Shorts.

Been reading loads and hoping we don’t need to break out the emergency rations. Not keen on earthquakes. At all.

The Manituw by Lisbeth Jenkins is set in Bonnenuit, Newfoundland. English scientist Robert goes to study the sea and sets sail with Captain July Cyr. There was loads to like about this book, the setting was beautifully written and there was plenty of angst between the characters. However, I felt the sex was a little rushed and I wondered if the story arc peaked a little early. Parts of the narrative were rather charming so I am keen to give the author another crack. Just not sure this one hit the mark with me. Check out the book here at ARe.

The Lion Of Kent was great medieval read from by Aleksandr Voinov and Kate Cotoner. The book was well paced and had some grubby sex between Sir Robert de Cantilou and his squire William. Although suffering a little from being such a short story at around 100 or so pages, the book had great pace, tension and characters. It did end a little abruptly, but I hope this means they’re going to carry on the series as I’d definitely like to read more. You can purchase it at ARe.

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is a comic book prequel for one of my favorite series of books by Patricia Briggs. The story translated really well into a visual medium and I loved the artwork. I think there have been quite a few negative reviews on GR and to be honest I am not really sure why. The artwork is cool and I loved how Mercy and her beau were depicted. If there was one character I was not as keen on it was the vampire Stefan. I thought he’d be a little prettier. Cool story, great art and a very stylish interpretation of one of my favorite characters. Get it from the Book Depository, cheap as chips! Now if someone would only make My Fair Captain into a comic book, my life would be complete.

Promises by Marie Sexton.

Jared Thomas has lived his whole life in the small mountain town of Coda, Colorado. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. Unfortunately, the only other gay man in town is twice his age and used to be his teacher, so Jared is resigned to spending his life alone.

Until Matt Richards walks into his life, that is. Matt has just been hired by the Coda Police Department, and he and Jared immediately become friends. Matt claims he is straight, but for Jared, having a sexy friend like Matt is way too tempting. Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s co-workers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together—if he can even convince Matt to try.

Promises is a charming story about coming out, taking risks and falling in love. Loaded with much angst and bike riding, it was a very cool read.

Jared is out in his small town, but aware well aware that he is not always accepted as a part of his community. Initially it does not color his actions, but in the latter parts of the book it does provide a bone of contention between Matt and Jared as they try and make what they have together work. Matt has never been with another man in a long term sexual relationship, so a lot of the story is about him coming to terms with himself and his feelings for Jared. (I do have a penchant for this trope I think. I liked. A lot!!) I thought the authors treatment of the growing attraction between the two men was beautifully done and the slow building of smexual tension just made me sigh.

The rest of the book was reasonably well put together. At times the world building was a little light and a couple of the plot devices felt a little jarring, but I’m not sure how else you’d tie it all together to be honest. I also enjoyed it so much I kinda ignored that stuff.

Promises was a total winner and I can’t wait to see what this author does next. Check it out at Dreamspinner Press.

Don’t Look Back by Josh Lanyon.

Museum curator Peter Killian wakes in the hospital, accused of ripping off his own museum. He doesn’t remember stealing an artifact or tough, sexy police Lt. Mike Griffin. But Mike remembers him and is determined to see Peter behind bars.
From Loose Id.

don't look back josh lanyonPeter was defnitely a character I grew to like. His initial amnesia seemed more of a defensive mechanism, a shield if you like, to keep a barrier between himself and having to deal with the painful reality that his life has become. Mike is very still waters run deep kind of guy and doesn’t let a lot go initially. He’s a cop, stoic but with warmth and a protective streak that runs a mile wide.

The mystery was nicely written and segued in well with Peters dawning realization that not everyone is as they seem. I enjoyed the secondary characters a great deal and they really made parts of the book.

While my focus was mainly on the romance of the story, I often find myself noting stylistic features. Although far from being an expert on the subject I know what I like. I enjoy Josh Lanyons writing because there is a certain sensibility about it. Sparse, well paced , with a leanness that makes you feel like no word is wasted. An absolute breath of fresh air.

Don’t Look Back was a pleasure to read, another wonderful story from one of my favorite authors. Get the book and it’s boobalicious cover here at Loose Id.

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy.

tad-webFootball, friends, and film are the most important parts of Simon Murray’s life, likely in that order. Despite being lonely, Simon is cautious about looking for more, and his best friends despair of him ever finding that special someone to share his life. Against his will, they drag him to a party…
From Dreamspinner Press. 

This was the most addictive book to read. Written in first person, I found Simon’s story rather difficult to put down. At times he was a bit whiny and I did get a little over his trials and tribulations with his mates, but Simon was an appealing character who I found myself cheering on silently in his relationship woes. He does try, really!

Although I am not a huge sports fan, I am a total freak for sports romances and seeing one about the very high testosterone field of football was a definite winner for me. That it was also set in a city not too far away from where I am was also a huge plus. Most romance novels are set in the US. Which is fine for the most part, but it is nice to read about other places in the world and this one felt very familiar and the authors voice was incredibly engaging.

While I did enjoy the book a great deal, I had a few problems with the length. Some parts in the last third or so of the book felt extraneous and I wondered if the latter parts of the novel could have been a little tighter. Sometimes less is more. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was a great holiday read. More please!

Get the book here from All Romance ebooks.
Sean Kennedy’s website.

Out of My Mind by M.L. Rhodes.

mlrhodesoutofmymindFor four years Rafferty Jones and Nick Tucker have worked side by side as police detectives in their small Maine town. But lately, Rafferty’s imagination has been creating fantasies about Nick more specifically, about Nick and him together that have shocked Rafferty. Detailed erotic scenarios a thirty something, set in his ways straight man shouldn’t be imagining. He’s been struggling to keep them secret, afraid that if Nick discovers the truth it will end their friendship. But with each passing day it’s getting harder and harder to pretend Nick is “just” a friend. And harder and harder for Rafferty to come to terms with the possibility he might not be as straight as he’s always believed
From Amber Quill Press

As I’ve said previously, I am a huge fan of the unrequited best friend – I love you but don’t want to lose you – romance at the moment. This was a great read and I am fast becoming a total junkie for  M.L. Rhodes work.

There is something very sexy about having a secret love. Every look, inadvertent touch and word is layered with meaning and I think the tension that the author created was hot. Often authors stray into the gay for you shtick, which does not float my boat, so I think she handled Rafferty coming to terms with his feelings for Nick beautifully. 

What I felt was particularly hot was the scene on the boat. That feeling of pent-up sexual desire and need was smokin and I do believe my spectacles were a little fogged. merow.

I don’t think the author pulled too many punches with Rafferty’s coming out either. It was not all roses and bunnies, but did to a certain degree have a romance novel buffer between reality and fiction. 

A book well worth reading with smexy goodness, which you can check out here at All Romance ebooks.
M.L. Rhodes Website.

Object of His Desire by Ava March.

ava-march-object-of-desireIt’s the last night of a week-long house party in remote northern England. Every sensual delight imaginable is right at Henry Shaw’s fingertips. Yet all he wants is to be with his host, the deliciously handsome and enigmatic Arsen Grey. Henry’s certain it’s love, not mere infatuation. He’s also sure it’s hopeless. After all, the party’s purpose is to find Arsen a new mistress.

Arsen longs to leave the glittering, jaded world of the ton behind and find someone who will value him for himself, not his wealth and his title. He suspects that someone could be the strapping country gentleman he’s caught staring at him. Henry is loyal and dependable, nothing like his other acquaintances. Arsen sets a plan into motion, one designed to get Henry into his bed. One that includes a test of devotion.

Arsen never expected that in winning Henry, he risks losing his heart.
From Samhain Publishing.

Men in period costume, servants and really lovely bedroom furniture. Historical pron, noice!

I have decided recently that I have a huge jones for unrequited, best bud love. I am addicted and this book fit the bill perfectly. Henry has much longing for his friend Arsen, but does not want to jeopardize their friendship by putting the moves on. Arsen was gorgeous and had a very commanding presence. Henry was sweet, big and well muscled and would be perfect as a burly footman in a James Lear novel. heh.  

I enjoyed how the story unfolded, interspersed with memories of what they two men had meant to each other during the past year or so. It was sweet and tightly written with enough depth to get a sense of the characters relationship. The language was a little underdone at times in regards to speech. Perhaps a little more Valley High than Valley Forge, but enjoyable despite this.

Again, as with all slightly shorter novels, I’d like to see a more fleshed out book. But, this is only because I enjoyed it and have been spoilt with years of tome like historical novels.

This was a delightful read and am looking forward to more of her work. 
Get it here from Samhain or All Romance ebooks.

True North by Bethany Brown & Ashlyn Kane.

tn-ebookSmall-town engineer Jackson Strange has been clumsy his whole life, so when an accident at work sends him to the local clinic, it’s no big shock. The surprise is his magnetic, heated attraction to the enigmatic Julian Piet, a charming doctor with killer good looks who pulls Jack off his lonely course. Now that their paths have crossed, Jack and Julian head off in a new direction – but between Jack’s reluctance to be open about his sexuality and Julian’s shattered self-confidence, they can’t seem to decide what direction that is. It takes a push from Julian’s meddlesome sister to send them stumbling headfirst into romance.

Happily wrapped up in their fledgling relationship, Jack and Julian think they may have found their way when unexpected roadblocks appear on their path to forever. Wrathful storms, dangerous illness, family connections, and broken hearts threaten their tenuous balance. Will the trials send them spinning apart – their love scattered to the four winds? Or will Jack and Julian learn to believe and trust that together they can find true north.
From Dreamspinner Press.

How can you resist a man in scrubs? Years of watching ER, Chicago Hope and now Grey’s obviously has me well conditioned. heh.

This book starts with promise, two guys meet and are attracted to each other, always a bonus in a romance novel. Bit of the whole caretaker hero doing his taking care thing, it was good. I liked Jackson, he was sweet and had me imagining warm plaid shirts. Not sure why, just did! Julian is a nice foil of slender goodness with much fiesty sexiness. There is a beautifully described small town in winter, interesting secondary characters and it was nice and long. (long is good!) 

The only problems I had with the book were a few moments with awkward plot devices that had my suspension of disbelief working overtime. I also found some of the explanations about backgrounds and where the boys came from a little confusing, but the rest of the book read reasonably smoothly.

Despite these problematic moments I’ll be interested in seeing what their next book is like. It is coming soon from Dreamspinner Press in March. You can check it out here.

Get get the ebook and paperback here.

Playing The Field: Faceoff by J. M. Snyder

faceoffChristian “Magic” Magdziuk is a minor league hockey player with dreams of someday heading to the NHL, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that dream come true. So he plays with the Richmond Rebels for only one short season before he asks to be traded to the Bedford Blizzard, a farm team for the American Hockey League, where he might get a little more notice from scouts.

His attitude on the ice left him few friends among the Rebels…that is, until teammate Ronnie Niedermeyer took a liking to him. One thing led to another and the two men became lovers during the time Christian played with the team. But when he transferred to the Blizzard, he left the Rebels-and Ronnie-behind.

Now it’s the first game of a new season, and Christian’s facing off against his former teammates in the season opener. But after all this time, does something still smolder between Christian and Ronnie?

This was an incredibly quick read. The story was made up of a series of moments, brief, succinct and fast paced rather than having the padding of a longer novel around it. Perhaps it is my fault for not looking more closely at what the word count of the book was when I was buying, but, at 40 pages in pdf I cannot help but feel a little disappointed that it was not longer. Especially as what I did read was enjoyable. I know I have whinged about this before, but when I pay that much for a book I guess I expected a few more pages. However, due to how the story was written maybe it would not have worked in a longer format.

The romance was sweet and hot and I enjoyed the characters. Christian with his drive and ambition to do better for himself and Ronnie with his quiet stoicism. The premise of the book is what initially made me pick it up and the lovely cover. I have a thing for sports romances and have all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips firmly on the shelf!

So, much locker room shots, men in towels and hockey sticks. Nice!

Get it here from Amber Allure.

Interview – LB Gregg

yukon_man1It is my pleasure to share an interview with you from author LB Gregg.
Clever, funny and a smarty after my own heart, this talented new author has the first Men of Smithfield book coming soon in ebook from Aspen Mountain Press and in March the paperback version with MLRP.
The MLRP series is called Smart Ass, the first is Close Quarters. The Men of Smithfield stories will be paired with Amber Green’s new series Turner & Turner.

I know you think this is an ass question, but would you care to share a few things about yourself? Favorite shoes, neck tie, body piercing… cake?

Favorite shoes? Black leather driving mocs. Worn to perfection (meaning I need to toss them) and comfortable in any weather. Also my black and orange ski boots.

Neckties? Surely you jest.

My favorite body piercing on someone else is a small gauge. Emphasis on small. I admit to an unnatural interest in the Prince Albert, but this is purely academic.

Cake? That’s one of my favorite bands!

beagle-trainingBeagles. Possibly the best dog IN the world? Your thoughts on this noble beast?

My dog ate a grease stick. MMmmmm….grease stick. It never ceases to amaze me what a beagle is willing to ingest. Chapstick, fruit snacks, a jar of peanut butter, a roll of paper towels, a bag of grapes, heck, they’ll lick chicken feed off the ground. I mean the list is as endless as it is impressive.

There is no sweeter dog, though.

What made you start writing?

I was strong armed into this, no question. I always wanted to write but I lacked the discipline. It was through the encouragement, and the daily, er, support of my blogging friends, and my writer pal, that I was able to get these novellas written. Those folks really kicked me (read: my ass) into gear. Also, M/M is the genre where I found both my voice and the stories I wanted to tell.

lb_gobsmacked_500x75021I think your books are fresh, funny and totally sexy, but what do you think sets them apart?

Thanks, Sarah. That’s so nice to hear. My stories are pretty short and the pace is fast, but it’s the setting that I think is atypical. New England. People say, write what you know. So I did. The folks here are practical, no-nonsense, and bit tricky to get to know. Each season brings a brand new set of expectations for our lives, from the kinds of weather we experience, to the clothes we wear, to our leisure activities, to the coffee we drink (iced or hot?). I’m sure that’s true elsewhere, but my experience has been predominantly here. I’m keen on it.

Where would you like to see the m/m medium go in the next few years?

I’d like to see m/m lose it’s ‘kink’ appeal and get into the broader market, for the genre to gain credibility and garner respect. Imagine a harlequin line of category glbt novels!

What do you think has been your most important piece of work to date and why?

Ha. Well I only have the one book out so I’ll say…that one! Gobsmacked. It’s important to me on many of levels. It’s my first book, my first time writing, and the fact that my friends and family supported my writing endears it to me. Please buy my book. heh.

The next book in the Men of Smithfield series, Happy Ending, is close to my heart.

I wanted to write a story that presented a positive family dynamic with a gay parent, but that’s not the focus of the book. Happy Ending is a love story. Seth and David are one lively pairing, phewie. I never knew what that David was going to do next or how Seth was going to react.

60382763What sort of characters are you drawn to writing about?

I ‘m drawn to everyday men who find themselves out of their comfort zones, who have to make decisions on the fly, and who wind up having the rug pulled out from under them by some inappropriate guy. In Gobsmacked, Marks entire life unravels in a series of fast, unexpected events and he’s scrambling to make sense of things…so Tony makes his move. I do like that Tony. Tony likes to take charge, and Mark is out of control. Gob is an old friends, alpha/beta, cop story. Tres. Hot.

In Happy Ending, the next in my Men of Smithfield series, the no-nonsense and stern Seth Weston meets his unlikely match in the funny, daring, and laid back David Cooke. It’s a fun story and, I have to admit, it’s a bit spicy.

How hard is it to write scenes with the smex? Making it hot and sexy without it coming off as cheesetastic?

It’s tough. I rewrite love scenes constantly trying to get them just so and …. I’m never satisfied. I’m working on the edits for the print version of Gobsmacked and I’m still tweaking. The Aspen e-book will be slightly different than the print. It’ll be interesting to see what readers think.

starving-writerAny suggestions for wannabe authors hoping to get published?

Well, this ain’t no War and Peace (thank god) but to get published in this genre, you have to write write write. Set daily goals and meet them, and when you don’t, cut yourself slack because tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it. Find someone you trust to read for you and ask for specific feed back. Never ever be afraid to toss stuff and rework it. That’s not failure; that’s the process. That sounds bossy, but the truth is, the books we read aren’t written on the first go, or the tenth, they are the culmination of a lot of work, rereads, and rewrites. And as a pal said to me last night, Books are built one word at a time.”

You’re a bit of a reader geek when you’re not writing. Are there any romance authors you’re particularly addicted to?

Well, Josh Lanyon, of course. He’s the king. I enjoy JL Langley very much. Victor Banis. Outside of m/m, I have some old favorites in the romance world, Lisa Kleypas, Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, and Joanna Lindsay and, well she’s not really romance, but I adore Charlaine Harris. My new favorite? The ever clever Meljean Brook. She’s fantastic. Oh and Kresley Cole. I’ll stop here because I could go on all day.

stevemcqueenAre there any story lines that suck you in as a reader more than others? Cops, desert island or perhaps intrepid book sellers?

I’m partial to intrepid book sellers, this is true. I also love tough navy seals, hard-nosed and closeted cops, and certain stern starship commanders…I like those big alphas…and I like them best when they are paired with a smart ass beta who keeps them on their toes. That contrast is delicious.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on a story called Shelter, at least that’s what it’s called today. It’s not a Men of Smithfield story, but it is m/m and it’s one of my favorite romantic contrasts… May/December. Yum.

I have the rough of Men of Smithfield III waiting on my hard drive. It’s being…persnickety. I should finish that by the end of February.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions. ALL of them! heh. I really do appreciate it and it’s been super cool. Mwah!!

Thanks Sarah! Mwah back atcha!

picture-2As a special treat I am going to offer a free ebook copy of Gobsmacked to a lucky poster, just leave a comment saying hi and I’ll make a draw later next week.

postcard_myspace_jpegIn the meantime check out LB Gregg’s website here and the link to MLRP. The Smithfield Gazette is also a very worthy publication to sign up for and you can check it out here.

Artwork at the top of page is from Mikemen.

A Strong and Sudden Thaw by R. W. Day

14157The Ice fell upon the world nearly a hundred years ago, and if civilization didn’t rightly collapse, it surely staggered and fell ill a while. In the small town of Moline, Virginia, folks struggle to survive, relying on hybrid seed sent by the faraway Departmet of Reintroduction and Agriculture and their own faith in God and hard work. But when a mated pair of dragons starts hunting the countryside, stealing sheep, and attacking children, the townsfolk quickly learn that they don’t have the weapons or the skills to fight off such predators. 

David Anderson is a farmer’s son who has explored the world through books. When he meets the new healer in town, Callan Landers, he doesn’t quite know what to make of the strange warmth stealing over him. It’s not until he surprises Callan with another man-and both men are promptly arrested for sodomy-that David finally realizes the truth about his own feelings. 

When David and Callan stumble over a secret in a nearby abandoned town, their personal problems fade before government politics and corruption that threaten lives. It seems the dragons aren’t the worst dangers facing Moline.
From All Romance eBooks.

I’ve never been a great one for the great outdoors and nature. I don’t do bugs and a girl has to have somewhere to plug in her hairdryer! So, I was surprised to have enjoyed this as much as I did. I found the day to day details of David’s life on the farm and and the interactions with his family and Callan absorbing.

The world building was well done and the hint of conspiracy certainly gave the story a neat twist. Some of the book leaves you guessing a little till the end and I am hoping the 2nd book comes out soon as I cannot wait to see what happens next.

The romance between Callan and David was sweet, tender and passionate. David was such a sturdy character, a likeable cuss and I enjoyed him immensely. The books length was also a plus and defnitely allowed the time for the development of the characters. At 282 pages in pdf I really felt that I got bang for my buck. I liked!

 

To get this wonderful story go check it out at the following sites – 

All Romance eBooks
Lethe Press
Website for R.W. Day