Dark Heart – Thom Lane

Author: Thom Lane
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 48,940
Published: December 2008
Fictionwise: $5.99

Set in a time long ago (actual historical date not given), a house slave becomes intrigued by a new guild houseguest – Master Lucan. There is an immediate connection for the house slave, Tam, and he has hope for the first time in his life – hope that Master Lucan is the perfect match for him – except, he is a powerful mage with a special power. As Master Lucan uses his powers for good, he realizes he needs (and wants) his boy by his side.

This tale was a different type of read for me – and a completely different take on the Master/slave realtionship. In all honestly, I was struggling to adjust to their interactions, as there was nothing consensual about the pairing. However, the characters were drawn together and their relationship developed to one that was caring and consentual at the end. I was intrigued by both the setting and the special powers, which was a surprise for me, and both added significant value to the story.

This is a quick and enjoyable read, and is the first of a series of stories from Lane which incorporate mages, Master/slave relationships, and long-ago times. The characters were developed well, although there was more emphasis on the plot, setting, and power exchange, than on the characters. The sex was powerful and happened often – maintaining the M/s dynamic throughout. Be forewarned, that some parts may be difficult to read, especially if you are active in the lifestyle. But those moments added to the connection the reader has with the characters (yes, I even shed a few tears in this one) and were true to the story’s setting.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this book if you enjoy historical setting with a fantasy/mystical flair; enjoy the power dynamic between a Master/slave; want a quick and hot read that takes you to another land.

Almost Heaven – Kimberly Gardner

 

Author: Kimberly Gardner
Publisher:  Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 28,801
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $4.99

An instant attraction ensues between Chris and his younger brother’s teacher, Kevin. Kevin feels the attraction too, and for once in his life, he decides to act upon it. After seeking out Chris and the connection they had, Kevin is torn between his desire and his sense of duty to the Church. In this short tale, Kevin comes to terms with who he is – will Chris be so willing to participate?

This was a new plot line/twist, so it was fun to read. The story was short, but surprisingly dealt with a very serious decision, properly. At times it was unrealistic, but it was easy to overlook those aspects because you could easily relate to both character’s and each of his struggles. There wasn’t much sex at all, some heated moments, but this is not a story that takes place in the bedroom – it’s more about the characters. I’m not sure that I would actually categorize it as erotica, but rather a M/M romance. Outside of the potential sex, each character was relatable – I thought there was more than enough content to make this into a full novel, so expect “quick” decisions and life changing moments.

This is an easy read, but also engages you to want to know what happens in the end.  As a side note, don’t be scared about the priest angle – there is not a lot of religious undertones, so it should be suitable for everyone without making you uncomfortable.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥

Read this book if you want to sample the genre, sample the author, or wants an engaging story in one sitting.

The Book and the Rose – A.J. Llewellyn

 

  

Author: A. J. Llewellyn
Publisher:  Amber Quill Press
Word Count: 51,023
Published: Janary 2011
Fictionwise: $7.00

A Hollywood writer randomly meets the love of his life who lives on the other side of the world in Barcelona, Spain. Evans just can’t stop thinking about his Spainard – Mio, and is excited to take an extended vacation with Mio when his writing career falls apart. What he finds when he gets to Barcelona is nothing like what he expected! Mio has been keeping secrets from him, and he’s afraid that one of those secrets may be just too much for their relationship to last. Evans celebrates Spain’s version of Valentine’s Day with Mio where they exchange a book and a rose to signify their love – what comes before and after is anything but predictable!

This was an interesting read and not typical of most of the M/M books out there. I was expecting a completely different story based on the opening, and was surprised with how everything unfolded through the very end. This was not a romantic tale in the traditional sense, or rather the typical M/M sense, but the main character was well-developed so it was easy and fun to follow him on his journey. There was a lot of sex throughout, but unfortunately it wasn’t sex that I was able to connect with most of the time – for me, this was a read about an untraditional love story and following your heart.

Be forewarned, there are several different sex partners, scenes, scenarios, and interactions throughout – some scenes may test your imagine from a partner perspective, but very vanilla throughout. Even without the super hot sex and not my typical cup of tea read, I still enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more from this author. This is definitely a more male-focused/written book, but it’s a great change of pace.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥

Read this book if you are looking for a more male-perspective in this genre. It’s also a great untraditional love story in a completely new setting and set of circumstances. And if you’re looking for a bit of a fun or lighter read.

With Caution – J.L. Langley

With Caution

Author: J. L. Langley
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Word Count: 77,916
Published: 2007 (relaased on Fictionwise December 2010)
Fictionwise: $5.50

A life of living in fear of his father while always protecting his younger brother, main character Remington goes through a journey of overcoming his fears, understanding his desires, and becoming his own man. Through his journey, he finds his mate in Jake and a new family of friends within the pack. With Jake’s unconditional love and support, Remington keeps his word to his brother and brings justice to his father.

This was a very surprising read – I am a fan of some shapeshifter books, but I must admit I am a hard sell. This one was beautifully written with several key plots and characters, all of which you will immediately fall in love with. You get to see Remington as the ultimate protector of his brother while not being able to fully realize his worth without his true mate, Jake, by his side. This is a great read and I couldn’t put it down – a romance with a bit of a shapeshifter twist, hot men, family responsibilities and duties, and some sex!

The sex in this book comes a bit later in the story, so this is not the read for you if you want immediate gratification – well, at least gratification that doesn’t come in dream form. In addition, the sex is not the main theme here, but the realtionships and pack development are – so this is great for someone who is new to the M/M reading scene, or LOVES warewolves tales. Be warned that the story called for a D/s relationship, but the sex doesn’t really deliver on this front – more by subtle tones, so don’t expect a lot of D/s here. Well written, the characters are what will grab your attention – you love all of them instantly, and can’t wait to find out how it all ends.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this book if you are looking to get your warewolves fix along with a great romantic tale while watching the main characters work through their inner struggles. The sex is hot but spaced nicely throughout – a great newbie read.

I Spy Something Bloody – Josh Lanyon

I Spy Something Bloody

Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 31,203
Published: November 2008
Fictionwise: $4.99

When in trouble, a spy can only think of one place he can run to – the only place he’s ever felt safe and perhaps even loved, his ex-boyfriend’s home. Unfortunately, the spy is about two years too late after walking out on his ex for a mission. This is the story of how these two people from very different walks of life, work to create a new normal by overcoming years of hurt and letting go of their fears.

While outside of the Adrien English series, this story is told in typical Josh Lanyon fashion – very well-developed characters, danger throughout, real-life internal struggles, and several obstacles to over come on both sides. This is a fun read, and rather short, so you won’t be able to put it down – and just wait until the adventure at the end! Both characters work through some very real struggles including a significant age difference, letting go of a profession/life that they know, learning to accept each other for who they are.

The sex is hot (when it happens), which does not happen often in this book. This is very tame, with some D/s undertones, but not blatant nor a significant plot theme. This is a great read for anyone who loves a good romance, great characters, and some mystery/action and intrigue along the way. It’s also a very “easy” M/M read – and an excellence choice, as are most of Lanyon’s books, for anyone who’s interested in diving into the genre.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this book if you want to test the waters of M/M stories, love a good romance, or like a little action (not just sex action, but spy action).

Burn – Sean Michael

Burn

Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Word Count: 51,011
Published: January 2011
Fictionwise: $5.99

An annual game brings together two childhood friends – finally. After a difficult day as a fireman, Marshall shows up to the annual gathering to say hello to his friends. When he arrives, his friend Dave can tell that something’s wrong with Marshall and finally has his opportunity to take care of his long-time crush. As soon as Dave finds his opening, he’s determined to show Marshall everything that he needs to help him deal with his high-stress job and also satisfy his sexual desires. Marshall has no idea what’s in store for him as Dave takes over as Dom and Marshall learns how to submit.

This is a surprising read from Sean Michael, particularly for the Hammer series. This book is based more on the relationship and internal struggles of the main characters, Marshall in particular, versus the D/s relationship or gratuitous sex. There is plenty of sex, and some of it is gratuitous, but there are also well-developed characters and a decent plot. The D/s relationship and roles are not as blatant in his story – while each character has a clearly defined role in the bedroom, one of the characters is unsure of the lifestyle and continuously struggles to come to terms with it.

There is sex throughout the book – vanilla and some D/s play. At times the sex scenes run too long as is typical in Sean Michael’s writing, but they are always hot! You are rooting for both characters to get what they want and what they need from each other, and you see that the sex helps them both meet that goal.

Overall this is a good read with super hot sex. This is a very beginner level D/s book and good for anyone who is looking for a glance into the lifestyle and the very “mild” end of the spectrum. In addition, it deals with issues of coming to terms with sexual need and roles in a way that is very “friendly” for a new M/M reader.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥

Read this book if you’re interested in getting a glimpse into the D/s lifestyle and the Hammer series. And of course, if you’re looking for some seriously hot sex!

Cattle Valley: Making the Grade – Carol Lynne

Cattle Valley: Making the Grade

Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total-e-bound
Word Count: 30,923
Published: January 2011
Fictionwise: $6.13

Another installment of this fun Cattle Valley series: a former student Kenny finally has an opportunity to act on a crush he’s had for his former teacher for over ten years, Eli. The two have several obstacles to overcome including pride, very different upbringings that saddle both of them with some baggage, an age difference, and the perceived ethical dilemma of dating a former student/teacher.

As all of the other books in this series, it is a quick and fun read. The characters are well developed and you want to find out how their love story unfolds, particularly in the lovely gay-friendly town of Cattle Valley. For perhaps the first time in this series, the characters venture outside of their protected landscape and into the “real world” of Wyoming. The consequences are striking and provide an opportunity for the main characters to come together.

As in the other books in this series, the sex is spaced evenly throughout the story and is quite tame. This is a love story, more than hot rampant sex, but don’t expect the love scenes to further the character dialogue much.

Overall, this is a good read and well-liked characters. While the struggles at times feel contrived with several communication mishaps, the story is a one-sitting read and a great next installment of the series.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥
Plot: ♥♥

Read this book (and this entire series), if you’re looking for more love than hot sex, and great characters to get to know.

Truthful Change – J. Davitt and A. Snow

Truthful Change

Authors: Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 94,755
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $7.99

When a retired mercenary finds himself without anything to do but enjoy his extensive house and new gardener, nothing but trouble can follow. The gardener, who has his own hidden agenda, can’t seem to stay away from his new boss, even though he has a “boyfriend” at home.

This story is very well written and paced nicely. The book takes place in Texas, mainly at the two homes of the main characters. However, there is plenty of drama, twists/turns and hidden agendas, with surprising action at the end. Although one of the main characters is a retired mercenary, don’t expect a lot of violence throughout, it’s more of a love story and two people learning to work through betrayal, new emotions and love.

The sex at times seems a bit gratuitous, but it’s definitely hot (and very tame). For the first time for both of the main characters, sex is more than sex – and you can feel their connection – in a glance, or in the middle of a sex scene. M/M, very vanilla – unless you count a little biting!

Overall, this is a great, quick read. You’ll instantly like the characters, even if you think you should have some reservations about them (i.e., ex-mercenary). It’s a very easy read for those just looking for some heat with a bit of mystery and agent action.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥

Read this if you like… quick M/M action, two hot potentially dangerous guys falling in love.

Jesse – Jan Irving

Jesse

Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 53,683
Published: 2010
Fictionwise: $6.99

 

A rancher and the Coulter family are tied together, even if their obvious tie was severed three years ago. But the middle Coulter son, Jesse, can’t stop thinking about the rancher, Kyle. For the past three years that they were apart, before then if they’re honest, have shared a telepathic bond and literally can’t get one another out of their heads. When the Coulters finally return to Kyle and his ranch, they can’t wait any longer to be together. Standing in their way is the Coulter’s father and his abusive friends; a past-relationship which brought them together, but now haunts them; a large age gap; and a town full of judgment. But their bond will forever tie them together and will also help them save everything they love.

 

To be honest, the story’s concept took me awhile to get my brain around – the former lover happens to also be a Coulter, Jesse’s older brother. Jesse practically grew up with Kyle in a “father” type role, so the premise is a bit off the beaten path. However, once I was able to move past that, their connection and pull to each other came through. The sex is rushed and hurried when they are still trying to hide their relationship, which also leaves them in potentially uncomfortable circumstances. The expected roles are quickly turned on their head, which is always fun to read.

 

The sex is medium – there is a connection there, but it seemed like some details were brushed over. Also, there is a lot of talk about D/s scenes or situations, but not really played out in the book – almost as though it was written in for shock value.

 

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥
Sex Heat: 
Plot: ♥♥

 

Read this if you’re looking for a supernatural story, role reversal, or age gap stories. While not a super hot/sexy read, it was one that I wasn’t able to put down as you just want to know what happens.

A Matter of Time Book I – Mary Calmes

A Matter of Time – Book I


Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Club Lighthouse Publishing
Word Count: 61,666
Published: 2009
Fictionwise: $5.99

This series appears to be one of the highest rated series posted on several sites, so I decided to finally read it! This is a story about a stubborn man without much going on in his life, when he witnesses (randomly, I might add) a murder and steps into the middle of a huge police investigation. A police officer on the scene questions Jory, and finds that he isn’t able to leave him alone. Jory continues to live his life, refusing to let a dangerous killer force him into witness protection. While we see the beginning of a relationship develop between these characters in this book, the main focus is on establishing all of the people, players, and reasons why these two men can’t be together.

This story is well-written and best of all, it’s a story. There is a real plot, relatable characters, and people work! While there is heat and a little bit of sex, although honestly not much in this first book, the dynamics and inter-connectedness between all of the characters is truly the pull, and leaves you wanting more.

This is a very easy read and the plot and characters will pull you in. The sex is hot, but don’t read this expecting a lot of scenes or anything too detailed – that comes later in the series. While somewhat predictable at times, there are a few twists along the way.

Out of four…
Overall Read: ♥♥♥♥
Sex Heat: ♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥

Read this if you’re looking for a great story with some action (police and danger action that is) and are looking for a new series. The entire four book series is somewhat addicting, you’ll find that as soon as you get to know and love these characters, you won’t be able to put the books down until you find out what happens. The sex is hot when it happens, but don’t expect it in every chapter.