Daily Archives: May 16, 2015

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Riptide Publishing Presents http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/christmas-kitsch

ChristmasKitsch_500x750Blurb

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.
Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.
But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review

Rusty is a good kid. He’s popular. Plays sports. Has girlfriends. Does what his parents tell him to. He’s not the “quickest” but he’s not stupid either.
Oliver is the “new brown kid”. He’s small. Snarky. Gay. And in need of a friend. Despite Rusty’s peer group’s objections, Rusty befriends Oliver and Oliver helps Rusty through his last year of high school.
When it comes time for Rusty to go to Berkley, where he just knows he’s going to fail, Oliver does all he can to assure him that he’ll be there for him and that he knows Rusty won’t get lost in the shuffle. And… he kisses Rusty.
Rusty is left at school, lost, scared, trapped with a crazy but warm-hearted-hyper-sexual-roommate, and the memory of Oliver’s kiss to make him question everything he is or wants to be.
When it becomes apparent that Rusty is in fact NOT ready for Berkley – though he tries damn hard – he is ready for Oliver and KNOWS that Oliver is more than just his best friend. When Rusty gets home for Thanksgiving Oliver is there to greet him and the two kiss again. This time they get caught by Rusty’s homophobic family who immediately throw Rusty out of the house.
Luckily Oliver’s dad is amazing and he helps Rusty to get his bearings again.
What follows is Rusty’s jump into the deep end of adulthood and his navigation of his first real relationship that also happens to be his first gay relationship. Oliver’s impatience and love both help and hinder him in this process, but the underlying support he and his dad offer Rusty give him the strength to grow into the man he needs to become.
**

This is another of my all-time favorite Amy Lane books. Another one I’m hoping will soon become an Audiobook. (Hint, hint!)
Rusty is so very lost but he’s also so sweet and lovable you want to reach through the pages and wrap him in blankets and kiss his cheeks.
Oliver is just smart and snarky enough to ease the saccharine sweetness of Rusty’s goodness and make them a real, fun, and sexy couple.
I loved the interactions with the secondary characters. The role model of Oliver’s dad. The hilarity of the cousins. The hero-worship of Rusty’s sister. And the eventual grace of Rusty’s parents.
I read this book when I need a warm hug on a rainy afternoon and it always makes me feel better.

I can’t recommend it enough.

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper

Samhain Publishing Presents https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/4117/the-rebuilding-year

the-rebuilding-yearBlurb

Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.

Product Warnings
Contains two hot men wrestling with a shift in their sexuality, as well as a few positions probably listed in the Gay Kama Sutra. But it’s not all about the hot and sweaty—especially when your previously straight life knocks on the door and comes back to visit.

Review

Ryan is a med student, former fireman who was injured in the line of duty, looking for a cheap place to stay while studying. He meets John on campus where John does the maintenance for the university. John is recently divorced father of two who is looking for a friend and someone to share expenses.

John and Ryan quickly become great friends and find themselves inexplicably attracted to one another as more than friends. Neither has identified as gay before but are suddenly seeing the other as very attractive.

There are a lot of hurdles. Neither is willing to jump into this without being sure of their feelings. Ryan has scars on his body that makes him leery of opening himself up to anyone. John’s wife and family aren’t going to see this as something to embrace. And – there’s a dead body found on campus and John is a suspect!

With a lot of careful movements forward and some deep discussion the couple explore their new feelings and in the end find a deep and abiding love.

**

This was one of the first mm books I ever read and I have re-read it dozens of times! I absolutely loved it. It’s a double GFY, both male “virgins” and they are so very sweet with each other! Kaje Harper is an amazing writer, she carefully crafts their relationship so that it is believable and romantic and yet full of realistic challenges and day to day hurdles.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I am ever so excited to read the sequel (finally!)!

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n