Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Christmas Wish, Single Dad, Friends to Lovers
3.5 out of 5 stars
2 out of 3 flames ~~~~~
This is the love story of a single gay father of a ten-year-old girl and his straight male neighbor from across the hall, who has become his best friend. Gavin and Curtis. Together with Gavin's daughter Bianca they make a cute little family... except that Gavin and Curtis are not a couple... since Curtis isn't gay... or is he? Well, Bianca is sure they would make a great couple and Gavin does have a huge crush on Curtis and Curtis himself…, he starts to have some doubts about his heterosexual feelings too, especially when he's being forced to think about his feelings for Gavin by Bianca's little plan to find her father a boyfriend for Christmas.
Told in a light and simple style a fairytale of a story, with a decent dose of happy Christmas sentiment, unfolds itself. With the help of a few short flashbacks we learn about how Gavin and Curtis met and became friends, about their former relationships and about how Gavin ended up with a daughter. Pretty soon we also learn about Curtis' doubts about his feelings for Gavin, which seem to become more urgent as the story progresses.
Two popular themes are combined in this couple's love story: the friends become lovers & the gay for you theme. The first is one of my favorites most of the time, because I like that there's already a solid base for love, namely friendship, as opposed to insta-love type of feelings. The second theme, GFY, usually requires more convincing to make it believable for me. And although it's done pretty well here with showing us the inner monologue Curtis was having, taking the time to let him come to some realizations about himself and his love life and more precisely about his deeper feelings for Gavin, it still went a bit too swiftly for my taste. Usually this kind of struggle needs more conflict and tension to get me on board with a satisfying HEA. It's not that I thought it was completely unbelievable, but it just felt a bit too easy.
Something else I'm not sure I was completely satisfied with was the whole idea of Bianca's plan. It felt all a bit forced and over-plotted perhaps, and it made Bianca a bit one-dimensional: not a 'real kid' but more a 'plot device'. I didn't like the one-track-mind way she acted very much. However, her plan definitely suited the whole feeling and nature of the story, of Christmas magic. Altogether, this is an entertaining and enjoyable read with quite some humorous moments that are bound to make you smile. It's exactly the right dose of light, happy and Christmassy feel that I can't help gobbling up this time of year. ~ (less)
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Holiday, Christmas, Accident, Amnesia, Friends to Lovers, Com...moreOriginally posted at Rarely Dusty Books
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Holiday, Christmas, Accident, Amnesia, Friends to Lovers, Coming Out
4 out of 5 stars
1 out of 3 flames ~~~~~
Adam wakes up in a hospital after being hit by a truck and he has no memory of his life before the accident. At his bedside sits a young man, Joe, who takes care of him in such a loving way that he mistakes him for his boyfriend. However, Joe tells him they are just best friends and that in fact Adam is straight. Adam can't remember anything but his heart tells him this can't be right.
The premise intrigued me and made me decide to pick up this Christmas themed story, even though I've never read anything by this author before. The amnesia and Christmas theme were enough to draw me in. And I'm glad for that decision, because this was a delightful little story about friends becoming lovers that had me engrossed from beginning to end (which was only for a short period, unfortunately, because this is not much more than a short novella).
Joe and Adam are very adorable together and the way they deal with their confusing situation is touching. Their mutual attraction fills the air with anticipation while Adam tries to wrap his head around why their BFF situation doesn't add up to his feelings for Joe. However, the plot focuses more on the emotional aspects - all written from Adam's POV - than on the erotic developments between the two men. There's some sweet touching and hot kissing but that's about as heated as it gets between them, due to Adam's physical injuries and Joe’s family. This perfectly fits the story though.
I enjoyed Inseparable very much because it is well written, has wonderful characters and an entertaining plot with an interesting twist on the friends-to-lovers theme. I'd totally recommend this cute story if you’re in the mood for a feel good (Christmas) read. ~(less)
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, GFY, Coming Out of the Closet, Cheating, Angst, College, Room...moreOriginally posted at Rarely Dusty Books
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, GFY, Coming Out of the Closet, Cheating, Angst, College, Roommates
4.25 out of 5 stars
2.5 out of 3 flames ~~~~~
This is one of the most intense coming out stories I've read in a while. The Gay For You theme is executed in a fabulous but heart-wrenching way. Told from the first person POV of college boy Adam, who is taking us for an emotional roller coaster ride that is his tale of falling in love with straight roommate Jesse. And what an unforgettable ride it was!
Adam's object of obsession is not only straight but engaged to be married as well. And let me warn you: Jesse is incredibly hardheaded and persistent to marry the girl back home (Anna aka Chirpy) for a long time into the story. In fact, he even sticks to this idea while he is starting to have mind numbing sex with Adam. So, he is a cheater with a capital C. That's part of what makes this story so intense, and if you can't handle that I advise you to stay away from this book. However, you'll be missing out on an incredible and fabulous love story with a HEA so realistic and heartfelt that I felt it in my little toe.
The GFY theme is one of my favorite themes when handled delicately, which is definitely the case here. With little steps at the time Adam and Jesse explore each other and Jesse’s curiosity of everything that is gay. The realization that he might be bisexual, or even gay, comes slowly but gradually and even started before he and Adam got physical. It's the coming to terms with that realization that takes him a lot more time. Jesse is a hero to love and to hate, and in my opinion the author managed to balance these contradicting feelings he evokes in me very well. His hurtful or stupid actions are not extenuated but shown as they are which makes you want to hit him hard, while in other moments we witness his excruciating inner turmoil which makes your heart go out to him too. Jesse is definitely a multi-layered character with actions that come across as painfully realistic.
Adam's character is at least as three-dimensional as Jesse's. Adam surely evolves throughout the story from an obsessed, love-sick puppy who is satisfied with each little bit of attention from Jesse he can get to a more mature, however equally faithful and devoted, man who stands up for himself and refuses to let Jesse use and hurt him again. Another character that stayed far from being a cardboard figure was Adam's friend Eric. He takes care of Adam when he falls apart and is a great friend. He shows Adam a different side of himself than his outgoing gayer-than-gay persona he presents the outside world. I'm curious to learn more about this flamboyant side-character in the second book of this series (titled Absolutely Eric).
I think it's safe to say that A Life Without You is a character driven story. There's not much of a plot outside college life and exams, apart from a few twists and turns, like the girlfriend coming to visit Jesse, which mainly function as a catalyst for the next step in Adam and Jesse's relationship. I love character driven stories, especially when there's a good dose of angst involved and I can truly feel an emotional connection with one or both MCs. And that certainly is the case with this novel. Add to that the lifelike backdrop of college life with classes, studying for exams and parties; the presence of a small group of colorful gay friends who can become the potential main character in one of the next installments of the Boston Boys series; and the author's skillful pen that has the ability to keep your eyes glued to the pages, willing to skip some sleep in order to finish her book. And you have me content and satisfied like a purring cat in front of a fireplace continuously crawled behind her ears for hours in a row. Oh, and did I mention the scorching hot sex scenes? How could I almost forget about that? It's not for lack of steam, because these two college boys definitely have electrifying hot chemistry. And not only that, the sex scenes also mark each new step on their emotional path of building a relationship on top of them being hot. It's not only sex for the sake of sex, so these scenes never get boring. I found them very well written and highly arousing.
So, although this might not be an easy read for everyone, I can certainly recommend it if you don't have issues with stories about cheaters and don't mind reading with a couple of tissues at hand. For me this was an incredible and delightful read which showed me a few corners of the emotional spectrum and which kept me up all night until I finished it.
4.5 stars I enjoyed this very much! I picked it up because the premise intrigued me and didn’t sound as something I’ve read other variations of already...more4.5 stars I enjoyed this very much! I picked it up because the premise intrigued me and didn’t sound as something I’ve read other variations of already. It’s about Riley who met his two best friends, Jason and Eric, six years ago and soon thereafter his friendship with Eric turned into something much more. That relationship ended almost as soon as it began, and Riley hasn’t let anyone near his heart since. Jason however helped pick up the pieces. Six years later they ran into each other again and he’s once again part of Riley’s life. Riley is slowly letting Jason past his defenses and is starting to see how good they are together. Then, out of the blue, Eric calls, claiming he wants Riley back. What follows is very emotional and heartbreaking. This book also was frustrating as hell sometimes, but let’s say in a good way. Not unimportant either, it has some of the hottest scenes I’ve read in a while!(less)
A feel good, angst free GFY romance written from a first person POV that was long winded at times but also had its funny moments. The sex scenes were...moreA feel good, angst free GFY romance written from a first person POV that was long winded at times but also had its funny moments. The sex scenes were a bit grotesque and had a porno-ish feel to them. The main characters were kinda adorable together which made this an enjoyable read in the end. (less)
4.75 out of 5 stars
2.5 out of 3 ~~~~~
Writing a review about a book that you absolutely loved and read in almost one sitting is never easy. Doing so, when it concerns a book from an author whose other work you also couldn’t put down and totally adored, is even more difficult. What makes it hard is to find the right (and new) words to express how enjoyable and emotionally satisfying the book was. Sloan Parker is becoming one of those authors who I doubt can ever disappoint me with her writing. I love her voice, her plots, her flawed, three-dimensional heroes and their chemistry, the emotional impact her books have on me, and the intensely gratifying sexual tension and hot love scenes her stories have no lack of.
I was thinking that maybe her third novel, Take Me Home, wouldn’t be able to live up to the high expectations I had after loving her first two novels, More and Breathe, so much. I even postponed reading it for a bit, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. However, I should’ve known that she would deliver again, even while I had my extra critical glasses on. Looking through those glasses I only noticed a little bit of too much perfection – if that is even possible – regarding the pace of the mystery plot in this book. So, if I had to mention one niggle it would’ve been that it felt sort of over-plotted when it comes to the mystery. Parker is using the old trick of the mystery genre of handing out bits and pieces of information at well-planned moments, and especially the holding back that goes along with that trick becomes a bit frustrating at some points. However, this paradoxically enhanced the reading enjoyment this book offered for me too.
Let’s talk about the heroes of Take Me Home. Evan and Kyle are old friends that once shared a hot kiss about ten years ago. Since then, Evan has been in a relationship that ended 6 months ago, while Kyle never had a serious relationship during those ten years. They seem to want opposite things when it comes to commitment and that’s what kept them apart all those years. Now, however, Evan stays in Kyle’s guest room after the breakup and the sexual tension between them is building steadily. When they make plans to travel home for the holidays together by train, which means sharing a small sleeper car for days, there’s bound to happen something between them. Problem is, Evan thinks Kyle isn’t interested in a long term relationship, while Evan isn’t looking for a temporary hot fling, especially not with his best friend Kyle, whose friendship he could lose over it. Fortunately, we know from an early stage in the story, that Kyle’s one-night-stand behavior is rooted in his love for Evan. It just took him years to admit those feelings to himself. And now he only has to share them with Evan, were it not that whenever they are alone ‘the talk’ that would clear up all the misunderstandings, gets delayed by one reason or another.
A great deal of the suspense in this story is caused by that postponed ‘moment of truth’ between the two lovers. Thankfully, they don’t hold back on the hot sex on their way there! Another part of the suspense stems from the fragmentized delivery of the journal entries from Kyle’s grandfather. There’s a secret to be revealed in the journal, we know that much because a TV show is after the journal and wants it bad, while at the same time mysterious things happen on the train ride. So, external factors keep derailing Evan and Kyle from their big moment of revelations regarding their feelings. At the same time their intimate scenes keep us readers on the edge of our seats every time they interrupt the mystery plot. It’s a fine balance Parker is trying to hold, and as I said before, it gets quite frustrating at times because she forces her readers to be patient on both levels. The snow storm only adds to that suspense arc. The ‘break’ during that storm that led them to the cabin where they stayed one night, started out rather nerve-racking. I admit, I loved that Parker is so incredibly in control of the pacing, to the point of frustration.
Another well directed aspect of this story is the richness of the secondary cast. There are just enough characters to keep it accessible and at the same time interesting enough regarding the riddle who the ‘bad guy’ is. Also, Evan’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t just a figure in the background, but came out to play a small role and functions as a catalyst as well. I liked that. As much as I liked the glimpses we got from Kyle’s grandfather’s life through his journal entries. Additionally, the scenery of the train ride, the landscape and the frightening snow storm were all described in a colorful and expressive way. For me they added to the enjoyable reading experience that this book provided as well.
In the end the heroes arrive at their parents’ houses right in time for the holiday celebrations. There all the plot threads come together in a very satisfying solution. The wrap up is perfectly done, no open ends are left, and Kyle and Evan finally get their hard-worked for HEA! It took them a while to get there, but in the meantime we got treated to buckets full of sexual tension, delicious anticipation, suspense, wonderful emotional build-up, hot smexing and finally ultimate satisfaction. This couple and their adventures still cross my mind every now and then, months after I read the book. It’s their chemistry as much as the feelings they put me through that makes them unforgettable.
This was a hot read, but in general I just like to see more of the emotional connection from both MC's perspectives. Still, I couldn't put the book do...moreThis was a hot read, but in general I just like to see more of the emotional connection from both MC's perspectives. Still, I couldn't put the book down after a certain point in the plot, so Hot Head turned out to be an enjoyable, engaging read for me. 3.5 stars.(less)
Packs a lot of hot bondage scenes in a few pages, but lacks a romantic, emotional connection. Some parts are a bit dialogue heavy and the writing suff...morePacks a lot of hot bondage scenes in a few pages, but lacks a romantic, emotional connection. Some parts are a bit dialogue heavy and the writing suffers from quite some editorial mistakes. 2.5 stars(less)