Saturday, November 29, 2014

Series Review: Romancelandia by Anne Tenino


Title: Too Stupid To Live and Billionaire with Benefits

Author:  Anne Tenino

Publisher/GR Link: Riptide, TSTLBillionaire

Genre: Contemporary MM, Hum0r

Vice: Romance novels, OFY, a great laugh

Rating: 5 and 4.5 out of 5...Great Reads!

Lock this book up: 4 keys out of 5, sexy is very hot and totally fits the plot

Length: Novels

Satisfaction: HEA and a HUGE smile

Cover Impressions: While I like them both, I prefer the first one.

Best Line“It isn't true love until someone gets hurt.” 

Synopsis: Book 1- Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

Book 2- It’s just a friend thing.

Before confessing his gayness to his best friend, Tierney Terrebonne’s sex life is -strictly restroom. After confessing his gayness to his best friend . . . it doesn’t improve much. Why bother trying when the man he’s loved for fourteen years (see: “best friend”) is totally unattainable? Good thing Tierney is an old hand at accepting defeat; all it takes is a bottle of bourbon. Or fifty. Repeat as needed.

Dalton Lehnart has a history of dating wealthy, damaged, closeted, lying, cheating, no-good, cowardly men, so of course he’s immediately attracted to Tierney Terrebonne. Fortunately, Tierney is so dissolute that even Dalton’s feelings for the man would be better described as pity. Which becomes sympathy as they get to know each other. Followed by compassion, concern, caring, and hopefulness as Tierney struggles to change his life. When the man comes out very publicly and enters rehab, Dalton finds himself downright attached to Tierney. And as everyone knows, after attachment comes . . .

Uh oh.

But post-rehab Tierney can’t handle more than friendship, so Dalton should be safe from repeating his own past mistakes, right? Right?

Impressions: I had read the first of Romancelandia when it first came out, and I was saving the second for a gloomy day.  Well, after recovering from minor surgery, I had found that day!  It was no hardship to re-read TSTL before BWB, and so I settled in to reread book #1.  I have always loved the Romance genre, and Tenino has such fun with these tropes and the character of Sam.  I ADORE Sam and Ian!  Their love is so adorable, and I can't get enough of them.  The secondary characters are excellent, and I really felt like I know these guys and their circle.

In Book 2, I was surprised to see Tierney's story, since he was SO unlikable in book 1- well I should not have doubts Tenino for a second!  She made Tierney so understandable, and found in Dalton such a great match, that this story was a joy to read as well.  I loved that this story didn't end when the healing began. Tackling Tierney was a challenge, and Tenino took the time needed for us to see the transformation that he needed and deserved.  I have to admit, seeing more of Sam and Ian was a HUGE bonus!

I will be looking for the next book in this series because I cannot get enough of these guys!

Highly Recommended!!

Book Review: Teach Me

Title: Teach Me

Author: Sloan Johnson

Goodreads LinkGoodreads

Genre:  MM Contemporary

Vice: May/December, homeless, Coming Out

Rating: 4 out of 5

Lock this book up : 3 out of 5 keys, sex is hot and supports the plot

Length: Novel

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: I like it.  Not totally how I pictured the MCs, but it has important elements.

Best Line: "I want you to teach me because I don't want to be that person."

SynopsisTwo words stripped Austin Pritchard of the privileged life he’s used to. The moment he uttered the words, “I’m gay,” he realized there is no such thing as unconditional love. Now, he’s gone from traveling the world with his family to living on the streets trying to figure out how he’s going to stay in school.

A chance opportunity changes everything. Austin impresses the foreman and lands a job, but even more, he catches the eye of David Becker, who is determined to teach him that true love doesn’t come with strings. 
The only thing David had as a child was love. His family struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That has driven him to stay focused on his goals; become a tenured professor at a university and save enough money to build a home of his own. It’s not until he sees an insecure college student working on his new house that he realizes that he hasn’t planned on someone to share his life with. He’s about to learn that everything he’s already accomplished is nothing compared to the task of making Austin see that he is worthy of love.

Impressions:  I really didn't know anything about Ms. Johnson's work, but the blurb I saw really interested me, and I was honored to get an ARC to review.

I'm glad I did!  I really enjoyed this story, and the love that bloomed between Austin and David.  I felt like I really knew Austin, and I loved looking at his life as a young man struggling to find a community of support for himself.  I was really intrigued by him, and I wanted to know more and more about him.

I enjoyed the romance that grew between these two men, and while I don't always like relationships where there is a big inequity in status between the two MCs, Johnson did a great job of making Austin strong enough, and David vulnerable enough, that I totally bought their love and 100% supported it.  

This was a great book to escape with and I definitely recommend it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

5 Star Series Review: Enlightenment by Joanna Chambers

Title: Provoked, Beguiled, Enlightened

Author: Joanna Chambers 

Publisher/GR Link: Samehain Press, GR series link

Genre: Historical, MM

Vice: Scottish rogues, serious lawyers, and historical yumminess

Rating: 5 Star Banned in Boston award!

Lock this book up : 3 keys.  Sex is hot, romantic, and totally suits the story.

Length: full length novels

Satisfaction: HEA, and each book left me satisfied but eager to read the rest.  Do yourself a favor and devour them all back-to-back.  Once you stop, there will be no stopping you!

Cover Impressions: I love them!  Totally float my Regency-loving boat!

Best Line:“There wasn’t a bit of innocence or purity in him. He was sinful and cynical. Unapologetic. He cared nothing for the world. He just ate its fruits and roamed its wilds and didn’t need anyone.”

SynopsisLowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies. 

Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head. 

Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more. 

In Book 1: As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows. 

In Book 2: Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the King's visit, Murdo's seduction is more powerful than David ever imagined possible. But when other figures from David's past show up, he is drawn into a chain of events beyond his control. Where his determination to help a friend will break his body, threaten his career, and put at risk the fragile tenderness he's found in Murdo's arms.

In Book 3: As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up— to stay together. And whether there’s any chance of lasting happiness for men like them.

Impressions:  These books are amazing!  I could not put them down and I found myself immersed in Murdo and David's lives.  The historical context was so well done, and very interesting in and of itself, but the connection between these two was amazing.  I loved watching them grow and learn to recognize that they had with each other.  I also loved that Chambers didn't do this completely out of the historical setting.  These guys didn't have a concept that men like them COULD love each other, and watching them struggle to grasp that this was not just about fondness and sex, but genuine feelings was a beautiful thing to see.  I really felt that they earned their HEA, and I believed in it each step of the way.

I'm glad I read them back to back, because I am not a patient lady, but each book was a set story that perfectly connected to the next.  Definitely read them in order, and don't bother buying just one.  Buy them all, download them and load them up...then get reading!

I cut my teeth in the romance genre on straight Regency novels, and sometimes there is nothing that will satisfy me like a very well done historical gay romance, and this could not fit the mold better.  I found this to be so well done, it could be read as a great historical romance with an amazing gay romance that supports, and is supported by, the plot.

This was a series that just got better with each book, and it started off pretty amazingly!  Definitely grab these and prepare to settle in on a cool fall evening and to get lost in a great world!  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Featured on Jamie Lake's Blog!

Please check out my interview at Jamie Lake's blog.  A HUGE thank you to her for inviting me to share some of my feelings on this great genre and this (relatively) new blog!

Check out the interview!

Series Review: The Boyfriend Chronicles, books 1 and 2

I am sorry for the long overdue reviews!  Back to school has been BUSY and senior essays have taken up most of my reading time.  Luckily, I had a few good moments to read, and I am eager to catch you up on some excellent new reads!


Title: The Backup Boyfriend (#1) and The Boyfriend Mandate (#2)

Author: River Jaymes

Publisher/GR Link:  Bk 1Bk 2

Genre: Contemporary

Vice: Out for you, hot mechanics

Rating: 5, 4.75

Lock this book up : 4 keys.  These books are hot, and the sex totally supports the great romances.

Length: Novels

Satisfaction: HEA

Cover Impressions: I like them!  Hot- like the men!

Best Line“Jesus had two Dads and he turned out okay.”

Book 1:
Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start. 

Dylan Booth doesn't have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex's company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec's new boyfriend. 

The ex suspects Dylan is lying. 

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane. 

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay. 

But he’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real… 

Book 2: 
Stuntman and two-time cancer survivor Memphis Haines excels at beating the odds. When he’s presented with the opportunity to help his ex-boyfriend with a charity event, he jumps at the chance to make up for the devastating way he left Tyler ten years ago. Memphis might have taken the college geek’s virginity, but the former mathelete is now a hell of a head turner. And Dr. Tyler Hall’s cool reserve is a challenge Memphis can’t resist. A self-confessed rule breaker and line crosser, he keeps turning up the heat with one goal in mind: to melt the man’s composure.

Tyler Hall sticks to one simple mandate: no more dating ex-boyfriends. Ever. He certainly isn't interested in hooking up with Memphis Haines, the ex who jumps off buildings, dodges explosions, and poses for designer underwear ads. Ten years ago, falling for Memphis changed Tyler’s life. The man’s abrupt departure turned his world inside out. But he moved on long ago. Besides, he has a clinic for the homeless to run, patients to take care of, and no time to deal with the trouble his ex brings. Memphis, however, seems determined to rehash the past. And his boxer-dropping grin, hard body, and confident charm are resurrecting ultra-hot memories best not remembered, making Tyler’s rule harder and harder to keep...

Impressions:  I read book when it first came out, and I LOVED it.  It was sexy, fun, and so gripping, I loved nothing more than getting lost in it.  Alec was a great MC, but Dylan totally captured my heart.  I loved his struggle to find himself, and I especially appreciated that Jaymes didn't make him a homophobic jerk, but rather a man who was learning more about himself.  He was so well done, and the journey of self learning he went on was so well explained that I really came to feel like I knew him.  This is a definite reread!

When book 2 came out, I was wary.  Could I really like Tyler as a romantic hero?  I wasn't crazy about him in book 1, but in book 2 he totally worked!  Memphis was also a great MC, even though I didn't know if I could forgive him for his past errors.  Again, Jaymes did not take the easy way out, and Memphis was a complex character who I really came to understand.  I like that there was no clear cut victim in the errors of the past, and I could really understand where mistakes had been made without making me resent either of the characters.