It's pretty easy for these romances with kids in them to become too kid and family focused so I was impressed this one managed to avoid that problem....moreIt's pretty easy for these romances with kids in them to become too kid and family focused so I was impressed this one managed to avoid that problem. Cary has a very cute child named Gus but he was in it for just enough time that I still found him endearing by the end. I also really liked the romance between Cary and Heath and the way they worked things out between them. I'm looking forward to the sequel as well. Good Read!(less)
Finally read this. It's basically a story of two guys having a friendship and then the story suddenly turning into a gay romance without any explanati...moreFinally read this. It's basically a story of two guys having a friendship and then the story suddenly turning into a gay romance without any explanation or transition whatsoever. (less)
This is a nice mystery with good pacing even if I felt the author was trying too hard at times and the private detective Jack Darvelle may have had on...moreThis is a nice mystery with good pacing even if I felt the author was trying too hard at times and the private detective Jack Darvelle may have had one too many quirks. He's a smart detective that has loads of connections and we spend a lot of time with Darville going off track to let us know the reason for the connections.
I'm assuming this will probably lead to other stories featuring Darvelle and I don't see that technique holding up through several books. There's only so many new people that'll need that kind of introduction before it becomes tiresome.
But back to this particular book in which you just need to know this is a pretty straight forward mystery with a slight twist at the end that you'll probably see coming before it gets there. Darvelle tends to go off on tangents which might irritate some people. Other than that, he wears well and is enough of a good guy to root for. The book had a natural end but then decided to tack on an extra chapter that felt totally unnecessary. Up to that point though, it all holds together well.
This one is a nice but not all that compelling story that seemed to have some trouble finding the balance between a contemp...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
This one is a nice but not all that compelling story that seemed to have some trouble finding the balance between a contemporary story of family estrangement and the paranormal love story it was trying to tell.
Paul is completely estranged from his family . At the beginning his father has just died but Paul is not going anywhere near the funeral. His brother though, unexpectedly reaches out to him and hands him an envelope that his dad has been keeping from Paul for two years. In it contains the news that Paul’s uncle, the only family member who ever accepted him and who practically raised him, had died two years ago.
There’s a lot of disconnect with this because we’re told that Paul was extremely close with this uncle, yet he hadn’t spoken to him in over two years so was completely unaware he had died. We get a flimsy explanation for this but Paul is portrayed as devastated by this news.
Paul flies out to Malta to deal with the will left by his uncle. He’s left his uncle’s property which includes several paintings. He discovers amongst his uncle’s paintings a painting that seems to be in the style of the Italian artist Caravaggio. But Paul becomes more obsessed with the subject of the painting, a very handsome young man, than with whether this is an old masterpiece. When he runs into a man who looks identical to the pictures, he’s immediately sidetracked by his attraction to him. .
I think the story stumbles along in the beginning and picked up a bit of steam when we meet Angelo. The romance comes to the forefront and the story takes a paranormal turn as we eventually get an explanation about Angelo and his resemblance to the painting. Other than that, there’s not much going on as Paul quits his job and he’s not speaking to his relatives.
I found the mystery a bit thin here and I don’t think any of the characters ever really rose above cardboard cutouts for me. All of Paul’s family just seemed to blindly hate him just for being gay with no nuance whatsoever. We hear that father was the real villain in this but since he’s dead at the start of the story there’s nothing to go on there.
Then later in the story Paul’s brother returns and does some real evil that everyone seems to brush off instead of having him carted off to a jail cell. There’s another villain Nico but I found the explanation for why he was pursuing trouble with Angelo and Paul seriously lacking.
The other character that was too cardboard for me unfortunately, was the main love interest, Angelo. Angelo was just too perfect and even with the reason given for it, to me it just made the character and the story a bit boring. I’m not all that enamored with bad boys but I think I’d prefer reading about that than about falling in love with a perfect angel. I think though, if you like these sweet kinds of characters you could find something to enjoy here.(less)
Surprisingly, a story about a middle aged man dealing with cancer isn't all that hilarious. Crazy right. But the description in the blurb does call th...moreSurprisingly, a story about a middle aged man dealing with cancer isn't all that hilarious. Crazy right. But the description in the blurb does call this a warm, funny novel. I think a lot of the humor must have been lost in translations somewhere as this is a very Irish novel and I don't think I got whatever jokes were there. By the way this is a lot of dialog writing and the main character says grand a whole lot. I think more narrative and reducing the dialog would have probably helped this story as a lot of times someone's conversations aren't all that interesting, especially when it's constantly peppered with filler words (like grand).
Nevertheless, this had a nice, gentle and drowsy quality that made it ideal for late night just about to go to bed reading. In the middle though, Jimmy our main character inexplicably starts an affair despite having a most loving, understanding supporting wife. Jimmy never feels any guilt over this and it never becomes an issue as he never reveals it to his wife so it served very little purpose to the story except to reduce what little charm it had. I get really bored with men doing the expected when going through their midlife crisis. Ho Hum.
But I got this book because of its music storyline with Jimmy being some kind of music promoter (of old acts) and when that was center stage, especially at the end when Jimmy and his buddies and his reunited brother become the old men at a rock music festival, the book was at its best. The problem is we had to slog through a whole lot of stuff to get to that point and there wasn't enough of it. It's all a bit meh and I'm kind of amazed I read the entire thing. (less)
Wade Boehme is back in familiar territory here as he revisits the theme of an older formerly married man falling fo...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
Wade Boehme is back in familiar territory here as he revisits the theme of an older formerly married man falling for his son’s best friend that he first explored in “Wide Awake.” This one has the addition of co author Piper Vaugn helping to smooth out the rough edges. For the most part it works here. The two authors blend well, so much so that I couldn’t really tell where one began and the other ended..
The story itself was a nice diversion. Aaron is a hunky contractor whose plans for the summer to remodel his parent’s lake house runs into a snag when his helper injures himself. As an alternative, Aaron asks his son Julian to work for him over the summer as a way to reconnect. Their relationship had been strained ever since Aaron divorced Julian’s mom. Aaron is secretly pleased when Julian asks to also bring along his roommate Malachi as Aaron has had a crush on him from when they first met.
Things really click for Aaron & Malachi. Aaron is impressed by Malachi’s carpentry skills and his maturity and Malachi finds himself very attracted to the older man. However, the summer also brings strain as Aaron starts having a difficult time juggling the secrets he’s keeping from Julian, namely the fact that he’s gay and dating his best friend.
But the closer Aaron & Malachi become the more bratty and annoying Julian behaves. He starts to neglect his job and disappear for long periods of time. Aaron is way too soft with Julian and pretty much lets him get away with all kinds of things for most of the story.
I never did quite get Julian’s issues. It’s obvious he’s jealous of Malachi but there’s other things going on as well as there’s some mention of a problem with a girl though the issue is never really explored. Aaron’s inability to confront Julian and also to come clean about his sexuality was also a bit annoying as he’s supposed to be the adult in this story.
He has a great relationship with his ex wife and no one anywhere seems to have a problem with his sexuality. I had to assume it all boiled down to fear of the unknown and not wanting to do anything to mess up his relationship with Julian which means he gave in to him at every turn.
Instead of seeing a reconciliation between father and son, what we end up with most of the time is Julian somewhat one dimensionally playing the dark cloud hanging over Aaron and Malachi’s romance. Julian’s running and frequent absences does allow Aaron and Malachi to find the time to become closer, especially sexually. While those scenes start off hot, it sometimes felt too long and detailed instead of focused on the raw emotions. There was good humor and chemistry between the two that helped to offset that.
The 16 year age difference between the two men while large, never felt excessive. That’s probably because a lot of times Malachi acted older and Aaron younger than his age. The two get together fairly quickly but we do have a lot of ‘we shouldn’t have’ guilt accompanying it. I liked that we got dualing points of views which is terrific for romance stories. There’s one wrinkle, (Julian) that temporarily tears them apart but it gets resolved nicely.
Julian was a problematic element especially as he does a totally unexplained attitude turnaround at the end. Despite that, while I wasn’t blown away, I did end up liking most of the story and would recommend it, especially for lovers of May/December romances.(less)
4.5 Stars In this delightful mystery the suspense is all tied to our main character who’s an agoraphobic apartment dweller...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
4.5 Stars In this delightful mystery the suspense is all tied to our main character who’s an agoraphobic apartment dweller who spends his time spying on his neighbors and ends up witnessing something that he wasn’t supposed to see. Think Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window with some modern twists. While our hero is not physically handicapped, he’s incapacitated nonetheless from fear as he finds himself petrified to leave his living quarters. The other twist is that though the story starts off with a break up with a woman, the person who ignites a spark in him is the male police officer who knocks on his door as he’s investigating a case of a missing neighbor in the apartment building.
Our nameless narrator finds himself slowly being seduced by the mystery and by the charming Sergeant Marzoli, all while trying to fight off his demons which start to have a life of their own after he receives some bad news from his past. The book becomes an engrossing read as we hang on to learn the mysteries of the past and the more prominent current one.
Initially, the main character is a little off putting and the writing not always accessible. It’s a first person narrative that can feel a little claustrophobic as we only get the point of view of the unnamed voyeur in the story. There’s also a continuous switch from present to past that takes some getting used to. But after a while I found the rhythm of the story and really started enjoying the journey.
I liked the narrator’s often biting and politically incorrect humor, especially in connection with the ridiculous nicknames he assigns each apartment dweller & how he deals with his new and surprising attraction to the very male detective who’s dropped into his life. He & Marzoli have a nice chemistry that builds as the story goes along. He also finds himself slowly letting go of the paralysis that had taken over his life.
Attempting to solve the mystery brings he & Marzoli more & more together. The fact that the two of them spark against each other is an added bonus. .
The main protagonist hides behind a lot of defenses and is more cynical than nice most of the time. He watches his neighbors with a mixture of disdain, and pity at first although his thinking about them evolves as the story progresses. While his issues become obvious fairly quickly, we also eventually learn that Marzoli is not all what he seems as well.
This is the kind of story that holds your interest and leaves you wanting more. There’s an erotically charged noir like quality to the story that I don’t often find in most M/M novels. I like that it’s a little different while still staying true to the romance. I’m partial to mysteries and particularly enjoyed the little psychological drama that played out in this one. This is one suspenseful read that I’m happy to recommend(less)
A lot of this at first was just so joyless and grim that I had a hard time plowing through after the 25 % mark. Jack Carber is a con man who ends up i...moreA lot of this at first was just so joyless and grim that I had a hard time plowing through after the 25 % mark. Jack Carber is a con man who ends up in prison after being betrayed by his lover. I had some hopes early on that maybe we wouldn't be subjected to the normal evils of prison life but nope, it's just what you've been led to believe, lots of rape and violence. There's no relief in sight for Jack, not only from inmates who seem to have it in for him & a closeted priest who expects Jack to fulfill his fantasy, but especially from his mute, violent natured roommate Adder.
The book is about Jack finding a way to navigate his way through his prison sentence and to find a way to get Adder to see him as a human being. Jack finds himself succeeding only too well as he starts developing feelings for him. I had a hard time seeing that as anything other than Stockholm syndrome. Still the eventual change in the relationship does serve to lighten up the story so I ended up being grateful it was there.
Books about falling for your rapist/tormenter especially when they're written in realistic, contemporary settings and aren't fantasy stories, aren't usually on the top of my must read booklist. What helps here is the writer doesn't overplay the scenes and keeps things almost matter of fact as Jack's just a very practical person. I did end up rooting for the happy ending for this ridiculous relationship even though I felt I was little bit conned into it.
There's something awkward about this story from its narration to its very charming protagonist, Liam Davis like it's written by someone where English...moreThere's something awkward about this story from its narration to its very charming protagonist, Liam Davis like it's written by someone where English isn't their first language. It also has a very old fashioned feel with Liam behaving like a very old school student journalist (he carries around a notebook constantly jotting down notes) whose great ambition is to become a newspaper journalist. Who on earth thinks newspaper editor is a viable profession these days? Was this written 10 to 20 years ago? The thing with this story however,is that as I continued reading it I started to get sucked into Liam's world and his odd little view of things.
Liam is a genuinely smart and kind social misfit who says exactly what he's thinking at times. Sometimes they're blunt unintentionally funny things and sometimes almost painful truths get blurted out. He kind of reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Liam has spent so much time on his ambitions he hasn't had time to develop socially and in his mind he doesn't think he needs to but others do. When Liam is forced to cover the party circuit of his school for the papers, he's finds himself interacting with all kinds of different people including Quinn, a handsome young man who recently broke up with his boyfriend, and Hunter, a very feisty young man who's in a wheelchair due to an accident.
All these people start to challenge Liam's worldviews and assumptions, even ones he's made about his own sexuality. There's also a story Liam follows involving a masked crusader who swoops in a la Batman when someone on campus is being attacked.
This entire story however rests on Liam and boy does he deliver. He's one of the more odd, funny & charming protagonists you'll read about in an m/m book. Because of him this was just a fun book to read. (less)
I remember liking Pressure Head more but this sequel has its good points. Because of the setting and the eccentric characters this had the feel of an...moreI remember liking Pressure Head more but this sequel has its good points. Because of the setting and the eccentric characters this had the feel of an English Cozy mystery which I like. We get the point of view from Tom and we're in his head a lot so it's a good thing he's an amusing guy.
At the start of this Tom is still seeing Phil although he doesn't have a full handle on their relationship and where it's heading. In the meantime Tom finds from his sister that an aunt he was very fond of has passed away and left him something that he must find. We're then reminded that Tom has a psychic gift of finding things people hide, though I was disappointed that Tom's psychic abilities aren't really used too much in this story.
Tom's BFF Gary and Gary's beau Darren make a return appearance in this one. We 're also introduced to some other characters like Tom's annoying sister Cherry (although she mellows out towards the end). The others are a group of odd ducks that are served up as potential suspects when the criminal mischief occurs. Watching Tom and Phil play amateur sleuths & seeing it through Tom's eyes was amusing although I did find the big reveal about the villain and their motive to be very anti climatic.
More successful was the progression of Tom & Phil's relationship. Seeing the wheels turn for Tom as he realizes his deeper feelings for Phil was quite satisfying.
Some things surprised me in this story like there were several fade to black scenes and what sex scenes we do get is very minimal. I also expected to get more of a feel for Phil but he's still not as developed a character as Tom. Maybe in the next book which I assume will happen due to a plot twist that occurs at the end of this one. (less)
3.5 Stars I’ve tried out a few other Kade Boehme books & enjoyed them mainly for the heartfelt characters he creates wi...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.5 Stars I’ve tried out a few other Kade Boehme books & enjoyed them mainly for the heartfelt characters he creates with this story being no exception. It’s a case of opposites attract between the new deputy in town, Will Cooper and local Native American youth worker, Colin Sharpe. But before anything can even happen between the two, there’s lots of obstacles thrown their way including having to deal with the racist attitude of the community in general and Colin’s father in particular. While I ended up liking the romance between Will & Colin, I wasn’t as satisfied with how the other plots tied together in the story.
Maybe it’s because racism is such a huge topic that it’s hard to do it justice. It’s especially cumbersome when you’re trying to tie that together with a tidy little romantic storyline. The racism was also too one sided with several of the Native Americans really hating white people, especially those that worked in the sheriff’s department, with no real reason given for their hostility, while the whites in town were portrayed as mainly innocent victims. That hardly meshed with reality when you consider who actually had the power in this small town and it wasn’t the Native Americans. I’d love to have read the back story on this and get a better explanation than just Will happened to end up in a village filled with ornery and mean spirited people.
There was also a subplot involving some youths in town that I thought Will was too passive about as it would have had far reaching consequences to him and his reputation. With all that was going on for him I did find myself wondering how he found the time to moon over some guy, even if he was a hot guy. His priorities were a little off.
While technically all the loose ends eventually gets tied up, I was still left with a feeling a ball was dropped somewhere. We needed more resolution. This is not to say I didn’t like the romance between the two guys. I was especially happy that we didn’t get some slapped on at the end HEA even if this story did succumb to the dreaded let’s separate the two guys in order to get to that place. I liked other things as well like how Will wasn’t your typical macho, tough guy cop. Despite some missed opportunities, that tipped the scale to the positive side for me and I’d recommend to those interested in reading a slightly angsty romance story.(less)
This was all right. The main character is this new agey, meditating and philosophical kind of guy who's a bartender, hence the title. But it turns out...moreThis was all right. The main character is this new agey, meditating and philosophical kind of guy who's a bartender, hence the title. But it turns out that he's not really all that Zen as he's hiding from a lot of unpleasantness in his life like the fact that his mother was murdered and his dad is in prison. The fragile peace he's feeling is shattered when an old man comes into his bar claiming to have been the one who killed his mother.
This is supposed to be a thriller but it didn't quite live up to that billing. It's kind of hard to marry a thriller with zen, tea and the making of different bar drinks. All that stuff just slows the pace down. I can see bartenders finding this stuff interesting though. I made a guess on where this story was heading early on and it twisted and turned in exactly the way I expected. It wasn't that thrilling but not an unpleasant read at all.
Amy Lane has more than earned her moniker as the queen of angst in m/m stories. She seemed to have never met two boys in...moreReviewed for Hearts on Fire
Amy Lane has more than earned her moniker as the queen of angst in m/m stories. She seemed to have never met two boys in love who she couldn’t make endlessly & exhaustingly suffer through some deep, disturbing trauma, but here she shows remarkable restraint in this story about an arty, techie party boy who finally gets to meet and fall for the boy next door. Not only is this not her normal angst fest but this one was downright sunny. So much so I swear I could almost hear that ‘Happy’ song in the background as I was reading.
The story begins at a wedding for friends where we first meet Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia. The guest of honor at the wedding asks Will and Kenny how did the pair of them end up together and through a series of flashbacks we’re told their love story. Flashbacks is not my favorite method of storytelling and this one had the added factor of too much over sharing so I would have preferred a more straight forward storyline.
How Will & Kenny meet up is after Kenny comes home to find his faithful boyfriend is not so faithful, he ends up throwing out his excessive amounts of personal things and sex toys in the street. Will Lafferty is also having a bad day and is not paying attention when he runs into a garbage can containing all of Kenny’s toys. He finds himself fascinated by the shiny objects and the shiny Will and a friendship is born.
It’s all very movie script sweet and amusing. Kenny is a really nice guy even if I think his naivité is overplayed and over done. The fact that he’s never wondered before about his sexuality is also not remotely realistic. But again, he’s adorably so sweet that you want to overlook that part.
The story unfolds as we watch Will and Kenny go from a nice friendship and working relationship to realizing that each of them has feelings for the other. There’s a slight misunderstanding about this that keeps them in the friend zone for longer than they should have been but this gives them time to build up the relationship and keeps the story at a nice pace.
There’s no instant love here to grumble about. In fact, this story throws away a lot of the more irritating m/m conventions. For instance, the two protagonists are not movie star handsome and perfect and the misunderstanding between the two don’t go on to the point of misery. Someone has been paying attention to m/m reader’s complaints.
The one flaw I do see is that sometimes Kenny came across as excessively pushy about what Will should do with his life. He kept insisting that Will shouldn’t or couldn’t be a teacher presumably because he was gay. I thought Kenny should have taken a more supportive role of being there in case things don’t work out instead of advising Will aggressively to quit his job.
In the real world this would raise a lot of red flags about the relationship. But in this story, Will just gives up his dreams as if he never heard of applying to teach in a less conservative area or moving. There are gay teachers around who still have their jobs so acting like it was impossible was a little irritating. This was enough to keep me from seeing this as a perfect story as Kenny as a partner should not be making Will’s career choices for him.
That takes this to more of a B level instead of an A level story. Still it’s quite good and almost feels like a love letter from Amy Lane to her fans who’ve been clamoring for a much lighter feel good love story and she delivers on this one.(less)
Just like one of those sweet and gooey chocolate candy this goes down nice and easy even while knowing this is nothing but...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
Just like one of those sweet and gooey chocolate candy this goes down nice and easy even while knowing this is nothing but a whole lot of empty calories. Brian, a wolf shifter takes Luke as his mate in order to save his life. We are told though that the pair are on equal footing and both are considered alphas. But in Luke’s case, the use of the term alpha is just a word with no meaning as there’s nothing alpha about the constant cowering he does behind his mate’s back and his constant quaking in fear whenever any wolf so much as looks at him. Still Luke does eventually settle into a comfort zone where he finds some strength even if it sometimes feel as if he’s playing the little woman behind the strong man character in an old fashioned love story.
The plot is fairly simple. Luke accidentally strays into Brian’s territory. Brian is a wolf shifter and Luke is fully human. There’s a ridiculous rule about having to kill Luke or anyone who comes into the territory at the wrong time. To avoid that Brian takes Luke as his mate. In the space of a few sentences Brian and Luke find out they’re really compatible and fall in love. It happens so quickly that it could win a contest in the fastest m/m instant love book I’ve read. The pacing is much too fast with not enough details in the early parts of the story although it feels it finds its equilibrium after the two get together.
The rest of the story centers around the two of them getting in lockstep with Luke getting over his fear of wolves and Brian overcoming his loneliness to accept other wolves in his life. The wolves from the earlier part of the book though don’t play much of a part. Instead we get a repetitive story about Luke recruiting and adopting new pack members. It starts to feel like a continuous loop with Luke going way overboard in trying to extend the pack, Brian getting exasperated but eventually giving in to luke’s ideas with this pattern repeating itself again with the next recruit.
Everything is glossed over in this story as we’re told more than shown most of it. Although Brian and Luke are affectionate there’s no sex on the page. There’s a lot of cuteness involving cranky but adorable old wolves and sweet little ones though. Brian and Luke are very likable which is pretty much what carries this story. This doesn’t have a lot of depth but if you’re craving sweet and easy then this might hit the spot.(less)
This gets off to a good start but neither the mystery nor the romance ever reach their full potential.
The story is divided into two parts and begins with Jason Wood traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he gets in a car accident. His rescuer turns out to be a childhood friend, Henry McCavanaugh. They rekindle their friendship and there’s sparks leading to the start of something more between the two. In the meantime, there’s a mystery involving Jason’s inheritance, a family farm that is burned to the ground with a dead body inside of it.
Against a moody, dark, frozen, wintery backdrop everything is set up for a great mystery romance. But the focus turns away from the mystery and mainly to what’s happening between Jason and Henry. As their re kindled friendship becomes something more, Jason is thrilled as well as nervous, as his fears of getting too close to anyone resurfaces. In the back of his mind he’s also aware he has to eventually return to his real life as a baker in another town.
It’s not surprising then when it all culminates with Jason abruptly running away from Henry without a word after a night of intimacy. But that this pattern of avoidance and miscommunication continues throughout the entire story was certainly disappointing.
Part one, and the best part of this book ends with Jason getting the big reveal about the fire at the family farm and with a big misunderstanding involving Jason, his ex and Henry.
Part two then begins and it soon becomes clear that there will be no quick resolution as Jason finds every excuse he can think of to actually never communicate with Henry ever again. Instead the book first focuses on Jason dealing with the information he’s learned about the farmhouse fire and the identity of the body. This leads him to travel revisiting childhood memories and to additional travels to try to clear his head.
This also involves Jason becoming superficially and sexually involved with a couple of other men. Since these relationships were basically meaningless it felt like it was a waste of space. Space perhaps that could have been taken up actually building up the other main character Henry. The only thing we truly learn about Henry is his feelings for Jason. Other than that, he doesn’t have any real identity in this book.
When Jason finally stops traveling and tries to settle down, he again finds multiple ways and reasons not to talk to Henry. Instead the misunderstandings between the two of them just start to pile up and to get really irritating. There’s got to be better ways to create tension in a story. Because there’s no contact between the two main characters there’s also no real romance as well. That’s certainly a big flaw if you’re trying to sell this as a romance novel.
We get a lot with Jason and his growth but truly I didn’t feel like this was about two adult men trying to have a relationship but about people doing their best to avoid one. The happy ending that occurs after months and months of not speaking just felt like a cheat. There’s definite potential with the writing here but there was too many deficiencies in the romantic storyline department.(less)
2.5 starsThis is one of those somewhat sleepy stories about two men developing a deep friendship and bond as they both try...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.5 starsThis is one of those somewhat sleepy stories about two men developing a deep friendship and bond as they both try to overcome their past. It’s part travelogue and part religious introspection but not a whole lot romance.
James Mitchell is an American visiting New Zealand to get some perspective and to escape the growing publicity he’s getting from being exposed as a con artist who’s impersonated religious guides of various religions. Tāne Kokiri is a Maori native of New Zealand who’s traveling the countryside scattering his mom’s ashes. Because they keep meeting up they decide to travel together.
The main conflict in the story comes from James trying to come to terms with how he hurt other people due to his duplicity. But because he was in a different country throughout most of the story, it just felt like a distant and in a way not very interesting problem. He impersonated religious leaders but he did give people comfort even if he was an agnostic at the time. It all felt a bit overblown and I couldn’t believe what he did would even merit international news as it did.
The remainder of the book deals with the developing friendship between James and Tāne. Tāne is sweet and kind with the patience of a saint who despite both of them being grown men in their thirties, goes along with the idea of waiting before getting in a sexual relationship. While there’s a few kisses thrown in here and there, James and Tāne throughout have the chemistry of good road trip buddies and not lovers.
Most of the book instead, is a description of the New Zealand landscape, Maori customs with a visit with Tāne’s unwelcoming father and sister thrown in. It’s all very inoffensive, nice and a bit informative. I just wish it was less of a travel guide or religious debate and more of a romance. This is more for those interested in visiting New Zealand but not recommended if you want a hot romantic book to cozy up to on Valentine’s Day.
I went into this expecting to like this more than I ended up doing. After all, it had a lot of the ingredients I usually fin...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
I went into this expecting to like this more than I ended up doing. After all, it had a lot of the ingredients I usually find appealing like a ghost story with a side of humor. But overall this came close but It didn’t quite gel for me.
Wolf Kincaid and his two assistants work in the field of ghostbusting & debunking haunted house claims. They’re initially approached by a woman who wants her nephew and his home investigated as he’s inherited an inn where he claims most of the guests are ghosts. Mrs. Pryce thinks her nephew Tristan is insane and wants Wolf to show him that the ghosts he’s seeing aren’t real. It’s also implied that she’s peeved that he’s inherited this property instead of her husband who was next in line and that there’s some monetary interest at stake.
My first issue with the storyline is I couldn’t figure out how they had any say over Tristan’s life or his inheritance. There really wasn’t a very good reason given why Tristan would feel any obligation to his uncle or very distant aunt to give in to their request and have his home, The Grange, invaded by a so called paranormal psychologist invited in to prove he’s crazy. It seemed to be a plot device just to get Tristan and Wolf together and the fact that there’s absolutely no follow up in the book with Mr. or Mrs. Price seems to confirm that.
The Wolf character was also so undefined at first that I couldn’t figure out if he believed in ghosts or not and whether he’s investigating to expose fraud or if he was really looking for ghosts. It’s only later as we learn more about Wolf does the book actually feel like it finds its footing.
The main purpose of the book however, is the attraction between Wolf and Tristan. Wolf is the skeptic who’s of course, instantly attracted to the more delicate ghost seeing Tristan. They have some chemistry, but it all feels a bit flowery, overdone and more than a bit predictable and clichéd. Is one of them older and the other younger or bigger and smaller, physically stronger or weaker? Yes, it’s all there clearly delineated in textbook romance fashion. The one or two sex scenes in the book are overly long and interspaced with so much conversation that I’d forget they were even having sex which is a strong indication it wasn’t holding my interest much.
There was also the obligatory eccentric characters, the very annoying straight couple/assistants in the story and the late plot twist that I saw coming from miles ahead. Everything, including the humor, felt forced. It’s not all bad as the story is pleasant enough to read but the net effect is something not quite as fresh and humorous as I was expecting.(less)
Funny, exhilarating, crazy and sometimes violent read about a mechanical alien armor system who attaches to a human after a...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
Funny, exhilarating, crazy and sometimes violent read about a mechanical alien armor system who attaches to a human after accidentally (on purpose) crash landing on earth.
This was certainly something unexpected in the m/m genre. The blurb explains it that McClane is an armor system that has to attach to a host to survive. The problem he finds is that he’s not compatible with the host chosen for him. In fact, he feels nothing but contempt for him. A surprise to him as he wasn’t sure he was supposed to have feelings at all. His efforts to detach from his chosen host and also to survive leads to a crash landing on earth right near a military base.
The US military upon discovering these aliens react in a predictable manner accidentally annihilating all but one of their alien guests. This alien system manages to escape with the military in hot pursuit and decides to attach himself to the first suitable human he sees which so happens to be Riley Cooper.
Riley Cooper is a cowboy bartender on the run from his Russian mob boyfriend. But Misha Tokarev is a man in love (obsessed) with Riley and he’s not about to just let him leave. What ensues is a kind of a love triangle, although not technically a m/m/m story, between Riley, Misha and McClane all against a backdrop of being pursued by the military & Misha’s mob family who aren’t too keen on Misha’s male choice for a partner.
Add to that Misha’s strained relationship with his family which includes a mob boss dad, an ambitious sister who wants to take his place in the hierarchy and a mom who insists on planning his engagement to a woman even though he’s made it clear to his family he’s gay. It’s a perfect storm of aliens, alien hunters, mobsters and current, former and future lovers.
Despite the pile up of bodies and the questionable ethics involved, this turned out to be funny and entertaining and even quite a nice little love story, though it takes a back seat at times to most of the action. There’s lots of good side characters like some of Misha’s associates and some of the military personnel that add good color to the story. Despite or because of its eccentricities I ended up really loving this one.
I really enjoyed reading about all the characters. There were multiple points of views presented which surprisingly enhanced rather than detracted from the storyline. All the characters are flawed but really committed to what they’re doing so you end up almost admiring them even when they display questionable morality. You certainly can’t take it all too seriously. I mean your main romantic hero is a contract killer here. But this was just a whole lot of fun to read and it was great to watch Riley, McClane and Misha bond. There was a lot of good humor and it was even touching at times. This is recommended for those looking for an entertaining read and those who love a quirky story with some military, cowboy, Russian mob & sci fi action.(less)
The intentions were good on this one but the writing was amateurish and the main character Mark was pretty much a sociopath with desperate need of ang...moreThe intentions were good on this one but the writing was amateurish and the main character Mark was pretty much a sociopath with desperate need of anger management counseling. I like the idea of hate hate turning to something else but the physical attacks bothered me. Mark accidentally injures Sandy and he makes it everyone's fault but his own. When he's not doing that he's punching or fighting with Sandy on the least provocation.
He imagines Sandy Rogers is laughing at him or talking about him behind his back or looks at him funny or is taunting him and this leads to Mark either attacking Sandy physically or barely restraining himself from doing so. The way this story is presented it's not to be taken seriously but i get uncomfortable because the excuses Mark uses for when he turns physical against Sandy are the same one used by every abusive person who've ever hit their wife or their child, i.e. 'she/he made me do it.'.
Interspersed between all that, there were entertaining moments with Sandy, Mark their friends and family. The writer keeps it clean ( I think because she notes she's not comfortable with writing sex scenes). These are also young people maybe high school age & they never quite develop to maturity even by the end. I'd say an audience on the same level would be a better fit for this story. Hopefully they won't internalize that message of it's ok to hit someone if you're trying to avoid your feelings for them because that sounds an awful lot like a bully mentality. (less)
2.75 Stars The sometimes evocative writing does not completely offset the fact that this novel is also crammed with an awfu...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.75 Stars The sometimes evocative writing does not completely offset the fact that this novel is also crammed with an awful lot of redundant scenes that we have to endure in order to get to the pivotal point of the story.
The basic outline is Ash used to live on the streets but was rescued by a wealthy young woman who becomes his good friend. She introduces him to a paramedic named Pete who was looking for a roommate. They agree to share an apartment and eventually become lovers. All is not right however, as Ash is mysterious and moody, has nightmares and zones out a lot. It all has to do with something that happened in his past but both Ash and the author keeps us in the dark about exactly what that is.
Pete has an idea about what’s troubling Ash but decides the best way to handle things is to not talk about it and hope it works itself out on its own. At least that’s how I interpreted his actions as every chapter seemed to end with him deciding to put things off and pretend everything is OK.
How the author chooses to tell this story is by each chapter being a little vignette showing a day in the life. It’s a technique that wears thin after a while. When you have chapter after chapter where Pete has a hard time at work, comes home wiped out, orders take out , avoid talking about what happened at work, avoid talking about what’s bothering Ash, have a little make out session and fall asleep, it begins to feel a little monotonous. And spoiler alert, this goes on for approximately seventy five percent of the story.
Sure there’s the occasional detour to show aspects of Ash’s job as a tattoo artist, Pete’s paramedic job and their interactions with friends, and Ash and Pete’s tentative courtship was in many ways cute & engaging. But then the story would repeat again and again and it began to feel like Groundhog day with different day same results. I wasn’t exactly bored but I was very impatient to get to some kind of point.
When something does finally happen we’re asked to believe a series of unlikely coincidences connecting Ash’s past with Pete’s job.
What was more jarring was that nice, always helpful Pete turns on Ash viciously after he discovers what he believes to be a major flaw in Ash. I had trouble buying into what Pete does. Would the guy who spent most of the book constantly worried and concerned about Ash’s well being suddenly turn around and not even check to make sure he was all right? Not likely. This was just a plot point used to facilitate the big misunderstanding. It all felt a bit clunky even if I was kind of relieved that there was finally some kind of action going on.
I can see why some people would love this story. Ash is one of those very appealing broken characters that you absolutely root for good things to happen. But all the things I mentioned like the repetitive scenes, taking too long for anything to happen, the unbelievable coincidences, the jumping to conclusions and acting out of character on Pete’s part marred this story for me. By the end I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the results as I was at the start. There were enough good points and promise in the writing that I’d probably check out this author’s future stories but I’d put this one down as a near miss. (less)
I was totally charmed by this story about a depressed bipolar man who finds himself attracted to a young Essex man who's opposite to him in many ways...moreI was totally charmed by this story about a depressed bipolar man who finds himself attracted to a young Essex man who's opposite to him in many ways including in language and education. It's interesting that despite all Ash's many issues his friends and to some extent even Ash looks down on Darian for the way he talks & acts. But Darian charm shines through in this story and Ash finds himself besotted despite himself.
Ash is not always likable in this story and I wished that he was given more of a comeuppance for the way he treated Darian. My thirst for vengeance was not satisfied. But I really loved all the witty and clever scenes throughout including one where Darian and Ash play a game of Nabble which is a variation of Scrabble using made up words. This was lots of fun to read. If you have an aversion to dialect writing then you may want to avoid this. But I've been reading so many m/m books lately that have been difficult to get through that reading this smart little story was a nice breath of fresh air.
For me this is one of those books that tried too hard to be heartwarming and I found it cloyingly sentimental at times. Jess has this perfectly wonder...moreFor me this is one of those books that tried too hard to be heartwarming and I found it cloyingly sentimental at times. Jess has this perfectly wonderful dotty old grandmother and this perfectly wonderful younger brother. Jess is also perfectly wonderful himself as he tries to navigate taking care of both of them while dealing with his parent's rejection (for him being gay). In this perfect storm of wonderfulness is David, the 'straight' kindergarden teacher Jess has a crush on. It all works out of course because David it turns out has one of those nebulous sexuality where it's all about who you fall in love with and not the gender. No labels for this guy.
This is not an unpleasant story. Jess is nice and his brother Thomas is a warm character. There's nothing wrong with David either. Maybe that was my problem with this one; just too many perfect characters. I'd also frequently get jarred out of the story by little things that made me feel I was reading a story instead of being immersed in one. I needed something to balance out the sweetness.(less)
2.75 Stars My first impression of this story was one of déjà vu and I kept wondering didn’t I read this already. It turns...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.75 Stars My first impression of this story was one of déjà vu and I kept wondering didn’t I read this already. It turns out I was getting it mixed up with “Chase the Storm” which had almost the identical premise. They both feature a cowboy broken hearted over the loss of a long term partner. They also both have a young city boy seeking to find themselves who ends up working on the ranch. They both even have the same type of older fatherly ranch foreman who provides all the gossip about why the cowboy is so sad. I do think reading similar stories back to back probably colored my view of this story
In this case the young man JT had already completed school but decided that he didn’t really want to go into the psychology field. The problem for him was he couldn’t think of an alternative career so was wandering the country trying to find himself. When he runs into a woman and her handsome cowboy son Brett, he gladly accepts the job to work on his ranch. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Brett quite attractive.
Both Brett’s mom and his foreman friend Ray, have decided that Brett has been grieving for his lost lover a little too long and manipulate Brett & JT to come together. This seemed unnecessary and something they both could have accomplished on their own. After all Brett is 41 which is a little too old to be needing your mother’s help in getting dates. Brett’s mother’s romantic history also left a lot to be desired so I couldn’t figure out why she was the romance expert. I also found it odd that they ignored real problems like Brett’s frequent binge drinking in favor of focusing on his love life.
The first part of the book was too passive. Brett & JT spend more time talking to other people than to each other. JT learns important information about Brett’s past more from gossiping with Ray & by other means involving some privacy invasion than he does from talking to Brett. It just felt like a whole lot of telling. I also had a sense in this story of waiting for something to happen, but the little action we do get near the end was taken care of quickly. In between all that is quite a few sex scenes although this is another of those books that have the irritating idea that only anal counts as real sex.
I find most M/M romance books a little too short but in this case I think this story would have worked better as a novella. I don’t think there was enough going on to justify the length. There were moments that I liked but there were times I felt the story drag and because of that it took me quite a while to finish. Brett & JT are sweet and their gentle romance was appealing but their characterizations don’t really go much beyond the country boy, city boy cliché.
This series with its inside Hollywood focus has really grown on me. The characters don’t always do the right thing, in fact...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
This series with its inside Hollywood focus has really grown on me. The characters don’t always do the right thing, in fact you can pretty much guarantee they won’t, but their journey is always at least interesting.
When we previously saw Jeremy and Kit they had worked through some tough issues to get to the point of what looked like the beginning of a good relationship. Kit had seemed to come to terms with his sexuality and was finally out and Jeremy had come into his own as an actor. But in this book which takes place 3 years later, we find that Kit & Jeremy are now on shaky ground. Kit is still reluctant to be truly out in public. What’s worse for him is that his acting career has also hit a few bumps. He still loves Jeremy but he starts to wonder if that’s enough.
Jeremy, on the other hand is now thriving in his role as a film star. He’s no longer the naïve newbie who needed Kit’s help in picking out what clothes to wear. Kit is very perturbed about their role reversal vacillating between feeling proud and supportive and also envious and jealous. His mood turns darker as he sinks into a more depressive state.
Instead of discussing his feelings with Jeremy, Kit withdraws into himself becoming more difficult to deal with and taking to cooking until late into the evening to avoid all discussions. Kit begins to think a career change may solve his problems but isn’t sure how Jeremy will fit into this.
Jeremy is bewildered by the changes in Kit and suspects he might be losing him. When Kit starts to pursue his new interest in cooking, Jeremy fears they’ll no longer have anything else in common and that he’ll lose him completely. Things begin to look far worse when an attractive TV chef enters the picture.
For most of the story we see Kit & Jeremy in a downward spiral. While some may find this story too downbeat, sometimes I enjoy this kind of exploration of a relationship more than the happy sappy stories. I like reading about what happens after the happily ever after. Triumphing through adversity has its own appeal and can end up being a truly uplifting story.
Jeremy & Kit receive some help from their old pals Aaron & Greg (from the prior books) in the form of some good fatherly type advice and some tough love. They remind both Jeremy & Kit that they’ve overcome a lot including difficult childhoods.
What holds your interest in the story is figuring out how Jeremy & kit will find their way back to each other. Things do look pretty bleak for a while but it all eventually works out. I did think the resolution was a little too neat and tidy involving the device of a family emergency. It seemed to rob Jeremy of the chance to hold onto his anger while letting Kit get off way too easy. It also made their getting together feel a little tenuous. Will there be more to their story or is this it?
In either case this is still an engaging story worth a read for the journey they both go through. You could probably get away with reading this as a standalone although it may be helpful to read at least Acting Out which details the beginning of Jeremy & Kit’s relationship. I’d recommend reading the entire series as well. (less)
3.5 Stars The title is very apt as we get mainly the beginning of the story. It’s not to say it’s not a good beginning but...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.5 Stars The title is very apt as we get mainly the beginning of the story. It’s not to say it’s not a good beginning but I like at least a little closure from the books I read, even the fantasy ones.
The story is told from the perspective of young Prince Kherin of Llarien. He’s at odds with his father the king for a variety of reasons that’s hinted at but not really disclosed to the reader. Maybe it’s because Kherin’s mother died while giving birth to him or maybe it’s because Kherin is gay or maybe Kherin just annoys him. In any case, we don’t see too much affection being shown to Kherin and instead his father tries to rule him with an iron fist. Kherin’s reaction to this is to rebel by indulging in a variety of activities unseemly for a royal including having indiscreet trysts with some of his underlings, visiting low class whorehouses, overindulging in alcohol and generally getting into all kinds of scrapes.
The one person that’s good at keeping Kherin in check is his best friend and the king’s master trader, Derek Resh. Kherin has known & admired him since he was a child and would love to be more than friends. Derek, on the other hand, is very cautious and loyal to the king and refuses to do anything that’ll make him angry , which would include getting romantically involved with his son.
This sets up the dynamics of their relationship where Kherin pushes for more romantically from Derek, while Derek pushes back because he’s trying to protect him from his father’s wrath. While Derek is a strong character, the part he plays in this romance began to feel like the virginal maiden. There are lots of repetitive scenes with Kherin aggressively pursuing Derek and Derek backing away. The fact that Kherin always had to talk Derek into the romance took something away from it.
Besides all the romantic tension there’s increasing menace around the kingdom including signs of war. Kherin finds himself in the thick of it after he discovers that his brother Adrien has been struck with a mysterious illness from one of their enemies. Kherin for the first time finds himself having to live up to his responsibilities as prince. He & Derek investigate and find out there’s more going on and that some of it may even involve magic which has not been seen in the kingdom during their lifetime.
The tension regarding Adrian is really well done even if I did find Kherin slow to put things together. Derek as master trader and spy is the one with more awareness but the reader is kept mostly in the dark about his thoughts. We’re again given hints about it all and by the end we at least have an idea of the players involved. But we really don’t know much of anything else.
Kherin is only slightly less clueless than he was at the beginning. The romance reaches some kind of resolution but right at a point where they’ll be a separation between the two. It’s very inconclusive and it feels like a story that’s been split in two at the halfway point.
I enjoyed the world building and the plot set up is good. I just don’t think where it ends was satisfying enough for me. I have to have a complete story because who knows when or if I’ll get to the next book in the series. This does feel a little like I read half a book so I hesitate to recommend it if only because I haven’t read the second book as yet so I have no idea if the plot falls off or improves. I’d say check it out if you enjoy a good fantasy book but keep the second book close at hand. (less)
2.5 Stars On the one hand this is a somewhat entertaining little melodrama, at least for the first seventy five percent of t...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.5 Stars On the one hand this is a somewhat entertaining little melodrama, at least for the first seventy five percent of this story. But on the other, I found most of it totally ludicrous. We start with the unbelievable premise that a young flaming gay college student named Aidan has gotten the attention of not just one straight jock but two of them, both on the rowing team and that they end up fighting over him.
One of the straight jocks is Sammy, who is presented as an African American heartthrob who has the girls falling over themselves to get to him. He has a revolving door of sex with women to the point that Aidan often has to find other sleeping accommodations. The other man is Steven, an equally muscle bound blue eyed blonde who was dating Aidan’s good friend Sarah.
Triangles require some balancing act to avoid having the main character come across as a douche. Well mission not accomplished as I sometimes found it hard to love Aidan or the other guys. I was also totally perplexed that Aidan eventually picked the cardboard cutout character over the more fully developed one.
But first Aidan gets a chance to try them both out. Steven is the first to fall for Aidan’s charms. When their courtship gets going, the second guy Sammy starts feeling jealous and possessive, even though he has a girlfriend Carolyn. By the way, Carolyn with her crazy, psychotic rages, is one of the more annoying female characters to be found in a gay storyline.
When we’re not dealing with Aidan’s triangle, the book takes a turn to homophobia and gay bashing on campus. This college is so populated with evil assholes, including the Dean and food throwing sorority girls, that you start to wonder if this isn’t some campus from hell.
I just couldn’t get into the clichéd characters and some of the dialogue was laughable. Be prepared for the over use of the word baby (147 times) and just a lot of over talking about the relationship. You also have things like a random straight jock who demands to know from Aidan why he’s choosing one guy over the other. Or you have Carolyn engaging in a repetitive screaming match over Aidan stealing her roommate’s boyfriend. There was just too many busy bodies getting involved in the intimate details of Aidan’s sex life.
Carolyn at one point accuses Aidan of being a predatory gay, and as nutty as she is, she actually has a point. Aidan does seem to turn all the straight boys gay and the women in these guys lives are treated as after thoughts. I think if you’re already hesitant about gay for you storylines then this story certainly wouldn’t convince you of its merits.
In the end, lots of these little things, including Aidan choosing the wrong guy, just started to dim the entertainment value of this story. The characters never felt real to me and there was just one too many vile, homophobic incidents. The sometimes porny sex scenes with lots of dialogue didn’t help. I was initially amused by this story but I struggled to finish it by the end. I’d say look elsewhere for your love triangle fix.(less)
I've been watching "Orange is the New Black" lately and their view of a minimum security women's prison and kept being amazed at the amount of freedom...moreI've been watching "Orange is the New Black" lately and their view of a minimum security women's prison and kept being amazed at the amount of freedom these ladies seemed to have. In contrast, this book is set mainly in a maximum security male prison where Kash works as a correction officer and the setting feels totally different in that the men are not free to move around alone.
Besides dealing with sometimes violent prisoners, part of Kash's job involves passing meals through the window slot in the prisoner's cell and accompanying them when they need to take showers. Kash likes the pay but is slightly burned out and bored on the job. That is he was until he gets a new very attractive work partner named Zane. When it turns out that Zane is actually bisexual and attracted to him, Kash who's gay, feels like he's hit the jackpot. Later, he finds out things are less shiny than they first appear. In the meantime, Kash also finds himself wanting to help out a new young prisoner, Cody, who's in prison for a murder he said he didn't commit.
After a slow start this story held my interest. I liked the little bits we get about the prison life (the author says he worked in a prison at one time). If you enjoy hot sex scenes then you get some between Kash and Zane. We also slowly see the volatility of their relationship and Kash's deepening friendship with Cody as he starts to investigate his case. I had an idea where it was all going but was happy to be proven right. I'd love to have seen more character development especially with Cody, but I expect we'll see more of that for all the characters in the next book. This had a nice mix of action and romance. I'm definitely looking forward to the other stories in this series.(less)
* 1.5 Stars** The main problem with this one is the way it's written. There's lots of head hopping from paragraph to paragraph and it's written withou...more* 1.5 Stars** The main problem with this one is the way it's written. There's lots of head hopping from paragraph to paragraph and it's written without much emotion or passion. I need more from a story than just narrating this happened and this happened and this happened and now they live happily ever after. Both Trent and Chris were involved with other people and in open relationships (one with a married man) for most of the short. When they do finally get together it's in a sex scene described in such a mechanical way I'm not sure why even bother writing it. Then we're just told the outcome where Trent and Chris get together and apparently go from monogamish to monogamy. This is a nice outline of a story. Now it just needs to be filled in with details to give it personality and heart. (less)
I wanted to like this book more but I just kept getting lost in all the confusing plot. There was painting clouds, breakfast bar, black & gay bash...moreI wanted to like this book more but I just kept getting lost in all the confusing plot. There was painting clouds, breakfast bar, black & gay bashing, baby kittens, canned peaches and a whole lot of mess. I couldn't even figure out Manny's part time job which involved being some kind of fluffer for women in a sex club so that they can get hot & bothered enough to choose the guy who's bidding for her. Or maybe it's to get the guy hot enough to want to the girl. I wasn't sure of any of it. I don't know how this connected with Manny being a dancer or being an artistic painter of clouds either. What we do know is Manny wants to take his relationship with Joseph out of the friend zone and Joseph is balking as he's deeply closeted.
This was actually not a bad plot idea and had good potential. But the other subplots just kept taking over. For example, at one point I think Joe discovered Manny worked in the sex trade but I couldn't be sure since they never discuss it and instead we're treated to a rambling conversation between Teague, Willa, Cameron and later a bunch of waitresses and Cynda the peach seller.
I read in the Afterwards that the main characters were first introduced in several other books written by the author. That probably explains the confusion and why this wasn't as fun a book to read as it should have been. This was like a continuation of a series that I never read. (less)
3.25 StarsI had an idea this book was headed to a different place when it started off with two strangers trying to fulfill...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.25 StarsI had an idea this book was headed to a different place when it started off with two strangers trying to fulfill some kinky sexual fantasy. But by the end of the first chapter we learn that our main characters Calvin and Felix are not really strangers after all and the tone of the story changes to something a whole lot mellower. There’s not much time wasted dealing with the misunderstanding between Calvin and Kevin as they clear that up in a hurry. Instead the focus is on the romance and on Calvin dealing with problems with his nephew.
Calvin’s 16 year old nephew Robbie is obviously in some kind of trouble but is hesitant about telling Calvin what’s going on. Calvin feels a kinship to Robbie who is also the only other gay person in the family, so Calvin lets Robbie stay with him while he figures things out. But Calvin is a student journalist and he can’t let things go so he continues his own investigation into what’s going on with Robbie.
In the meantime, what Calvin thought was going to be a casual encounter between he & Felix has started to turn into something deeper. But Felix is also keeping a couple of things from him. The situation with Robbie and the one with Felix all come to a head and Calvin has to make a decision to solve it all.
I liked the story and the way the plot goes but I felt a lot of frustration with Calvin because he never seemed to figure out the obvious. His nephew is driving around and meeting with an older man in private places but Calvin’s mind doesn’t leap to the logical conclusion that something personal is going on between the two of them. I also thought it ridiculous that Calvin didn’t include Robbie’s family or the authorities immediately considering the seriousness of the situation.
Calvin is just a little too dense. Having him do his own private investigation just seemed like an obvious way to prolong the plot. We also never get to see a true reaction from Robbie’s mother when she finds out what’s been happening to her child and by true I mean believable in any way. She was calm and detached in a way no mother who loves her son would ever be.
In summary, this started off strong and settled down into a slower more sedate mystery plot mixed in with some hot sexy scenes and a quick romance. All of that is good but offset by the fact I had a hard time believing the actions & reactions of Calvin & others in the story. For me the mystery wasn’t tight enough & the romance wasn’t enough to overcome that.