Muscling Through by J.L Merrow
Published by: Samhain Publishing on July 19, 2011
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Al Fletcher never expected what would happen when he helped a drunk Larry Morton home. His efforts were not exactly appreciated as Larry sent him away and threatened to call the police. Though he came and apologized after he sobered up, it was still a bit of a jarring experience. But the two started spending time together, finding after a short time that the last thing Larry would want to do is send Al away. It might be too good to be true, though, as they come from two completely different worlds. And as much as they seem to click together, Al can’t help wondering if Larry can truly see past those differences in the long term…
This is a short read that moves quickly while managing to bring the reader right along for the ride. Without a lengthy exposition, the conflict that exists for these characters is made real rather quickly. Readers get a strong sense of both characters, even though the story is written from the perspective of only one of them. A well-written and entertaining story!
Title: Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Author: Josh Lanyon
Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Professor Sebastian Swift finds himself caught up in a murder mystery after one of his students unexpectedly comes to him for help one evening. Not knowing what is going on and wanting to be helpful, he gives the student the keys to his cabin and then confounds the situation when he fails to share this fact with his police chief boyfriend, Max. And as the plot thickens, Swift quickly finds there are more people involved than he might have expected and the whole situation brings him up against his own troubled past which he had been trying to put behind him.
Another good mystery from Josh Lanyon. This was one that I hadn’t really figured out until closer to the end, and those are always my favorite types of mystery to read. There are definitely enough twists to really keep you guessing as a reader. Though there are moments when I felt the pacing was a bit off (things could have moved more quickly), I enjoyed this one.
Title: Loving Luki Vasquez
Author: Lou Sylvre
Publication Date: June 19, 2011
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Sonny James had no idea what to expect when Luki Vasquez wandered across his path – but he figured the man could bring something new into his life. Turns out that was an understatement. Luki can definitely ignite Sonny’s passions, but they are together quickly pulled into a multi-state chase that leaves both of their lives in jeopardy.
I’d heard bits and pieces about this series before jumping in and now I can see why people have such great things to say about it. The reader is definitely taken on quite the adventure with these two men. This is also one of those books that keeps you guessing – assuming nothing truly bad can happen to the main characters or those close to them just seems like something you shouldn’t do. I definitely like the feel, the speed, the pacing – and am very keen to pick up the second book.
Title: Hot Head
Author: Damon Suede
Publication Date: June 15, 2011
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: 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: Bad Company
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Hearing Kellan Brooks say “I need a boyfriend” was probably one of the last things Nate Gray ever expected to happen in his life. He and Kellan had been friends when they were younger, but they quickly drifted apart when Nate started getting targeted by his classmates for being gay. Nate has witnessed Kellan’s playboy antics on television and in magazines, but Kellan’s father has finally cut him off for his philandering – something Kellan hopes to undo by pretending he’s gay to upset his father. And Nate’s even more surprised when he learns that Kellan expects him to play a starring role in this charade.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one based on the description. I shared some of the same discomfort with the overall situation as some of the characters express during the course of the story. And while I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the development of the two main characters, their feelings about the situation, and their relationship, I did enjoy it overall. I’ll definitely be giving the next book a read when I get a chance.
Content warning: [Dubious consent]