I had to take a vacation from your books… I absolutely LOVE reading your creations and respect you more than I can put into words – your courage and ability to create tales and deliver them so I can be entertained, enriched, enlightened; is something to aspire to. BUT… I had to take a vacation. At first it was because I ran out of books and had already exceeded my monthly eBook allowance. But really, it was more than that. I have some gripes and I just couldn’t read another book – they all seemed to be….
- Please, please, please don’t treat your readers like morons. We are smart and enlightened people. We READ. You do not need to repeat a zillion times (or really, repeat AT ALL), details in the story. If I read it earlier in the book, I remember it. Perhaps say it again if it’s been awhile, but I do not need you to tell me someone’s profession/age difference/insecurity/family relation/main plot point/tension or whatever, every single page. Especially if it’s NOT IMPORTANT to the overall book. I am tired of being treated as a moron.
- You don’t need to get overly creative about naming, well, the penis. If I read one more: “log; hunk of meat; poker; log of love; sausage;” and so on, I may just scream. Really? Nothing kills the mood quicker, honestly.
- Integrating characters or plots that clearly were edited out… but not fully. Lately, things seem to not add up, a lot. Like an entire plot was taken out because it was not relevant – and then, you have a random page or chapter with that thread. Please review what your editor does – this is very difficult to read and still understand what the heck is going on.
- Your characters, should well, be characters. I know that sex plays a major role in some, ok most, of your stories (and I thank you for that), but more and more I’m finding that characters break character to further the plot or get a random point across. For me, nothing makes me put down the book faster – I fall in love with your characters, but if they are just a jumble of undeveloped actions, I could care less about his plight, development, or where your plot is going.
- Taking the “easy way out” – I have seen so so so many “short stories” that had enough meat and bones within the characters and plot, to be actual, well, novels. WRITE THE LONGER BOOK. I don’t want you to neatly tie up the story in five pages so you can be done with it. Take care with your endings the same way you did with the previous 70 pages. It is so upsetting to be completely engaged and then have a “and then x, y and z fell into place and they lived HEA.”
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming (and I’m back to reading you with a vengeance).
Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Word Count: 48,547
The beginning of this story definitely tries to grab you – almost a bit too fiercely. However, I was intrigued enough to continue reading and pleased to find that the beginning scene of a very young trio, was not a main story plot – but the background for the true love story. It did take me some time to be ok with the age difference between the main characters, which was also a theme of the story – a man in his 40s and a 21-year old. They did have a strong connection and bond, and age faded into the background as their love blossomed.
This is an easy and quick read, and probably could have lent itself to a longer story – apparently I think all of the good ones need to be longer these days! There were a few cliches throughout, but presented in a way that wasn’t so in your face; instead, woven into the plot line quite nicely. I am curious if there is a sequel or two, based on some of the characters introduced as there was enough ground work to create more fun in the Arizona desert.
The sex in this story is very tame and vanilla, but hot when it happens as it is filled with passion, trust and understanding. Each character continues to work through their pasts and hopes and fears for the future, that each coming together helps cement their relationship and sense of belonging together. The sex will not ignite any pages, but it is tender and thoughtful and fun to read. The focus here is their relationship, not having sex for sex sake.
Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥
I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good love story; interaction between an older guy and younger man; and loves a well-written story (without minding some usual themes). This is a particularly good read for newbies to m/m as it’s not at all scary and quite tame with a “real life” story plot.
Author: John Jockel
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Word Count: 49,708
This book revolves around a childhood crush on a movie star that follows Zack through adulthood. Here’s the thing though… while you wait for the movie star and Zack to finally meet each other (think near the end of the book), there is a lot of random side plots and interactions. Literally, random. You are taken on a trip around the world where Zack appears to dive off of the virginity wagon with guns blazing, having random and illicit sexual encounters in each city on his summer trek. All without meaning, all without any depth or purpose.
The sex in this story is a bit difficult to classify – it was SO surface-level and most likely improbable, that any potential hotness from the interaction, was sucked out of it. Each encounter was another “fetish” or cliche starting with the back-room of a gay porn movie theater, an older teacher and college student, cheating with a fellow co-ed, sex club orgy… and so on. When the main plot finally comes to light, the sex is forgettable at best and unfortunately lacks passion – particularly the passion that the reader was led to believe from a lifetime of hero worship. I think this plot IDEA has a lot of potential for a fun read in a fantasy brought to life situation, but this read missed the mark.
And if all of that hasn’t convinced you to skip this one, how about several plot lines/characters that have absolutely no resolution or purpose in the story? It seemed at times that this was a first draft – plot lines that were edited out of the final story arc, but the chapters/characters were forgotten about and left in, leaving for a bumbling read.
Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥
Sex Heat: ♥
Not recommended for anyone, really. Skip it…
Author: LA Witt
Publisher: Champagne Books
Word Count: 89,334
Homicide detective Brian is called out to a gruesome murder and is stunned when one of the victims is the spinning image of his boyfriend. What ensues is an intricate tale with many twists and turns as he tries to figure out what happened at that scene, with his boyfriend James, as the main suspect. Will his personal relationship get in the way of his job?
This was a great cop/detective read! It was jam-packed with evidence, several chases, endless questions, and more twists that you could even imagine. And jam-packed in the middle of all of that, is a relationship between the lead detective and the prime suspect. Brian is constantly questioning himself and his relationship throughout, but still finds himself drawn to James. Their desire and passion is almost tangible each time they come together – but their struggles in between those times, adds even more fuel to their fire.
The sex was quick and hot with one or two tender sessions thrown in there; filled with feelings of desire, lust and turmoil. Very vanilla, but unexpected and hot nonetheless.
Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
I would recommend this to anyone who loves cop dramas and the bevy of suspense around the crime. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be surprised – and also fall a bit in love with both characters here… even if you fight against loving James.
Author: SM Johnson
Publisher: Torquere Press
Page Count (pdf): 309
Rainbow eBooks: $5.99
When Date, a straight preppy guy runs away from his family and commitments, he goes to his gay cousin to help him explore a new path. Little did he know that included BDSM, bar tending at a gay bar and exploring his own sexuality.
When this book started, it seemed destined that the powerful Dom and owner of the bar and dungeon, was going to be the love interest for Dare – but the story doesn’t really stop there. I think that was where this book lost me, to be honest. There was some hot sex and BDSM exploration, but the undefined relationships were a bit difficult to connect with. Now don’t get me wrong, the sex was a ton of fun to read – even if it seemed at times, a bit disjointed from the overall story; the BDSM play was consistent throughout, which was also a nice change of pace.
Despite all of the available avenues for this story to take, it remained very surface level – even left me wondering how the relationships were left at the end. This is a definite hot read for people who enjoy reading about multiple partners and undefined relationships, or just want some steaming D/s scenes.
Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥
I would recommend this for experienced readers, and those just looking for sex, sex and sex, particularly those who are looking for steamy D/s scenes – as the consistency of each character’s role was the strength throughout.