luxurious and Michael says that the monks give up all material wealth when they join. As Sara thinks you’d imagine that would mean they live frugally, but somehow they make it so they’re living in the lap of luxury. Pretty much like real life religion for many…..
Thad: He’s young in age, about 30ish I think but actually 115, and he’s got that historical mindset in many ways.
He was going to become a monk- or was one – when he was changed, and carries such guilt about what he is, calls the vampire part Le Monstre, and his work with the Monks is to atone for that. Like Sara, I think they use his guilt for their own ends.
It must be hard when so long has been spent suppressing his sexuality, thinking it a sin, and then finding Sara and falling in love. I love the way we get the closeness, the tenderness between them without need for overt sexuality. Some books it fits to read about characters sex lives in detail, in this one it would just feel wrong, the way its handled discreetly is exactly the way Thad would be. Anything more just wouldn’t fit his personality.

There are new and old characters here, Mardi Gras festival celebrations, Demons and Witches and lots of supernatural issues. They still need to track down the missing book, and Michael also tasks them with finding out who killed a relative of his and protecting his young twin relatives, Jo and Sep.
Its a tangled tale, and of course Nohea, Thad’s awesome kick – a$$ assistant is still angry about her missing baby niece, and they’re trying to track her down.

A busy book for the trio, full of the usual suspense, dangers, twisted clues and the Monks machinations. another great read.

Stars: four and a half, it didn’t quite rivet me as the first two, I found parts a little confusing, but still an excellent read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by authors.

An Unsuitable Heir, KJ Charles

An Unsuitable Heir, KJ Charles

An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities) by [Charles, KJ]

Genre:LGBTQIA, Romance

KJ Charles is my favourite m/m author, and I love taking a dip back in time with her books.
This trilogy has been another fun read, and what amazes me is when in this final book little clues and things I recall from the previous two make sense now, plot lines that were secondary now fit in as major ones.

I love reading and am always in awe of just how cleverly authors wrap up a story, tie in lose ends, put everyone in the place I want them to end, when halfway through the final book I still can’t see how it can be done. This trilogy has been like that with each book.

It was good to catch up with Clem once more, I love him, so gentle and unassuming but so Right all the while. His character seems like he’d be background and yet he has an inner strength to him that others lean on. He’s a genuinely kind and caring man.
Julian from book two is here as well. Oh how I disliked him at the start of that but loved him by the finish, and here he’s the same slick character, incredibly clever, formed by his upbringing (or lack of it), but now with Nathaniel he can work at a living that doesn’t mean betraying the trust of others.
I love when that happens, he wasn’t happy at what he was doing, forced into it by circumstance and now with help he can find a way forward to be proud of. That past though, the skills he learned help him here, well, help him aid Mark, Pen and Greta anyway.
Pen and Greta, what a great pair, relied on each other for so long and have struggled so hard.
Life could be incredibly tough for people in the past, and in KJ’s books some of that comes over, making me look at why people do what they do, at the struggles they have, and for anyone like Pen who doesn’t fit the traditional roles society believes in, life gets really complicated. Greta understood him, few others did til Mark came along, and quiet, watchful Mark sees what Pen needs.
Mark, he’s been in earlier reads, and always seems the strong, silent type and slightly detached from issues. You get the feeling though that once his mind is set, once he decides to help he won’t stop till all avenues are exhausted. But for poor Pen the result Mark needs for his friends, what need to come out into the open to save them, is the one thing that will emotionally destroy Pen.
That tears Mark up, he can’t let more people die, and yet how can he condemn Pen to life in the public eye where his differences will be mocked, ridiculed and tear him apart?
I just couldn’t see how it could all work out, but luckily i’m just a reader and KJ has the perfect solution for everyone, wrapped up in a very neat way.

 

Stars:Five, a clever end to what seemed like an insurmountable problem and a trilogy that will join  the keepers.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Foxglove Copse, A Porthkennack novel, Alex Beecroft

Foxglove Copse, A Porthkennack novel, Alex Beecroft

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA

Well, I almost always enjoy Riptide novels – I think maybe there’s a handful out of many reads that haven’t worked for me. Porthkennack novels I love too, remind me of Bluewater by the sea 😉 and of course its written by Alex Beecroft.

It was great being back in Porthkennack, and meeting the mighty Luscombes again….and a update on Brix, I loved that guy. There were some terrific new characters too who I hope we catch up with in later novels.

Sam’s wandered into Porthkennack on his travels escaping from his awful family.
Poor Sam, he really is suffering, had what seemed like a charmed life to many, wealthy family, great, high earning job, home of his own. The pressures of keeping it all up, earning the high income which stressed his conscience, trying to keep up with his family, who just don’t understand him, don’t even attempt to, led to him almost breaking though and he knew he had to get away, go off grid so to speak.
Now funds are low and he doesn’t want to go back, even thinking about it brings on panic attacks. They can be incredibly scary, and I so felt for Sam. Going back would probably kill him, and somehow I felt his family were so awful they’d rather he died than have to explain to their freinds why Sam is different. No wonder he left.

He meets Ruan under difficult circumstances. His aunt has been having sheep ritualistically  killed and Sam comes across one freshly butchered, and there he is, on the scene, a stranger in the village when Ruan and his aunt find him.
Ruan soon sees Sam just isn’t capable of doing something like this, but Sam can’t move on as his aunt is determined that the police will do something, so insists on pressing charges. I loved Ruan, perfect foil for Sam. He felt slightly Fey almost, with an uncanny insight and unusual way of dealing with issues. The attraction between the two was just perfect, and I loved this story.

I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded, the sheep killings that needed to be stopped, the way the teens in the village came into the story. It had a real camaraderie about it, but also some pretty scary events too, things that are too common in this age of technology and cyber crime.
I enjoyed too the descriptions of how Sam had adapted the van, how he used nature to support himself, the bender tent, the makings of the fire, cooking outside, and the use of solar energy. It all felt so real. Its a mix too of the old ways, living off the land, and the new, Sam’s talent with PCs means his laptop, powered by solar, lets him stay connected, keep up with life, find out information on his interests, which converge neatly with the satanic ritualistic appearing killings he comes across. He fits in so well, has the skills they need and is able to be himself.

Its real village life here too, where everyone knows everyone, history and feuds go back generations, and often the law is put in place outside the actual Law, dealt with by villagers who protect their own.

Its not just a romance, but a story with so much more, and that’s just what I look for. One to keep and reread.

Stars: Five, beautiful tender romance, wrapped up in some very real suspense.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Wolfsong, TJ Klune A story I bought!!

Wolfsong, TJ Klune

Wolfsong by [Klune, TJ]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I’ve been seeing recommendations for this story for a while now but you know what its like, there’s ARCs and KU, free books so actually buying one by an author whose work you don’t know if you like….well, for me it rarely happens even though I was very intrigued.
Then a few weeks back it was on sale at £1.49 so I bought it. Only got round to reading it last week and wow – what a book. Its kind of hard to review, one of those that defies categories.

It is Romance, but its a very slow burn and TBH though we know the two are going to get together they’re kids when we first meet them and have such a lot of growing to do, meeting others, just maturing. someone wrote criticising the sex, but I’m wracking my mind and all I can recall is one scene right at the very end.
Its M/M but the characters are so good that you don’t think of any of them specifally in terms of what sex they are, just that they are right for each other.
Its werewolf/Supernatural but again so much more. The werewolf/witch angle is just a part of who they are it doesn’t define any of them.

I adored Joe, been through so much and what a wonderful family. I got so angry at him at one point though I understood what he did but my heart broke for Ox.
And Ox, what a star he is, so truly good, loyal, despite the things that had happened to him, despite his awful father.
There’s lots more characters here, who fit the story so well, and I’d really like to read more about them – but seems they don’t have books. Yet – TJ Klune 😉

Its one of those books that are bittersweet when they end, where part of you is glad things worked out finally, and the other part just isn’t ready t leave the characters. Its a slow paced book, not an all action racey sex fest, but one where things develop over several years, where the story slowly expands, brings in more and more people and where Ox really grows into himself, becomes confident, where others see the strength and goodness that’s in him.

A wonderful story, one I’ll definitely re-read and I’ll be trying more from this author.

Stars: five, a fabulous, slow sensual read, with a great story building theme.

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