Monthly Archives: August 2014

Title: Sunset
Author: Arshad Ahsanuddin
Publication Date: February 1, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
This was nothing at all like I expected, but I mean that in a good way. So many of the things I like in a book were here – futuristic dystopia, fantasy elements, m/m romance, angst, family drama, the paranormal, unrequited love… I could go on and on. What’s better is that this is a very well-written and engaging story that kept me turning the page.

My only real complaint is that there is probably more in this book than there should be – the author has packed a lot into it. It’s part of a series, so it’s likely things could have been broken up a bit more, but I guess I’ll have a better idea after I pick up the next installments.

Title: Hot Head
Author: Damon Suede
Publication Date: June 15, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
For the past ten years, firefighter Griff has wondered if his feelings for his longtime best friend and colleague, Dante, might be something more than friendship. It seems a bit preposterous as Griff hasn’t ever desired guys (he’s been married) and Dante is a veritable ladies’ man himself. But when Dante runs into some financial trouble and accepts an offer to appear on an amateur porn site, Griff’s feelings go into overdrive – and nearly explode when Dante suggests they might appear together since the site is willing to offer higher cash rewards…

I had a hard time putting this one down. Damon Suede does an excellent job of throwing us into Griff and Dante’s world, already in progress, and feeling like we’ve known them for years. And, considering the setting is New York City in 2011 and it would be a part of Griff and Dante’s experiences, he does a wonderful job of being respectful to the FDNY heroes who responded to the September 11th attacks. There was a point in the middle of the book where I wasn’t sure I was going to like where things ended up, but it made its way back around and I find myself wanting to grab up the next installment in this series soon.

Title: Maybe with a Chance of Certainty
Author: John Goode
Publication Date: October 19, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
When I read the description of Maybe With a Chance of Certainty, I was worried is was going to be just another cliche play on the ‘quiet nerdy gay guy gets noticed by closeted jock and they have a brief fling and then the nerdy guy is cast aside because the jock can’t come out along with him’ which is a trope I’ve seen a number of times (see Geography Club). But there was something different about this one to me. There’s an authenticity to Goode’s writing of both Kyle and Brad that seemed to resonate with me on a different level than previous incarnations of this type of couple. Even though it’s short, the story is well-paced and I found it was easy to quickly connect with the characters and follow their development.

There’s more to this series, and I certainly plan to pick it up to learn what happens for them going forward.

Title: This Rough Magic
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publication Date: April 26, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
When Brett Sheridan hires Neil Rafferty to solve the theft of his soon-to-be father-in-law’s priceless Shakespeare folio, he only expects that Rafferty will handle the task quickly and with discretion. The latter is important since Brett worries that his sister might somehow be involved and the last thing his family needs is more scandal. But there’s no way he can be prepared for everything that will happen in his life in the coming days – almost all thanks to Neil.

I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. It’s a very engaging read – I finished it in one sitting – and it’s very easy to connect to the characters and the world they live in. The main characters are dynamic and the supporting characters provide some intrigue as well. This was the first Josh Lanyon story I’ve read, despite having several on my to-be-read list, but I definitely need to rectify that situation soon after reading this.

Title: Something Like Summer
Author: Jay Bell
Publication Date: January 5, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
When I started this, I thought it was going to be another run-of-the-mill ‘nerdy high school guy crushes on apparently straight jock guy and they start a clandestine relationship and then it gets tested by external pressure for the straight guy to come out’ novel. I’ve certainly read a fair number of those recently. But there’s so much more to this. Yes, it starts out the way I described, but Jay Bell brings life to the characters and builds the relationship in a way that just seems so much more authentic. And the story goes well beyond high school, following the characters into college and beyond. It’s very easy to connect to this story and to find yourself laughing, crying, and loving right along with them…

Title: Special Delivery
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publication Date: February 14, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I really enjoyed the beginnings of this one and liked where it was going for most of the book. When Sam first meets Mitch in the alley behind his aunt and uncle’s pharmacy, there’s definitely a spark there between them and I was excited to see how that would grow when they met again and eventually set out on the road together. The dynamic between Sam and Mitch was interesting to me, though I really felt thrown with the introduction of Randy and even now I’m still sorting out how I feel about that dynamic, though partly because I was hoping to see Mitch and Sam go in a different direction.

Overall, the writing is great – very descriptive and gets in your head (there were many times I found myself humming a song later in the day and remembered that it was referenced in the book). I definitely found it easy to connect to Sam and his experiences and was quickly invested in the relationship in this one.

Just as an aside, there is a bit of BDSM kink in this one, but nothing too over-the-top.

Title: The Tin Star
Author: J.L. Langley
Publication Date: August 6, 2006

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
The Tin Star is a book that has been on my to-read list for some time, and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. It certainly did not disappoint.

When Ethan Whitehall’s best friend’s brother, Jamie, comes out to his father, he is banished from the family ranch, losing both his job and his family. Ethan, who owns a ranch of his own, reaches out to Jamie and offers him a job and a place to stay, both knowing that Jamie has excelled as a ranch foreman and feeling that what his father has done is wrong. Not long after taking Jamie in, Ethan finds himself attracted to his new employee and quickly facing the question of being more public about his own sexuality. And as people in their small town start to find out about it, there are definitely some who are not going to take it very well.

The Tin Star is not just an m/m romance – it’s a story about family and the true meaning of love. The reactions of the people around Ethan and Jamie, including their friends, acquaintances, and relatives, tell a story of family and support that is truly inspiring.

Title: The Magpie Lord
Author: K.J. Charles
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Lucien Vaudrey has returned to England after a twenty-year exile to China to take up the title of Lord Crane following the deaths of his father and brother. Not long after his return, however, he started having blackouts in which he’s tried to injure himself and is therefore very concerned. When a friend sends him someone who might be able to help, Stephen Day, he has some hope despite Day’s own history with the Vaudrey family. Lucien needs Stephen to find out what’s going on and help him, but Lucien can’t help feeling drawn to Stephen and the attraction seems mutual. And Stephen is left trying to root out the source of the problem while trying not to be distracted by the new Lord Crane.

This was the first book by K.J. Charles that I’ve read and I can see why she is one of the bigger names in m/m fiction. It was easy to understand and connect with the main characters and she writes them in a way that makes you root for them. Personally, the paranormal and mystery elements in the story are a draw as I do enjoy stories that contain either (and especially both). There is a lot that goes on in this book, though, and a lengthy roster of secondary characters that can be difficult to keep track of. Overall, though, I’d certainly recommend giving this a read – especially if you’re someone who appreciates m/m romance historical paranormal mystery.