Lazy Sundays by K-lee Klein
Published by: Goodreads M/M Romance Group on July 3, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Scott can hardly believe he’s landed Devon. Devon’s edgy and rugged, sporting long hair and tattoos. Scott, in contrast, is geeky, straight-laced, and clean-cut. He’s an accountant, and he lives many of the stereotypes. So when Devon turns into more than just a one-time thing, Scott can’t help his surprise. The two fall into a routine. Devon shows up on Saturday nights, and they spend all day Sunday together. Devon’s company feels right to Scott, and the time they spend in bed feels even better. But Scott realizes something after several weeks–they never go out. And the one time they did, Devon cut the date short and they headed home. Already insecure about being with Devon, Scott can’t help thinking that Devon is hiding something. And the truth is that he is. But it’s nothing like what Scott expects.
This novella is a short and engaging read. Although it jumps in after Scott and Devon have started their relationship, there’s no problem being right there with them. And the author gets us into Scott’s head right away. Early on, we know of his insecurities and we know his reservations. The story is all from Scott’s perspective, so we, as readers, know just as much about Devon as the character does. And that makes it even easier to understand where Scott is coming from. (Though I found that I still wanted to shake some sense into him more than once.)
The theme of trust–acting because of insecurities and misunderstandings–is strong here. Forgiveness and admitting to one’s mistakes also end up at the center. While none of these themes are particularly surprising in a romance story, the strong writing makes them resonate with the reader. Making something expected feel unexpected is a hallmark of good writing. And you’ll find good writing here.
Title: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover (The Most Popular Guy in the School, Book 1)
Author: Shira Anthony
Published: July 15, 2012
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Mark Mitchell isn’t one of the popular guys in school. He’s not a total pariah, but he’s a bit of a nerd and not even the slightest bit athletic. His plan is to just do what he needs to do to get through high school and not make any waves until then. On one cold morning when Mark is volunteered to help unload the chocolate orders for a class fundraiser, he’s a bit surprised to be working with Bill Cromwell. Bill’s probably the most popular guy in school, and he’s incredibly sexy. Mark manages to get through the day without being completely distracted by his attractive classmate and puts all of his thoughts away for later. He stands no chance with a straight jock like Bill. A few nights later, when an unexpected snowstorm hits, Mark finds Bill stranded in the parking lot and offers him a ride home. It seems like an easy enough task, but the chance offer turns out to be something that intertwines the two of them together in very unexpected ways. Mark’s vision of Bill’s life as being perfect is clearly far from the truth, and they both just might have to stick together to survive until graduation.
I had an idea of the basic concept of this story when I read the blurb. Nerdy gay teen starts crushing on the obviously straight jock. It turns out maybe the obviously straight jock isn’t so straight after all. It’s a story I’ve definitely seen before. But there’s more to this story–it goes in some unexpected directions and deals with a whole range of other issues. So it stands out as unique for me in terms of the way the story unfolds. And I found myself enjoying reading about the characters and the town where they live.
I did feel like Bill’s speech didn’t come across as being as inspiring as the characters in the book seemed to think it was. And I also feel like the book could have ended a little earlier than it did. But I definitely think this one is worth a read. I’m looking forward to picking up the second installment in the series.
Title: Worth the Price (Circle of Friends, Book 1)
Author: E.G. Lyton
Published: July 16, 2012
Publisher: Heart on Heart
Vernon Rocheford, Earl of Quilton, has no desire to get married–well, since society would only allow him to do so with a woman. As a man of station, he is able to participate in a dalliance here and there whilst avoiding scandal. But when he pops into the Parthenon, a brothel that caters to men with his interests, one evening, he spies Sebastian Worthing. Seb has decided to auction off two years of companionship to get the money to keep his mother and sisters from falling into utter disgrace after the death of their father. Vernon is not at all interested in such an arrangement, but after he looks into Seb’s eyes and is reminded of a former lover and he worries what might happen to him if he goes home with one of the other bidders, Vernon decided to help Sebastian out after all. But what Vernon intends to be a quick exchange of cash and more of a two-year friendship than anything else quickly turns out to be more than he bargained for.
A rather unique Regency romance that pulled me right in. There’s an interesting and unexpected backstory here that is revealed slowly and smoothly over the course of the book. And it’s not difficult at all to really feel for Sebastian and the place he’s ended up.
There were some moments when character point of view threw me just a bit, but not enough to really distract from following the story.
I’m looking forward to picking up the next book in this series…
Title: Player and the Prude (Men of Holsum College, Book 4)
Author: Daisy Harris
Published: July 7, 2012
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I continue to enjoy the Men of Holsum College series, though I don’t know that I feel this one was as enjoyable as the previous three. The story itself worked for me, but I was not a fan at all of Brooks in the beginning (though I suspect we’re not really supposed to be) and it impacted the way I read the rest of the book. Ultimately, I had a different opinion of him by the end, but it did stick with me for a large part of this. Still looking forward to seeing what more of these boys get up to in the next installment.
Title: Something Like Winter
Author: Jay Bell
Publication Date: July 25, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review: One word: Incredible. I feel like I pretty much ate this book up. This is so much more than just a rehash of the first book from Tim’s perspective. It provides insights and dimensions to the story that make the characters so much more real. The parallel narrative is distinct and adds many layers to the story of Tim and Ben (and everyone else in their lives). This book also continues the story past the first book, giving readers a glimpse into life after ‘summer’ and ‘winter’.
This installment is more angst-ridden than the first and definitely has some utterly heart-wrenching moments, but it is definitely worth reading. This is one of those books that can truly move you.
Part of what makes this book so great is the way it relates to the first book, and Jay Bell has done an incredible job here. The world he has created is one I’m excited to go back to in the rest of this series – I expect more laughing and crying in my future.
Title: After Ben
Author: Con Riley
Publication Date: July 15, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: Cut to Theo Anderson, still working on finding his way after the death of his long-time partner, Ben, just a year ago. Try as he might, Theo hasn’t been able to find a way to move on or even to reconnect to the world. A glimmer of hope shines through when he meets Peter at the gym, but it may not be enough to help him find a way to cope. But when he forms an unexpected friendship with Morgan on an internet discussion forum, he wonders if maybe he has finally found exactly what he needs. But will Morgan live up to his expectations in person? What if they don’t connect the same way offline? Can Theo really move past Ben, the love of his life? And who is Morgan, really?
I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. When it started, I thought it was a bit slow and that it was going to be page after page of reliving Theo’s grief. (Don’t get me wrong, there is a fair share of that – but I think it’s necessary for the reader to truly understand the intensity of his connection, which is something we can’t get from Theo’s present, as Ben is no longer around.) But it turned out to be a story of love and loss, finding your way in the world when you don’t think you can, recognizing that things don’t always go as planned but they still go on, and that as long as we stay hung up on our preconceptions about what we deserve and what life should be – we can never expect more from ourselves. There’s some definite emotional moments in this one (and a few steamy moments, too), but it’s a touching tale and one I certainly recommend. I’m looking forward to the next book and learning more about this group of guys…