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☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Pitch by Will Parkinson ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

PitchPitch by Will Parkinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb...

The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor’s life. He’s had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.

Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.

* A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

So what did I think?

I found Pitch a wonderful story for many and varied reasons – the characters, the handling of very serious issues, the emotions, the happy ending!

Taylor and Jackson’s journey was totally engaging and I enjoyed the emotional elements. The insight into Taylor’s feelings was a sweet study of unrequited love and the details behind Jackson’s own story came as a bit of surprise. There was something about both characters that drew me in.

The drama consists of scheming and deception to prevent Taylor and Jackson getting together, impacting both boys in an emotional way but also very serious violence caused by Kevin’s retaliation against Taylor for rejecting his advances. It was so interesting to see violence portrayed in such a way and not the typical straight boy beating on the gay boy.

My only real concern was in relation to understanding how Jackson came to his conclusions about Taylor. Why did he admire him? Was it because of of his volunteering work or how he coped with all the issues around his coming out? I felt that he had never really spoken to Taylor to get to know him properly so found his comments about how he had admired him for so long a bit puzzling.

This book definitely had it’s warm and fuzzy moments and the grand gestures and public proclamations which I totally love! But I think some of the secondary characters were actually highlights.

I loved Taylor’s mum and dad and the subtle way his dad let Taylor know that he had nothing to worry about in coming out, that he would always be loved and nothing he could ever do would change that.

Benny is an absolutely wonderful best friend to Taylor. Every kid needs a best friend like Benny! “Tay, look…you know I love you in a completely nonsexual-keep-it-in-your-pants kind of way, but you really got to let this go, man. It’s going to drive you nuts, which is going to drive me nuts in return.” He has Taylor’s best interests at heart and is supportive and encouraging. Some of the best lines in the book come from Benny’s acceptance of his friend’s sexuality. He is totally comfortable with Taylor to the point of being able to easily joke but his honesty is what I admired most – his ability to say what he felt….
“God, I swear… if you were a girl, you would be so mine,” Benny said quietly.
Taylor laughed. “You could always come over the dark side, dude.”
“The think is, sometimes, if I could, I think I’d do it just so I could be with you,” came the whispered answer.

So please, Will, may we have some more of Benny’s story next?

4 Stars

To find out more about Will Parkinson and his books visit his website.

Buy Pitch from Amazon.

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Texas Family by R.J. Scott

This great series mainly follows one couple, Riley and Jack.  Click here for the review of the first three books.

  • The Heart of Texas (book #1)
  • Texas Winter (book #2)
  • Texas Heat (book #3)
  • Texas Family (book #4) – in this review

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Texas FamilyTexas Family by R.J. Scott

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes begin a journey that will change their lives forever.

Set against the backdrop of the Double D, the cast of the Texas books face changes that won’t leave a single one of them untouched.

Jack and Riley want to extend their small family of three. Their first choice is surrogacy with Jack as the father and when all this begins smoothly both men can’t help but contemplate at what point would things go wrong. After all, their lives are far from normal and nothing is ever smooth.

Add a small four year old boy in foster care into the mix and suddenly things become a whole lot more complicated.

So what did I think?

Texas Family really is about family! The story is much focused on Jack and Riley and family they are looking to build. They already have one daughter and are now looking at surrogacy and adoption.

The previous book very much had a soap opera feel with lots of drama and action and new characters. This book has a slower pace and more of a sense of domesticity. I actually liked the dose of reality as the men faced their doubts about choosing the right surrogate, their worry throughout the pregnancy and their concern about raising their children in a household such as theirs – busy lives, full careers, and yes, the two dad’s issue. There is also a special needs child who they take into their hearts.

You definitely do need to read this series in order to follow the back stories and to know who the characters are – but that’s actually a good thing because who would want to miss any of it?! I appreciated the fact that the author didn’t rehash the previous story lines to bring new readers up to speed but still allowed these stories to continue into the new book.

We were provided with a glimpse of the issues that Eden was facing with Sean, continued concerns about Beth’s health and got to see a little bit (maybe not enough?) of Eli and Robbie.

But rest assured, although we see Jack and Riley largely in the role of fathers – school visits, doctor’s appointments, family functions – they are still hugely passionate with each other – the barn especially plays a key role both in Jack’s fantasy and in one particular encounter!

This is one of those stories where reading is really like spending time with old friends which makes for warm and fuzzy reading.

One final comment…on a side note, and totally unrelated to my enjoyment of the story itself is the cover. I LOVE the pics of Jack and Riley and have always thought these men were so appealing on the covers of all the book in the series. They don’t disappoint on this cover either (totally gorgeous) but I wasn’t overly excited by the kids. I found they had a slightly old-fashioned feel but more than that, thought they maybe gave away the plot just a little too much – it wasn’t hard to guess how things would turn out.

Many thanks to the author who provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about. R.J. Scott and her books, visit her website.

Buy the Texas series from Amazon.

Check out my blog for other reviews of books and series by R.J. Scott as I can highly recommend them all!

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~~ Northern Star by Ethan Day ~~

Northern StarNorthern Star by Ethan Day

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.

Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.

That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.

So what did I think?

Northern Star was a wonderful way to spend a couple hours and it was a pleasure to get to know Steve and Deacon.

Their first meeting at a hotel bar sets the tone for the whole book as they enjoy a nice easy and teasing banter. It was so much fun to follow the conversation back and forth….

Deacon faced Steve, propping up his elbow on the bar for support. “Say, you can’t be too much of a dick, you at least asked how I’m doing, right?”
“Well, you did mention doing me before. I became infinitely more invested at that point.”

followed shortly by….

“No, I apparently suffer from low self-esteem and have an unfortunate attraction to loose-moraled men with little to no character.”
“Sweet, so my chances of getting lucky just skyrocketed.”

But what makes this book special is how special Deacon and Steve really are for each other. Even from their first meeting Deacon recognises that Steve has shown him more kindness than his own mother and the boyfriend who had left him. Patty, Deacon’s mother, is just awful and such a contrast to the sweet and caring Steve who is an all-round good guy in all he says and does.

Steve has faced his own challenges, coming out and leaving his wife after initially denying his own sexuality. The author did a fabulous of job of conveying the impact of Steve’s decision to leave his wife and step-daughter (which he did well before meeting Deacon). It wasn’t easy and things aren’t perfect but he has maintained a friendship of sorts with his ex-wife. Her inclusion in the book allows us to see another side of Steve.

The secondary characters complement the story so well. Jimmy is totally amusing as Steve’s best friend and Deacon’s sister Ashley is nice and cute and a crack up…totally loved her response when Deacon states that he will not be helping her with BJ advice. “Well, that’s just stupid. What’s the point of having a gay older brother then?”

This book blended the emotional journey with regular smatterings of amusing moments right the way through to the warm and happy ending.

A very enjoyable 4.5 stars.

Thank you to the publisher of this book who provided a copy in return for an honest review.

To find out more about Ethan Day and his books visit his website.

Buy Northern Star from Amazon.

Buy Northern Star from Wilde City Press.

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Cultivating Love by Addison Albright

Make sure you check out the Book Trailer at the end of the review!

Cultivating LoveCultivating Love by Addison Albright

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.

It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would ever dream of acknowledging he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed makes an effort to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Will Joe be able to adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?

So what did I think?

This book had something just a little bit special with it look at the relationship between Joe and Ed. Joe and Ed have been together for a long time but it is change in their circumstances that brings about changes in their relationship.

An inheritance means that Ed can now provide a different kind of life for himself and Joe. They are both hardworking and honest men and they love each other. They have just been restrained in the way they show each other.

As they start their new life, Ed’s gesture of sharing confirms his love and respect for Joe and kick starts some broader changes as both men start acknowledging the emotional side of their relationship. This includes being able to verbally acknowledge their love and changes in their physical relationship that accompany their changing attitudes.

The secondary character of Joe’ sister Jenny injected a burst of fun and youth with her easy going and accepting attitude and the town’s folk were wonderful (well most of them anyway!)

The guys face gaining acceptance in their new town and dealing with some pretty serious actions against them, in a well told story that is engaging and easy to read.

3.5 stars

To find out more about Addison Albright and her books visit her website.

Buy Cultivating Love from Amazon.

Buy Cultivating Love from Loose ID.

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☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Tag Team by S.J.D. Peterson

The Guards of Folsom series

Tag Team (Guards of Folsom, #2)Tag Team by S.J.D. Peterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.

Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face fear and loss head on before they can all truly live again.

So what did I think?

This book was unexpected in many ways – such a powerful portrayal of grief and the effect loss has on someone not prepared to go out into the world.

From the very beginning the grief is palpable as Mason faces the trauma of losing both his Doms in one horrifying accident. Alone and suffering, Mason finally decides he can’t face the future until fate intervenes.

Mason appeared much younger than his thirties, perhaps due to the circumstances of his anxiety disorder, and he is certainly in need of care. Bobby and Rig stumble on Mason while they are on holidays and are immediately drawn to him with a strong desire to protect the fragile man.
“What were the chances these men would show up in his life when they did? What were the chances that he’d respond to them the way he had? What were the chances that he’d feel calm and safe within the presence of these men, when his entire life he’d been so afraid of strangers?”

The building of the relationship was handled beautifully with a couple of key strengths that provided a sense of realism and permanence to the bond between the three men. Firstly, the sexual elements were not rushed and secondly even Mason himself questions the reason he can move on seemingly so quickly “Was he grasping on to something that wasn’t real? Hoping to replace the irreplaceable?” There is a sense of trust and deep caring that gradually becomes more…“A connection born out of pain and loss was solidified while standing under the spray of the cascading shower, or maybe he just hadn’t realized that it had been growing stronger and more complete each day they spent together and only now comprehended the significance of their relationship.”

This book treats the Mason’s mental and emotional problems with seriousness, both Bobby and Rig insisting that Mason needs both adequate supervision (to ensure he doesn’t do anything silly) and also proper professional assistance. This is not a quick fix situation but a long term plan to ensure his full health, addressing the grief but just as importantly finally addressing the long term anxiety suffered by Mason.

The Doms were both gorgeous, fussing over Mason and being so loving. Both Bobby and Rig are just big softies at heart! I loved the way Bobby was described as being “the nurturing type, the one who cooked, fussed over dusty baseboards, and the one to tend a red ass or put salve on a flogged back.”

This is not so much a book about dominance and submission but more a story of overcoming grief and learning to love again.

It was also very special to read the author’s note. My heart broke a little as SJD (Jo) Peterson shared a little of her life with us. I do hope her experience and words of advise are able to help anyone who is suffering such loss and heartbreak.

4 Stars

To find out more about S.J.D. Peterson and her books visit her website.

Buy Tag Team from Amazon

Buy Tag Team from Dreamspinner Press.

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★★★★★ Double Full by Kindle Alexander ★★★★★

A little update from 13th Jan 2014….there is now a Book Trailer so I just had to add it. Make sure you check it out!

 

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Double Full (A Nice Guy Novel #1)Double Full by Kindle Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Up and coming football hero, Colton Michaels, makes a Hail Mary pass one night in the college locker room that results in the hottest, sexiest five days of his young life. However, interference after the play has him hiding his past and burying his future in the bottom of a bottle. While Colt seems to have it all, looks can be deceiving, especially when you’re trapped so far in a closet that you can’t see your way out. When ten years of living his expected fast-lane lifestyle lands him engaged to his manipulative Russian supermodel girlfriend, he decides it’s time to call a new play.

Jace Montgomery single-handily built the largest all-star cheerleading gym in the world, driven by a need to forget a life-altering encounter with a handsome quarterback a decade ago. His reputation as an excellent coach, hard-nosed business man, and savvy entrepreneur earned him respect in the sometimes catty world of competitive cheerleading. When Jace learns of his ex-lover’s plans to marry, his heart executes a barrel roll and his carefully-placed resolve tumbles down without a mat to absorb the shock. Can his island escape help him to finally let go of the past and move his life forward?

So what did I think?

Desperate times call for desperate measures and I was desperate!

I had been eagerly waiting for this book, diarised the release date and everything. So when Amazon delayed the release I had to resort to reading a PDF version bought from ARe. I hate PDF on the Kindle – thank goodness for the iPAD!

But boy was it worth it! My comment after the prologue…..“Oh my, I’ve only read the couple of pages of the prologue and wow!”

I always knew I was going to love this book because I have really enjoyed everything I have read by Kindle Alexander and I wasn’t disappointed.

I loved the story of Colton, the fully in-the-closet football player and Jace, the gifted cheerleader. They have admired and lusted for one another from afar and finally come together for one hot and sizzling encounter that becomes a week together. But theirs is true love. Torn apart by tragic circumstance, they are never able to forget each other.

There is a wonderful blend of romance (Colt is surprisingly romantic and free with his emotions when he first opens up to Jace) and heartache. Colt has success in his sporting career but his personal life is tragic and Jace has not been able to move on despite achieving phenomenal success with his cheerleading business.

The story has heartbreak, drama, mystery and passion!

I was really pulled into the story so read it in one sitting (yes, it was a very late night, or should I say early morning!) but I just had to find out what happened at the end. The good news is that there is a happy ending. The bad news is there are still unresolved issues – or maybe that’s good news because it means we get another book. And maybe we will see more of Mitch’s story in Full Disclosure?

To find out more about Kindle Alexander and her books visit her website.

Buy Double Full from Amazon.

☞ 149 M/M Romance Book Trailers and counting…..

I’ve discovered that I really enjoy watching m/m romance book trailers – not as much as reading the books of course 🙂 – but I get a kick out of seeing another side to the book, apart from the blurb.

It’s so interesting to see the elements the author has selected to include in the trailer.

  • The portraits and photos which show how the author has envisaged the main characters (I’m assuming the author approved them even if they didn’t find the pics themselves)
  • The chosen text and commentary to entice the reader
  • but most importantly, the music which really sets the mood!

I’ve managed to collect 149 m/m romance book trailers which I have collated into a You Tube Playlist. I hope you find some time to check them out and if you do find any that I haven’t yet included then please let me know so that I can add to my collection!

I have included the link to the full playlist but also selected a couple of individuals to highlight separately. I hope you enjoy my selection and most importantly, get tempted to buy and read the books! 🙂

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Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan – short, simple, gorgeous video of a cowboy on his horse

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Notturno by ZA Maxfield – beautiful, professional looking trailer

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Tri Omega Mates by Stormy Glenn – some pics of gorgeous naked men plus I like the music!

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The Value of Rain by Brandon Shire – evocative blend of music and the sound of rain

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Connor’s Courage by SJD Peterson – gorgeous black & white

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Heart’s Truth by Tamsin Baker

Heart's TruthHeart’s Truth by Tamsin Baker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Marcus is a 30-year-old successful architect. He wants someone to love and knows the right man will turn up when he least expects it. That moment arrives at his friend’s party. He sees Danny for only a moment, yet his interest is piqued. What could be more irresistible than a blue-eyed beauty who is completely untouched?

Danny knows he doesn’t find women attractive, but how is he going to find out if he’s gay? His sister’s party answers his prayers and the most gorgeous guy he has ever seen asks him out. But can their love survive when Marcus wants more than a closeted partner and Danny wants nothing more than to hide forever?

So what did I think?

This was a nice short story which reminded me of my (slightly rebellious) teenage years with references to Winnie Blues and schoolies!

Danny is young and slightly confused about his sexuality “Was he? Or wasn’t he?” but seeing Marcus as his sister’s party starts to help clarify things for him. “But if he was honest, he knew his confusion wasn’t the cause of his uneasiness. Yes, he was terrified of following a path that was completely new and uncertain. But at this very moment what really worried Danny was that if Marcus left, he would never see him again.”

It is really lovely to see how Danny and Marcus respond to each other with Marcus gently easing Danny into their relationship. Plus there is beautiful tenderness shown by Danny when Marcus gives himself to Danny…“We can learn together.”

This is a sweet romance about Danny’s coming out with a happy, smiling ending.

Plus I got the book for only $0.99 so no complaints there!

3 Stars

To find out more about Tamsin Baker’s books visit her Goodreads Author Profile.

Buy  Heart’s Truth from Amazon.

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★★★★ Four Corners by Kate McMurray ★★★★

Four CornersFour Corners by Kate McMurray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Since childhood, Jake, Adam, Kyle, and Brendan have been teammates, best friends, brothers. Then one day, when they were twenty-five, Adam disappeared without a word, devastating his friends-none more so than Jake, who had secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers.

Now, five years later, Adam is back, and he has his mind set on Jake. But those years of anger, hurt, and confusion are a lot to overcome, and Jake doesn’t find it easy to forgive. He isn’t sure they’ll ever fit together the way they did. Jake, Kyle, and Brendan have moved on with their lives, but Adam’s high-profile career keeps him in the closet-the same place he’s been for years. Still, his apologies seem sincere, and the attraction is still there. Jake desperately wants to give him a chance. But first he has to find out why Adam left and if he’s really back for good.

So what did I think?

This is a really interesting look at the relationship between two men, Adam and Jake as they deal with the emotions of meeting again, five years after Adam left without a word.

I enjoyed the exploration of Adam’s acceptance of his own sexuality and the response Jake had to his friend’s perspective. “It was okay for me to be gay but not for him. I wondered how his own self-loathing affected what he thought about me. I’d worried for a long time that any judgments he held about himself applied to gay people generally or me specifically, that he couldn’t muster up the pride to just say out loud that he was gay, that he condemned me for coming out. I guessed I had my answer.”

I think my favourite part of the book was Jake’s realisation of the difference between he and Adam. ” I finally got what he’d being trying to tell me since Wednesday night. I was capital-G Gay: I was out to everyone, I lived in Boystown, I had rainbow tags on my luggage. He was lowercase-G gay: he was attracted to men, but that’s where it ended as far as he was concerned. I was more flabbergasted than angry then, surprised I hadn’t put that together sooner, and also feeling a little hurt.”

What I didn’t enjoy was the whole on again off again thing, it mainly coloured my opinion of Adam and therefore I found it hard to warm to him initially. The whole book actually had a strange unease about it. When Adam and Jake get together it doesn’t even feel like happiness and joy. But what it does have is a sense of realism – real life has conflict and emotion and it isn’t always plain sailing.

Bonus points for the fabulous ending and sweet epilogue!

4 Stars

To find out more about Kate McMurray and her books visit the website.

Buy Four Corners from Amazon.

Buy Four Corners from Dreamspinner Press.