Monthly Archives: April 2015

Lost Along the Way by Marie Sexton

Dreampsinner Presents


Three months after losing his parents in a car crash, Denver weatherman Daniel Whitaker returns to Laramie, Wyoming. It’s bad enough dealing with the death of his parents and his failing relationship of fifteen years, but when he finds his childhood home full of clutter, Daniel is at a loss. He enlists Landon, his parents’ sexy neighbor, to help him sort through the mess. Landon Kushner is a study in contradictions. He builds wind sculptures out of scrap metal and loves the outdoors, but he also rides a mint-green Vespa and has an affinity for knitting and fortune-telling. He’s been friends with Daniel’s parents for years, and he’s more than willing to lend a hand.

Their plan is simple: clean the house so Daniel can sell it and get back to his life in Denver. But when a strange cookbook comes into Landon’s possession, Daniel begins to realize that the universe – and Granny B – may have other plans.


This is not what I had been expecting! You should know that ¾ of this book sees Daniel in another relationship (with Chase) and slowly moving out of said relationship. Landon is there throughout and is slowly falling for Daniel and vice versa, but most of the story is Daniel’s relationship with his family and his lover of 15 years.

I really like Marie Sexton and her writing style so this was an easy read for me. Having grown up in Colorado and living in Ft Collins for years it was like a reunion for me. However, what I really liked was that she is able to take what could have been a crippling realization – Chase doesn’t love me anymore and I gave up my family for him – and turned it into a growth opportunity and so much more.
I loved Landon’s character and wish we had seen more of the couple as a couple – but it was still a very satisfying love story.

5 of 5 hearts



Bolt Hole Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo

Dreamspinner Presents:


Terrell Washington’s childhood was a trifecta of suck: being black, gay, and poor in America has no upside. Terrell climbed his way out of the hood only to hit a glass ceiling and stop, frozen, a chain restaurant bartender with a journalism degree. His one bright spot is Colby Meyers, a coworker who has no fear, no inhibitions, and sees no boundaries. Terrell and Colby spend their summers at the river and their breaks on the back dock of Papiano’s. As terrified as Terrell is of coming out, he’s helpless to stay away from Colby’s magnetic smile and contagious laughter.

But Colby is out of college now, and he has grand plans for the future—plans Terrell is sure will leave his scrawny black ass in the Sacramento dust until a breathless moment stolen from the chaos of the restaurant tells Terrell he might be wrong. When the moment is shattered by a mystery and an act of violence, Terrell and Colby are left with two puzzles: who killed their scumbag manager, and how to fit their own lives—the black and the white of them—into a single shining tomorrow.

(From Previous Site)

Terrell is a journalist who can’t get a job in his chosen profession because of his race. He works at a restaurant as a bar tender, he’s angry, he’s lonely and he can’t see anything but bleakness for the future of a gay man from the ‘hood who can’t possibly be “out”.

Then one day a sociology major named Colby starts working at Terrell’s restaurant and now, suddenly, there seems to be hope on the horizon. Colby is everything Terrell isn’t, he’s out, he’s white, he’s optimistic, he is a bright and shiny star.

Turns out that Terrell is everything Colby ever wanted in a man and Colby wages a slow but steady courtship of Terrell over the course of a year, gradually reeling in his prize.

In the meantime there is some drama at the restaurant that puts Terrell, Colby and their friends in danger, and it takes several acts of heroism for Terrell to see that Colby is worth breaking out of the closet for.

Amy Lane – queen of Angst – packs a punch with this one. It is not her most “angsty” story but – wow! – does it have its fair share. There is something so rewarding in watching Terrell slowly unfold, like a flower facing the sun under the bright light that is Colby. Colby has had it easy, but he takes nothing for granted. It could only be someone so essentially good that could show Terrell’s there is more to life than pain and suffering and show him the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Their love is intense, and their sex scenes are absolutely scorching. The side “mystery” is well woven into the love story and helps to shape the characters without detracting from their romance.

I loved Moira and though Percy is kinda an a-hole, he has his moments, too. I also thought that though Gi-Gi is not a person anyone would really want to emulate, Terrell was able to see that she did, perhaps, save his life, even though we abhor her methods.

In the audio version Nick J Russo (who also did Racing the Sun) does an amazing job with Terrell’s voice and really excels at the kid-from-the-wrong-side of the track narrations. I really like his narration style and enjoy the quality and tone of his voice.

I highly recommend both the book and the audio version and give both a 5 out of 5 hearts.



Yes by Brad Boney

Dreamspinner Presents


What if youth wasn’t wasted on the young?

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Ian Parker is looking for a reboot. He may be the proud owner of a trendy coffee shop in Austin called La Tazza Magica, but his love life has been MIA for years. During a trip to Denver with his best friend, Mark, Ian buys an enchanted chocolate from a mysterious candy store—then wakes up from a nap two decades younger. After the initial shock, Ian realizes a quirk of the universe has given him a second chance and, with Mark’s help, he devises a plan to start over.

With a new lease on life, Ian sets his sights on handsome architect Bartley James, a regular customer at La Tazza. He pursues Bartley as Ian’s twenty-one-year-old alter ego, Ryan, with decidedly unexpected results. Joining Ryan on his adventures are Matthew, the dreamy new barista, Jeremy, the geeky high-school math teacher, and Sam, the pizza delivery boy. Even as misunderstandings and expectations collide, Ian remains determined to right his past mistakes and find his off-ramp to happiness.


I would strongly recommend that you read these books in order to fully appreciate the nuances. Brad does an amazing job of creating this “alternate” world with the Walsh brothers and laying out that time is very non-linear and to ignore all that history is silly.

Sure, technically this is a stand alone – but why? Just read the others – they’re great!

In this story we see – again – people making small decisions that have huge implications which can affect their lives (and other’s lives) and lots and lots of trivia.

I think that you are either a fan of the trivia – in this case old porn – or not – and the rapid-fire game-playing will either charm or repel you.

I find Brad Boney’s writing to be fascinating and I love his alternate world-view and though I wish he’d had a different game plan – one where our MCs spend some actual time together – I always enjoy the time I spend on his books.

This was not my favorite in the series – but still an excellent book.

4 of 5 hearts



Food For Thought by Amy Lane

From Dreamspinner:FoodForThought

Emmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.

Emmett needs clarity.

Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.

Marieke’s thoughts:

Emmett is dating a girl, a sweet, good looking girl that wants a serious relationship, just like Emmett does. She has the perfect family, and Emmett wants it all. Family is everything to Emmett, as he doesn’t have one of his own. He’s always been alone with his dad, who loved him but didn’t know how to communicate it. His best friend Vinnie–– who’s family lived next door to him when he was a kid–– is his substitute family. Vinnie’s mom is the only mom he’s ever had, and she sees him as one of her own kids. That’s why she gives him a mysterious cookbook after one of their family gatherings.

That day Vinnie and his mom both try to talk to Emmett about his girlfriend, and about how he never seems to look like a man in love. They hint about knowing he might have feelings for men, and it scares the hell out of Emmett. If he’s gay, he’ll never have the big family he craves.

Keegan is his neighbor, and a good friend. They hang out all the time, and Emmett can’t seem to put his girlfriend before Keegan, who’s openly gay. With a little help of the magical cookbook, Emmett finds clarity, but so does Keegan.

I have to say, this was the first time I read an Amy Lane book that didn’t blow me away. The plot idea was good, but the way it was worked out, wasn’t. It all felt very stilted and too unnatural. It just didn’t flow. Emmett wasn’t as likeable as I like my main characters. Keegan is great, but his role is too predictable.

Vinnie’s family is awesome but they too have only a small role in the story. They probably have a huge role in Emmett’s life though, so I kind of missed that part. And in the end it all happened just a little bit too easy and too fast. It could’ve been amazing, but now it was just so-so. I was very disappointed as I am an Amy fan, but I can’t give it more than three stars. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not great either. For a light read before bed it’s perfect, but not exciting.

Rating: 3


Morgan’s Thoughts

As usual Amy made me tear up when I read about the death of Emmett’s dad… God – this was supposed to be a light sweet book! Damn you Amy (shaking fist!).

But… of course that helps us to buy into Emmett’s lies and betrayals.

I loved the cooking part and the paranormal aspect to the receiving of said book… In general I’m digging this series as a whole.

Another win for the Queen of Angst!


Threefold Love by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Presents


Captain Xavier Hobbs, a decommissioned combat engineer, was chronically lonely in the Army. But once he is back to being a civilian, with no family and nothing to ground him, he drifts. All he wants is a real home, a real life, and love—but that is easy to wish for and hard to make happen.

When he meets Andrew Landry, a high school English teacher, Xavier thinks he has found everything he has ever wanted, maybe even someone he can trust with his scars—the ones on his mind and body. Andrew’s quick wit and outgoing personality reel Xavier in slowly but surely. But he isn’t certain which way Andrew swings, and doesn’t dare to do more than hope the friendly man is actually flirting.

Then, on what Xavier idly wishes were their first date, disaster strikes in the form of Duncan McNeil, a fellow Wiccan and Andrew’s fiancé. Xavier’s hope is smashed to pieces, but Duncan and Andrew may have a different point of view. All they need is a little magic, some hope, and a lot of love to put everything back together.


My first impression is that I wish this had been released in the fall. With the storyline and the wiccan stuff – it felt like a fall novel. But – that didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much, and I did enjoy this very much.

I really enjoyed the characters. Each man in this triad is unique with their own special contributions to be made that together forms a more perfect union. That is always the hard part for any ménage/romance – to convince the reader that the three is better than the couple. In this case Duncan and Andrew are 15 years into their relationship and are not showing any real sign of trouble but when Xavier shows up, Andrew’s longing for a slightly different love-making experience is the initial crack that allows them to explore the idea of a third.

Duncan is solid, dependable, easy going and … surprisingly sexy in the bedroom! There is more to him than meets the eye and when we start to see the dynamics of the triad it is clear that Duncan is far more of the leader than anyone else and it’s his strength that holds the three together.

I enjoyed the wiccan information/storyline. I think it was perhaps important to show how they could open their relationship and still be consistent with who they are as a people.

All in all I really enjoyed this (new to me) author and this triad love story.

4 of 5 hearts



Outcome (Aftermath #2) by Cara Dee

Cara Dee Presents:


Three years ago, Chase Gallardo ran toward freedom with his fellow survivors after having spent five months in captivity. He hasn’t stopped running since. Only now, it’s the memories he’s constantly trying to escape. Haunting echoes of a man who forced Chase to play the part of another, the kidnapper’s younger brother. Chase may have survived, but that doesn’t mean he’s really living. Until one day, when his employee tells him there’s a man sitting at the bar, wearing only underwear.
Remy Stahl has given up—almost. For a year, alcohol, drugs, and faces without names have kept him company. But he has two friends who refuse to give up on him, and they lock him up in his house in an attempt to save him from himself. But never underestimate an addict’s desire to see the bottom of another bottle. Remy escapes, and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass that he’s nearly naked.

This is the sequel to Aftermath, where Cam and Austin met, struggled, and fell in love. Outcome takes us back to Bakersfield with Chase and Remy’s story. Fueled by anger, guilt, and shame, they’re not off to an easy start. But it’s only a matter of time before they learn how much they need each other in order to move on.


(From previous site)

If you remember Aftermath – which you MUST read before you read this – you’ll recall that Chase was one of the captives held by Remy Stahl’s brother.  In fact, Remy was the “name” Chase was given and his role to play in the demented farce he was forced to play in the basement.  At the end of Aftermath, Chase is contacted by Remy in an attempt for Remy to express his immense regret that Chase suffered at his brother’s hands.

In this, the sequel, we pick up where Aftermath left off, Chase is a year out of captivity and he is feeling more secure in his life.  He has refused Remy’s apologies thus far and doesn’t think he will ever be ready to face him.

Remy, on the other hand, is checking out.  He is in a drug driven downward spiral that is only halted when his friend pulls him in and puts him in a forced “detox” situation.

Running from this detox, Remy runs into Chase by accident.  This spurs Chase into re-evaluating his feelings and the two enter into a somewhat strange, but infinitely mutually helpful relationship with each other.

They have many ghosts to vanquish and we see some very interesting new developments in the kidnapping case which may serve to split them apart.


I absolutely loved Aftermath and was so pleased to see the sequel.  This is a lot easier to read than Aftermath – mostly because we’ve already seen most of the horrors the men had to survive.  Instead, this was a delightful, healing sequel that showed us more of Cam and Austin and allowed us to see Chase and Remy come to peace with their pasts (more than just the past that they shared with Remy’s brother.)

Their love story is sweet and sexy and you will want to read this all in one seating, it’s so engaging.

I highly recommend this and give it 5 of 5 hearts.



Slaying Isidore’s Dragons by Cody Kennedy


From Harmony Ink:

Admittedly, after counting down the months, then weeks, days and hours until this book came up for review, I almost convinced myself that perhaps… just perhaps, Cody Kennedy would have at least one flaw, and that maybe this book would not be what Omorphi was to me. I laugh as I write this review, because I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that he wouldn’t hit it out of the park! I simply just sit here in the dark of my bedroom, AMPED to write this review. I must begin, as one does, at the beginning. The moment I laid eyes on the cover, I was sold by Reese Dante’s intense vision of the novel. Isidore’s beautiful soul, his tragic pose, calls as hauntingly as Christy’s eyes do from the cover of Omorphi. The prologue grips you from the few pages it takes up… and explosively, the novel takes flight.
Declan and Isidore, tied to one another by common misfortune, find new life as they begin to share a life. Declan has always been strong, but wary of people due to being a “dip kid,” as he terms being the child of a diplomat. He is quick to speak his thoughts, quick to defend those he loves—his friends, his mother, and his boyfriend—and yet, he does not commit to violence unless pushed to great lengths. Isidore grows so much during the novel that it’s hard to picture him at the beginning, wishing only for the day to be over, so that the pain can stop. When Declan moves to take him in, to protect him, and when Sorcha—my gods, she’s a beautiful character and truly, goddesshood would behoove her!—when Sorcha meets him and decides the de Quirkes are not ever going to let him go, I lost my heart. To watch him bloom as Isidore begins to know a completely different life, one where he is loved and valued, where he is a part of a family that loves and cherishes one another; watching Isidore, tiny Isidore, start to shine so brightly, I swear that my eyes teared up almost every single time he laughed.
Master Kennedy, having advertised Slaying Isidore’s Dragons as a young adult Jason Bourne novel, spoke truth. It had everything I wanted from the advert: suspense, romance, action, truth, cliffhanger chapters… the works! As was expected, Kennedy crafted a balance that never tipped once in these wonderful pages, and he knew exactly where to place breathing moments. And, you know, I have to say that even knowing as I went into this book that it would end in a beginning, one where, as a beloved Doctor from Gallifrey once put it, “everybody lives!” I love the spin that Kennedy puts on things. I love how his masterful storytelling sucks you straight the characters’ world and you forget that he’s going to give you that HEA at the end. You get so lost in Declan and Isidore’s lives that you worry if Isidore’s going to be okay or if his evil dragons are going to get a win, and that though Declan fights valiantly, he will be vanquished!
Then, of course, you remember that like life, Cody Kennedy finds a way. He will bring you back to the beginning at the end, and he will remind you that though life has dark moments (that sometimes, feel like dark lifetimes), the sun will shine through, that all you have to do is fight. Hope is real, and everyone has a chance to be victorious, to slay their dragons… if you just believe, if you hold to hope, if you act.
I always include a “what I liked and didn’t like” paragraph in my reviews, and being mindful not to tell too much, I must include one here. First, there wasn’t a single word I didn’t like. Not one. That being said, on to what I did like. I loved the allusions to David and Jonathan from the Books of Samuel in The Bible. I loved the mentions of Alexander the Great and Hephaistion. I simply loved the conversation Isidore has with first Declan and then Sorcha about how to write his paper on Hephaistion without lying. I loved the intensity of the chemistry between Isidore and Declan, and I love the way that it culminated in beautiful displays of both affection and lovemaking. I loved the relationship between Declan and Sorcha. I love the description of Declan’s coming out to his parents. I loved Mike and Bobby. Heck, I even loved Professor Lowe.
Naturally, I’m going to have favorite parts. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book is Isidore defending Declan in the school cafeteria. I loved watching Declan challenge Isidore’s four half-brothers, willing to take all of them on at one time, holding Isidore behind his back in a daring, “just try to take him from me; I dare you!” move. I loved the tender moment where Declan breaks down in Isidore’s arms. I loved the gift that Declan makes for Isidore. I loved Isidore meeting Mike, and I loved Isidore protecting Caleb. And there are so many, many, many more moments that I loved.
But… now it’s over. I’ve reached the hated last page and the moment where I just don’t know what to do with myself. I guess it’s a good thing that I bought a hard copy, then. I will just pick that baby up and start an immediate re-read. After all… this is a Cody Kennedy book. Cody Kennedy books are meant to be read over and over again. Just like Nico and Caleb, and Christy and Michael before them, Declan and Isidore bring a message of hope, a message of it gets better… and really, don’t we all need a reminder every now and again that we are strong enough to weather the storm?
All I can say, in conclusion, is THANKEE, MASTER CODY!!!!! This book was well worth the wait and it was a total honor to review! Also… when is Tharros going to be released?


Buy from: Amazon

More than Chemistry Audiobook by Kate Sherwood narrated by Derrick McClain

Dreamspinner presents

more than chemistryBlurb

Jack Lawson grew up poor and can’t forget it. He’s a huge success in the business world, but it won’t be enough until the image of “poor little Jack” is completely wiped away. When Jack runs into his old friend, Noah Mercier, he decides that Noah’s sister, an up-and-coming movie star, would be the perfect evidence of glamorous success. If Jack can win Hayley, it will be clear to everyone, including himself, that he has truly arrived.
The problem with Jack’s grand plan is that he’s more attracted to Noah. Jack’s never worried about the gender of his conquests, but Noah just isn’t flashy enough for Jack’s scheme to set the world on fire… unless Jack realizes he has practically no control over deciding who he wants – and even less choice in who he needs.


Jack is a millionaire running a chemical company when he meets Noah, an acquaintance from the past. At first, Jack (comfortably bi-sexual) is attracted to Noah and figures he’d like a quick affair with the man, but after speaking to him he learns that Noah has a famous sister and it’s her coat-tails he’d like to ride. A final bit of proof that he’s made it and is not the poor loser he was in high school.

Noah and Jack end up spending a lot of time together working on an ad campaign for Jack’s company. During this time both men seem to be falling in love but Jack can’t shake off his plan of wowing the public with a famous girlfriend, so he doesn’t act on his feelings.

Luckily, once he does manage to take out the famous sister, he’s come to the conclusion that Noah means more than glory and he sets about winning Noah’s heart instead.


This was a very short, cute love story along the lines of Cyrano. Noah is in the awkward position of setting up Jack with his sister but coveting him for himself.

Since it was a short story things moved ridiculously quickly but it was still a great story with a lovely HEA.


Derrick McClain is new to me as far as narration goes, but he did a very nice job with the story. He infused emotion and differentiated voices and even managed a passable female voice when needed.

I enjoyed both the story and the narration and give it 4 of 5 hearts.



Saugatuck Summer by Amelia C Gormley

Riptide Publishing Presents


Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.


(From previous site)

This book exemplifies for me the reason why m/m is such a powerful subgenre.  Amelia has written two very flawed MCs and yet their love story is both powerful and sweet.  She touches on some very timely subjects: the nature of what qualifies as abuse, the boundaries and taboos of sexual desire, racial equality, societal “norms”… But she is neither preachy nor overbearing.

There are times you hurt as you turn the page, watching Topher place himself in bad situation after bad situation, but the pay out is so worth it.  You can see growth, love, and understanding.  No – it’s not all peaches and cream, but when is life, ever?

Another beautiful thing Amelia has done is to give us two MCs who BOTH have flaws, and yes, it is a Rescue Me story, but in the end both characters are “rescued”, and neither is helpless.

I found her exploration of Topher’s sexuality particularly well done.  You would expect that an out and proud man would “know” himself pretty well, but as she shows us, that isn’t always the case and we internalize so much from our environment without really asking ourselves if this is ME or THEM.  Very well done.

Amelia is a fantastic writer whose characters drive this story through aching pain and delicious happiness.  She has great editing and a smooth, writing style that is evocative and decadent without crossing over into purple prose.

It felt real, and believable, and still so sweet.  Some of this is the first person usage, which I really like.  It felt intimate and I like that – especially in an angsty book.  Though I would have loved more from Jace’s POV or even Brendan’s you definitely know what they are thinking and it doesn’t detract from the story.

This is the first in a series and the first I have read of this author.  I look forward to more.

An excellent book, I highly recommend.

5 of 5 hearts




Spring Break at Villa Hermes (Brandt and Donelly book 4)by Xavier Mayne

Dreamspinner Presents

Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly celebrate the one-year anniversary of their engagement by flying south for a week of calm relaxation at the Villa Hermes, a gay boutique hotel on the beach. But when the rest of the guests turn out to be college guys on spring break (unwittingly booked into a gay hotel by a passive-aggressive travel agent), their week turns out to be anything but calm.

Ted, one of the spring breakers, has harbored a crush on his roommate and best friend, Bark, since they met freshman year. Now, on their fourth and final spring break, Ted knows they must soon say good-bye. A lacrosse star and ladies’ man, Bark has no idea Ted has fallen for him—until a storm forces the entire group underground for twenty-four hours of stress and truth-telling. Bark doesn’t want to say good-bye to Ted at graduation either. He just didn’t know how to put his feelings into words or if he could face the consequences of speaking them. Brandt and Donnelly help the college guys through their crisis by showing them what love between best friends can grow into.


Ted and Bark are friends and roommates in their last year at the university. This is to the their last “hoorah” and Ted plans to say good-bye to the man who’s been his unrequited love interest for the last four years. But when a manipulative travel agency books Ted and his friends at the same gay resort as Brandt and Donelly a lot of things happen that change that plan.

This is an absolutely hysterical and lovely story. Ted’s friends are full of charismatic stories that get told one night as they all huddle against a storm.  Each striving to be their own man and to deal with their own sexuality in ways that none of the others ever guessed.

Xavier Mayne has given us more wonderful secondary characters with just as much flavor as Bryce and Nestor.  I also love that Xavier is not shy about letting the secondary characters sometimes steal some of the limelight.  In this case Ted and Bark’s story, though lovely and really sweet, has moments where it is eclipsed by the tale of the underwear model and the bear and a blossoming bi-sexual hippy.

I love that we continue to be awed by the love between Brandt and Donelly again – there are still layers to explore in their relationship- and it is always fun to check in on them as they get closer to marriage.

I have really enjoyed this series tremendously and I think that this comes in second as my favorite of the bunch.

I whole-heartedly recommend it and give it 5 of 5 hearts.