I liked the narrator's voice but the structure of the book was all over the place and the writing wasn't great. However, the stories were good, it hadI liked the narrator's voice but the structure of the book was all over the place and the writing wasn't great. However, the stories were good, it had so much potential to be a fun, funny, sexy read about a gay guy's pursuits for cock. Shame the editors at Kensington didn't see the potential I did, it could have been so much more....more
Was an ok story, but nothing groundbreaking. The narrator had a lovely voice but just needed a little more acting when changing characters, then it wo Was an ok story, but nothing groundbreaking. The narrator had a lovely voice but just needed a little more acting when changing characters, then it would have been spot on. Will definitely try the next book in the series when I want something light to listen to....more
Merry Gentlemen is a quick, sweet Christmas romance, and my first by Josephine Myles. I've heard many good things about this author, so I thought thisMerry Gentlemen is a quick, sweet Christmas romance, and my first by Josephine Myles. I've heard many good things about this author, so I thought this was a good way of trying out her writing style. The author's website states her work as "Gay romance with lashings of English sauce" and this is exactly what Merry Gentlemen has.
The story is set in Bath, and told from Riley's point of view. Riley's working his way up the corporate ladder, and he's been given the task of managing Bath's annual Christmas Market. It has to go without a hitch if he wants that promotion. The only thing missing from his life is Stan. He still thinks of him all the time even though it's been five years since they broke up.
While he's making his rounds, ensuring all the stall owners are happy, Riley bumps into Stan who's hired one of the stalls to promote his new business. All his old feelings come rushing back and the spark ignites once again between them.
Unfortunately all the things that tore them apart in the first place are still there. Riley is a city-boy working on his career and Stan is an outdoors kind of guy, living in nature and making things with his hands, such as the new house he's built.
Although Stan is only in town for two weeks, they rekindle their relationship, but this time it's even harder to say goodbye. But after a few compromises on both sides, things take an unexpected turn, surprising both of them.
Although things work out between them a bit too quickly, I did enjoy how these two guys came together and worked things out to get their HEA. It just shows that things can be successful if compromises are made. A cute ending that really warmed me.
As well as the romance side, there's lots of fun too. Riley is a funny, charming character who enjoys having fun, so there are quite a few lighthearted moments that move the story forward. The christmas theme is really evident for the first half of the story and made me feel all Christmassy, but is somewhat lost in the second half.
Merry Gentlemen is a lighthearted, second chance at love romance. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours during the festive season. I'd definitely read more from this author....more
The Christmas Throwaway is the story of police officer, Ben, who finds Zach sleeping in the village graveyard, cold, alone, and homeless. Being ChristThe Christmas Throwaway is the story of police officer, Ben, who finds Zach sleeping in the village graveyard, cold, alone, and homeless. Being Christmas, Ben decides to take him home to his family for a bit of TLC (tender loving care). Luckily, Ben’s mum is also a compassionate person and doesn’t find this odd at all. She sets Zach up in one of her son’s bedroom (who’s now left home) and together they work to put Zach at ease, going so far as to give him gifts and allow him to stay over the Christmas period and even into the New Year. Zach also meets the rest of the family, who also take him under their wing.
Unfortunately there isn't much depth to the story or the characters, even though there are a few sensitive issues within the storyline, such as parental abuse (Zach is abused by his father and thrown out onto the street for being gay). I feel as though the author tried to add too much to this novella, which ruined what could have been a heartwarming read.
Everyone is kind, Ben and Zach form a bond, even one of the children shares their computer games, but sadly, the story fell a little flat for me. The Christmas setting isn't a big part of the plot and I didn't feel Christmassy while reading it, which, to be honest, is what I'm looking for when reading a Christmas romance. There was little or no romance between Zach and Ben, and the sex scenes came in a rush later in the novel, which did absolutely nothing for me - I'm guessing this is because I couldn't connect to the characters.
I think the structure was this novella's downfall. Rather than focusing on the Christmas in the present, the story jumps a few months into the future halfway through, then a year, then another year, giving us short glimpses into what Zach and Ben are doing and how Zach's coping post his abuse etc, so we end with the story two years or so from where we first started. This may have worked for a full length novel, but for a novella of only 168 pages it didn't. If the story remained in the present and then had an epilogue at the end it would have worked much better.
As this is a festive romance, I did have to put my cynical hat aside and just let the story take me on its journey - would people really take home a complete stranger and let them into their lives, leaving them alone in their house etc? It's a nice thought, but I'm not sure if it's real life. Although Ben's kind act is kind of wonderful, and should have tugged at my heartstrings, it sadly didn’t.
The Christmas Throwaway was ok but not great. It certainly didn't fill me with Christmassy warmth and I couldn't really connect with the characters. Sadly this one fell flat for me and I probably wouldn't recommend it....more
I had high hopes for Let it Snow. It sounded so good. Unfortunately, it was all a bit meh. I haven't had much luck with m/m christmas themed romancesI had high hopes for Let it Snow. It sounded so good. Unfortunately, it was all a bit meh. I haven't had much luck with m/m christmas themed romances this year. This is my third, and none of them have hit above the three star mark.
Let it Snow isn't particularly Christmassy, snowy yes, but festive, not so much. Which is a shame as that's what I want and expect from a Christmas romance, and especially from a series called Minnesota Christmas.
Hairdresser, Frankie is heading back to the city after visiting his parents but gets stuck in a snow storm. After swerving to miss hitting a moose, Frankie ends up in the ditch and has to walk to the next available house. Luckily the door is unlocked and so he heads inside and falls asleep on the sofa. He's woken by three guys who are also gay. Luckily they are understanding and let him stay.
Marcus is trying to get over his ex, Steve, who cheated on him and so is avoiding relationships altogether. But when he sees Frankie, he's reminded of Steve; they are the same height, same build, same mannerisms, so Marcus isn't too happy about having Frankie stay. However, he's a nice guy so won't kick him out while a snow storm is raging.
Over the next few days, the guys talk, drink, and play board games, while riding out the storm. In this time, Marcus and Frankie begin a sexual relationship, knowing that it's short term as once the storm is over, Frankie will be heading back to the city.
I liked Marcus a lot. I understood his concerns about getting involved with Frankie, but I didn't understand what he saw in Frankie when he finally gave in to his feelings. I can deal with Frankie being slightly camp and feminine, but he is really wimpy and wishy-washy - he irritated me no end. Marcus is big and manly and Frankie is concerned that he's too swishy, as he calls it, for Marcus. He's insecure, whiny and too needy for my liking.
There was also a lot of negativity about being gay. I realise that there's a lot of homophobia, but talking about it over and over in a story gets tiresome. Airing a character's concerns regarding this gives depth and I appreciate that, but to go on about it eventually makes the character seem weak, and therefore diminishes what is a very serious issue. There is a scene where Frankie suddenly realises he's stronger than he thought, but it was unrealistic. I couldn't believe that one incident would change his personality so definitely.
The boys do get their happy ending, but I didn't really care that much. I loved Marcus but I just couldn't connect with Frankie.
Let it Snow isn't particularly bad, but it isn't great either. It sits in the middle, where I neither like or dislike it - hence the rating. Maybe you will like it better. ...more
I really tried with this one. The writing is ok, the characters are ok, and I think I could possibly have finished it if it wasn't*No rating as DNF*
I really tried with this one. The writing is ok, the characters are ok, and I think I could possibly have finished it if it wasn't just so very dull. Hardly any zombies or action and the sex scenes were devoid of any sexiness. ...more
In this case, the cover is better than the actual book. The writing is a little off, far too many repetitions to be acceptable, especially with "JacobIn this case, the cover is better than the actual book. The writing is a little off, far too many repetitions to be acceptable, especially with "Jacob Lee" - dialogue a little cheesy too. Not much happens other than it's Donathan's birthday and Jacob Lee wants to get a tattoo to please him. Will admit I skimmed a few pages just to get to the end a bit faster. This one just wasn't for me....more
The premise for Waiting for Ty is an intriguing one. Two guys, who have become the best of friends after meeting four year’s previously, are sexuallyThe premise for Waiting for Ty is an intriguing one. Two guys, who have become the best of friends after meeting four year’s previously, are sexually attracted to each other without the other knowing.
Reporter, Tyler Coil, is travelling to see his sexy best friend, Landon Burke, staying at his place while he works on a story. He’s nervous as hell because he doesn’t want his feelings to betray him. He's always felt a strong connection with Landon but has never acted on it for fear of the consequences.
Ty and Landon greet each other as always, but after a quick hello, a couple of beers, a slice of pizza and half a football game, they are ripping each other’s clothes off. It’s difficult to really become connected with the romance as it moves along quite quickly. The fact that neither Ty nor Landon have been with a guy before is lost in the lust of their first time together. It was all a little rushed for my liking.
King can certainly write hot sex scenes though, these two guys were hot for each other and it showed; the pages sizzled. But as they hadn’t been with another guy before, a little more hesitation and anxiety about what they were about to do would have given authenticity to the story. Instead they seemed to be totally at ease with it, as out came the lube and off they went!
With just a few extra pages their first night together could have been much more realistic and meaningful, and I would have been able to immerse myself completely. As it was I found the quickness of them getting in bed together a little jarring and it took away from the impact of the situation for both guys, because, for them, this was no one-night stand.
Ty and Landon spend the entire weekend together until Ty decides that what they are doing isn’t a good idea. He cares for Landon but he can’t ever see himself telling his God-loving family that he is in a relationship with a man, they would disown him, and he worries about what his work colleagues will think of him. So Ty makes the decision to walk away, neither knowing if they will be able to even continue their friendship.
Of course things don't run smoothly from here on out, and both Ty and Landon go through quite a few ups and downs, with their family and with each other, but I won't give away too much. Let's just say, overall I did enjoy this story, despite my misgivings. Verdict
It is a shame Waiting for Ty is such a short read as it had potential to be very good. Unfortunately because of its length much of the substance needed was missing. However, Waiting for Ty is a fun m/m romance. I would still recommend if you're looking for a quick, sexy read. Though this is the second book in the Lovers and Friends series, it contains a completely different set of people and so can be read as a stand-alone.
Ash Winters is a literary writer who has succumbed to the dark side and written genre crime fiction. He has bipolar disorder and also suffers from depression and anxiety, preferring to stay in the four walls of his home (aka prison) than face the world. Going to the supermarket to buy groceries can send him over the edge of an overwhelming, all encompassing anxiety attack.
But one night, while at a friend’s stag-do which he couldn’t get out of, everything changes. He meets Darian Taylor, a stereotypical Essex boy, complete with fake tan, fake jewellery, and artificially white teeth. With the club's glaring lights, the thump of the music, and oppressive heat, compound his feelings of utter worthlessness. All Ash wants is nothing more than a one-night stand to help him forget his miserable life.
Glitterland is written from the view point of Ash, and so we get to hear his inner most thoughts, feel his anguish about his condition, allowing us to understand why he is the way he is. I think one of the most difficult things to write about is mental illness, but Hall does it with absolute expertise. Although most of the book is about Ash and his mental illness, it never moves into too dark a territory and yet still portrays the absolute despair that this illness can cause.
What prevents this book from sinking too deep into Ash's despair comes from the wonderful, Darian Taylor. He is probably one of the most funny and endearing characters I've ever read. Although this is written in the third person, we only get the perspective of Ash, I really wish I could hear Darian's thoughts too, but alas, we only get to see him through Ash's eyes and through their dialogue together. I desperately wanted to hear Darian's thoughts so I could really understand what he was thinking and feeling regarding Ash.
Some of the most perfect lines came from Darian. At first, Ash sees Darian as vulgar, fake and way too glittery. But then something happens.
Suddenly he looked up at me and grinned. An absurd, wide, endless grin filled with artificially white teeth. And I forgot how to breathe. I expected him to go back to dancing but instead he climbed onto one of the floor speakers beneath my balcony, pulling himself almost up to my eye level, like the world's most ill-suited Romeo in pursuit of the world's least convincing Juliet.
"I gotta say, babes," he said in a nasal Essex whine, "you're giving me sutcha bedroom look."
Now if you don't come from Essex, you may not get the accent, because you really need to hear it inside your head for it to be funny when it's meant to be funny. I hope that I'm wrong, and anyone, no matter where they live, understand him, as he is just hilarious. I was giggling so much throughout this book as well as my heart breaking just that little bit for Ash and how he feels he has to live his life because of his illness.
After their first sexual encounter, Ash leaves in the early hours without saying goodbye, thinking that was the last he would see of his "glittering pirate" but he was wrong. While at a signing event for his new book, Darian comes in and gives him what for, in only the Essex way.
Another copy of my book appeared in front of me, dogeared and well-read, which pleased me, just a little. I'd always found something slightly eerie about untouched books. Glass coffins, with the words sleeping inside.
"Who should I make it out to?" I asked, not quite managing to look up.
"Oh, I dunno," said a far too familiar voice, "'ow about maybe 'To the geeza what I slept wif and then done a runner on in the middle of the night, making 'im feel like a right slapper'?"
There are a few secondary characters, a couple of Ash's friends, Naill, Max and and Chloe a friend of Darian's as well as the mention of his and Nan, Dot. Although these weren't in any detail they still felt really well rounded characters. Verdict
Simply put, I loved Glitterland and I can't wait to find out what Hall has in store for us in the future.
Rating: 5 Stars
Morose from failing to get out of his friend Max’s stag do, all Ash Winters wants is a casual hook-up – anything to feel free from his depression for just a moment. His life has been reduced to a solitary existence and venturing outside his apartment causes him extreme anxiety. Dragged to a Gay Bar for Max's last single night, he spots Essex boy Darian for the first time. Ash is appalled at his attraction to the fake tanned, tasteless ‘Glitter Pirate’. Nevertheless, letting Darian take him home feels like a good solution to the growing horror he feels at being in public.
After sneaking out the next morning, Ash never expects to see his one-night-stand again, let alone at the signing of his new book. Darian shows up with a bone to pick - no pun intended - and lets Ash know just how 'aht of order' his disappearing act was. One well-deserved telling off later, Ash can’t deny that Darian is beautiful, vibrant and makes him feel – though what exactly he feels he isn’t sure. Thus a fledgling relationship is born.
I loved this book. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to after reading the blurb – but after a few chapters I was hooked. The blurb really doesn't do it justice. I finished the entire thing in one night, and it wasn’t exactly a quick read either. The relationship between the two is the kind we all hope for – Darian swoops in unexpectedly to save the brooding Ash. Usually I feel pretty cynical about a protagonist that needs someone else to save them, but it's only further testament to Hall’s talent that instead of bothering me, this story just gave me butterflies – exactly what I want in a book. Instead of attempting to 'fix' Ash, Darian is supportive and gives him a reason to want to better himself.
The way Hall writes Darian’s accent was jarring and un-appealing, though intentionally so. Don’t let it put you off; it only serves to better mark the differences between the two men. The prolixity and grimness of Ash’s inner turmoil and Darian’s lively banter make for a stark contrast; though as the book progresses Darian’s influence is obvious. He makes Ash a better, more hopeful person.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say – I wasn’t left wanting for much here. I could’ve done with more of some of the supporting characters, but lack of them didn’t detract from the story. Chloe and Amy - Darian and Ash's friends, are both interesting enough characters to have their own stories. As I was reading Chloe's few brief scenes, I was thinking of Amy from The Only Way is Essex. Not that I watch that show - ahem.
I loved this book, and would definitely recommend it. Despite the heavy issue of mental illness throughout, it was a feel good story. I actually ended up re-reading the ending a couple of times, it was just so great.
Rating: 5 Stars
Glitterland by Alexis Hall Contemporary M/M Romance Riptide Publishing (26 Aug 2013) Ebook: 214 pages
Blacque/Bleu is a pretty good erotic m/m paranormal romance. I liked the author’s writing style although there wasn’t as much depth to the overall stoBlacque/Bleu is a pretty good erotic m/m paranormal romance. I liked the author’s writing style although there wasn’t as much depth to the overall story as I would have liked. The book definitely focuses much more on the sex than the plot, but it was a fun read. The characters are very likeable, and the sex scenes were quite well done and sexy.
Blacque is a werewolf mechanic and Bleu, who works in the shop next door, is a vampire and restorer. They have admired each other from afar but have never done anything about it, basically because it’s not the ‘done thing’ between weres and vamps. But one night, when they bump into each other in bar, things get hot and heavy between them and they go home together and have mind blowing sex.
For all Blacque’s tough, tattooed and muscular exterior, he’s pretty naive in this area, having never been with a guy, and has never admitted to himself or others that he’s gay. But a night with Bleu shows him once and for all who and what he is. It was really nice to get this point of view of such a naive werewolf. The contradiction of how he looks compared to who he actually is made the story a lot more interesting to me.
Bleu on the other hand has always been in touch with that side of his nature, and had no trouble with showing Blacque how good it could be. Although Bleu had always been attracted to Blacque, his real motive to be with him was so he could feed, if sex was part of the deal then that was just a bonus. Bleu was dying, and if he didn’t feed soon, he would die a true death. I could understand Bleu needing blood to live, but I didn’t like that this was the way their relationship started. It was an interesting way to get the boys together, as without it I don’t think they would have, especially as they hadn’t said much to each other beyond hi and goodbye.
Things changed a lot when an order comes from Blacqeu’s Alpha, and father, to find a mate and make baby weres to help the line of werewolves. Blacque’s knows his time with Bleu is limited as his pack would not tolerate a gay werewolf. So he decides to have one amazing weekend with Bleu and then they should part ways. Bleu reluctantly agrees. What they didn’t count on was falling hard and fast for each other, which of course causes all sorts of problems, but also helps Blacque become more confident and take control of his own life and destiny.
I loved watching Blacque grow. If I had to choose then he was my favourite of the two. I liked how he interacted with his sister and Pack, and when trouble came knocking in the form of Bleu’s insane ex and maker, and a certain kidnapping, he was there, without any hesitation, showing his true nature,
Blacque/Bleu is a good m/m erotic paranormal romance, with a fun story and likeable characters. There was a little too much emphasis on the sex and not enough on depth of plot, even though it was an interesting one, but it was an enjoyable read overall. I will definitely read more from this author and plan to read the second book in the Acarda series, Silver/Steel....more