Tag Archives: genre: m/m

Relay by Layla Reyne

Relay

Relay by Layla Reyne

Series: Changing Lanes, Book 1
Published by:
 Riptide Publishing on January 8, 2018
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Dane Ellis is a swimming star, just longing to break through the water and find what he’s looking for in life. But that’s challenging when he lives in the shadow of his father, a famous conservative televangelist, and a mother who is all about appearances. And that’s why there’s a part of him that he’s kept secret–and is glad he’s managed to do so. Until Dane makes the Olympic team alongside Alex Cantu, who is much more than a rival. For one brief moment, Alex was the object of Dane’s affection, and Alex, well, he thought they might be able to have something lasting. But appearances are important in the Ellis household, and there are some lanes Dane just won’t cross. When the two are back in the same space together, with Alex as captain and needing to keep the team–and Dane–in line, will the forces of attraction prove too much? And to what lengths will Dane, Alex, and Dane’s parents go to hold onto the world that each is trying to preserve?

Life is not easy. Even for those who have it all. And while it is easy for us to look on and judge, it may well be the case that we can never truly put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. This is a lesson for both Dane and Alex throughout this book, as they both learn more about themselves and about each other. While we ultimately cannot change parts of who we are, listening to the right voices–within and without–can be more challenging than I think we often give ourselves and others enough credit for. A thought-provoking and at times inspiring read.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.]

 

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

Published by: Sky Pony Press on May 2, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Chris Bellows is not like the rest of his family. They are interested in fame, fortune, the social scene. Chris wouldn’t mind a more unsuspecting and quiet life. But when his stepsister Kimberly begins dating J.J. Kennerly, an heir to a fortune and a public image that is well beyond the Bellows family’s current station, Chris is along for the ride. And that ride becomes even more interesting when he develops his own feelings for J.J.–feelings that J.J. just might seem keen to reciprocate. A chance meeting with a very helpful new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, helps push Chris forward to maybe allowing himself to be who he wants to be and to believe that he just might deserve the things that he wants.

I am a fan of well-written adaptations, and I particularly like those where you can identify the inspiration but still manage to tell a unique and original story. This book delivers on all of those points in spades. There’s a lightness and humor to the story that I particularly appreciated. And in the end, I feel like everyone gets what they deserve.

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Stranded with Desire

Stranded With Desire by Vivien Dean & Rick R. Reed

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on August 1, 2016
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Colby takes his job as assistant to CEO Maine Braxton very seriously. He would to anything for his boss. Not only because he’s good at his job, but because he also harbors feelings for the man that he knows he shouldn’t. After all, Mr. Braxton is engaged to be married to a woman after they get back from this trip. But that will only happen if they do make it home–their plane has just gone down in the middle of nowhere and it’s up to the two of them to work together to find their way to safety…and to a phone. And while the experience leads Colby to rethink whether he can keep working for a man that he’s falling in love with, it also forces Maine to confront some realities of his own life at the same time.

This is one of those stories about finding love right in front of you and how it can creep up on you when you least expect it. But it’s also about being open to possibilities and not closing yourself off because of what others may expect of you or what you may expect of yourself. And sometimes that can be the biggest challenge of all.

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Switch Hitter

Switch Hitter by Cheyenne Meadows

Series: Shifter Hardball, Book 3
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on June 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Tucker Wilde is one of the best second basemen in the all-shifter professional baseball league. Or at least he thought he was until a rookie showed up and claimed his spot in the starting lineup. And things with his girlfriend seem to have run their course. But he also spent the previous night in the throes of passion with one of his teammates–something completely out of character for a straight man like Tucker. Dixon Foxx must admit he enjoyed his night with Tucker Wilde; he’d wanted the man ever since he first met him. But he is less pleased that Tucker views it as a drunken mistake that will never happen again. And although Dixon is a star player himself, his heart’s never really been in it, a heart that he risks being broken if he can’t either get through to Tucker or find a way to move on. But moving on is hard for both of them since they still have to see each other every day…

Being someone you’re not can be dissatisfying and challenging. But so many times we force ourselves to meet what we believe to be the expectations of others in our life, all the while robbing ourselves of chances at true happiness. And sometimes those expectations can become so internalized that we don’t even consider that we may want or need something different out of life. These are issues that both Tucker and Dixon must face, albeit in different ways and for different reasons. But if they’re wise, they may be able to help each other go through it together…

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Fair Catch

Fair Catch by Leigh Carman

Series: Players of LA, Book 2
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on March 20, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Professional football player Sullivan “Van” Archer is outgoing, sensational, and definitely straight. Or at least that’s what he needs everyone to think in order to keep his position. The truth is that there are some thick walls around his closet that he hopes will never come down. After Van suffers and injury that results in a recommendation to take yoga classes, Van finds himself in the class of Tobias Bennett–one of Van’s one-night stands that he hoped he wouldn’t cross paths with ever again. Tobias is quiet, still recovering from an abusive relationship, and has very little patience for Van’s attitude. But there is something between them that neither of them can easily shake, and it’s clear they will need to figure out what it is if they’re going to figure out what to do about it.

It can be easy to forget that each of our actions has an impact and that sometimes those impacts are not intended. And sometimes we cannot foresee how things just might come back around to haunt us. But ignoring people and feelings is not a way of resolving them, and finding resolution may mean needing to let down the walls that one has put up for protection. After all, if you close yourself off to possibilities, are you truly living? This book does an excellent job of addressing these questions and issues as we follow these two young men down a road of new experiences, taking chances, and letting go.

This is the second book in the series, but it is not necessary to read the first book to follow, understand, and enjoy the story.

Camouflage by Jon Keys

Camouflage

Camouflage by Jon Keys

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 20, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Luke Meyers lives a somewhat quiet life as a rancher in Oklahoma, though that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t long for something more. It’s not exactly easy to find a steady boyfriend in his area of the world–one night stands with closeted men, yes, but not as many men interested in long-term romance. He’s been video chatting with Nash Gallo, an attractive young man from Atlanta, and has invited him to come stay at the ranch for a bit and get away from things for a while.

Nash has been hesitating on taking Luke up on his offer. But his hesitation has not been because he doesn’t like Luke–it’s exactly the opposite. He just doesn’t know if Luke would be able to accept the fact that Nash has been working as a hustler to make ends meet. And he does not want to get his hopes up, but even more than that he doesn’t want to let Luke down should they meet in person and the sparks he’s felt online quickly develop into something more. After being assaulted by one of his Johns, Nash decides to go visit Luke for a while, not entirely sure about what may come of his visit.

So many times we think that life would be better if we keep our secrets to ourselves. And it may be true that some secrets will only complicate relationships if they are revealed. But by keeping a secret, there is always the possibility that it might come out. So is it better to share the information on one’s own terms with a chance of controlling the fallout or to live with a shadows hanging over everything that could come crashing down at any time? This is exactly the situation for both Luke and Nash, who each find themselves worrying that the other man may not be able to accept certain truths. But sometimes love can overcome the things that we may not like about ourselves or be most proud of and other times it can’t. Isn’t it better to live authentically and know exactly where one stands?

On Duty by A.R. Barley

On Duty

On Duty by A.R. Barley

Series: Smoke & Bullets, Book 1
Published by:
 Carina Press on December 18, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Troy Barnes feels like things are going well in his life–or at least well enough. He enjoys his work as a firefighter and things seem to be working between him and his roommate/boyfriend-on-the-downlow. But after Troy is injured while saving a young man from a fire and is asked to move out so his roommate’s pregnant girlfriend can move in, things no longer seem as solid. Not entirely sure where to go or what to do, Troy accepts an offer from paramedic Alex Tate to crash with him until he gets on his feet. Troy knows Alex loves to flirt, but the invitation doesn’t mean anything more than a friend helping out a friend, right? Or at least it doesn’t have to. Unless that’s what Troy really wants. But before these guys can start to understand any fire that might start burning between them they’ll need to track down the arsonist who is striking sites around the city…

I found myself enjoying this story quite a bit. Even though it was clear where the relationships would be going from early on, the banter between Alex and Troy (and Alex’s family–who are incredible) kept me smiling throughout my entire read. There are a couple of unexpected twists, which served as just enough to keep me on my toes at a few points in the book. This is the start of a new series, and I look forward to continuing to read it as future installments come out.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.]

Jock Auction by Alex Pendragon

Jock Auction

Jock Auction by Alex Pendragon

Published by: Loose Id on January 27, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

High school football player Kyle isn’t one who would jump at the idea of a bachelor auction. But since it’s a fundraiser and Coach expects all the players to participate, he finds himself on stage, taking off his shirt, and hoping he goes for a decent bid. He certainly does not expect that shy-seeming, nerdy Craig would be the one to win the bid. Why would a guy bid on him? Kyle’s not gay. And Craig’s not, either, is he? But even if he is, that’s not a problem. But if he is and Kyle just might realize he feels something in return? Well that would be a problem of epic proportions.

This was definitely an entertaining read. For a realizing-who-I-really-am and coming out story, it stays on the lighter side overall. But that also means there are some aspects of those types of experiences that seem a bit glossed over. There almost seems to be a surprising amount of gay people (or really, really gay-friendly) people in Kyle’s life, so much so that it felt a tad unrealistic at a couple of points. And there is so. much. sex. in this book–way more than I was expecting. But it’s overall a good read, and I’d give it a solid recommendation.

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

The Hanged Man's Ghost

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

Series: The Night Wars, Book 1
Published by:
 Torquere Press on January 31, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Detective Fynn Adder of the Chicago Police Department is about to embark on a case that will not only make or break his career but also change his life forever. Still reeling somewhat from the loss of his fiance, Robert, a few years ago, he’s drinking more than he knows he should and is engaging in meaningless sexual encounters. So when a series of murders occurs that seem to pulling in closer to Fynn, and then when he starts getting clues from the ghosts of these murder victims, it’s only a matter of time before everything could go completely off the rails. But as Fynn and his partner Jack start to dig deeper into the case, they learn there is a lot more to the crime spree that than meets the eye. And they uncover an Adder family secret along the way.

There are moments when I was reading this one that I honestly wasn’t quite sure where it was going. But it found its way back every time, and every time an additional layer of complexity was added to the story. This is an entertaining read, with a great paranormal element threaded throughout. The relationship development aspect seemed a bit glossed over, but it felt like such a minor point in the story (with an inevitable outcome) that I didn’t see it as impacting my enjoyment of the story.

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Outing the Quarterback

Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Series: Long Pass Chronicles, Book 1
Published by:
 Dreamspinner Press on September 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Will Ashford wants to be an artist. And he’s good enough to make it. But it doesn’t fit into the life his father has laid out for him. He’s the quarterback for the SCU football team and a business major, with the expectation that he will continue to play professionally and eventually take over his father’s business. So he attends art classes in secret, even using an alias to help ensure he won’t be found out. But there’s something in his newest class that might make it harder to keep his other secret: Will is gay, and he has designs on his classmate Noah Zajack. Will is hoping he will be able to secure a prestigious scholarship so that he can leave his father’s life (and money) behind to pursue his dream. But Noah also hopes to get the scholarship, as he may not have the means to continue his studies without it. Will is torn, not only when it comes to living his truth (and figuring out exactly what that truth is) but also when it comes to his own designs on the scholarship and the direct conflict with the man he loves. But the fact that one can’t always have everything is a cliche for a reason, and there are some decisions Will must make.

I can’t say that there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns with this story, but I found myself glued to the pages from beginning to end. The situation is ripe for drama and conflict, and it certainly delivers. But there are some great moments between the characters (not just Will and Noah, but many of the supporting players as well), and I found Noah particularly endearing. Definitely worth a read.