Tag Archives: May/December

Bear Among the Books by TJ Masters

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Bear Among The Books

SERIES:

AUTHOR: TJ Masters

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
RELEASE DATE: September 2 , 2016

BLURB: Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.

With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.

REVIEW: I didn’t think that this book would hold my interests hen it was first presented to me but I was pleasantly surprised. Very much so.

Here you have this young man, Jason, who at nineteen doesn’t know how to read. He’s a sweet young man, bright but had learning difficulties where left him illiterate. Let’s talk about him a bit more. This young man was in no way lazy or uninterested in learning, he was quite the opposite. He was passionate about books and his thirst for knowledge was obvious. There was just never anyone who actually took the time to take a vested interest in helping him learn until he meets Ben.

Ben. Sweet, gentle, intelligent, soft spoken Ben. He’s a librarian, a gentlemen of 48, whose just decided to live his life as it is. He has his books, his colleagues that he likes in a job that he loves. You get the sense that he wasn’t not looking to fall in love that he’s just sort of put that part of himself away after the passing of his husband/long term partner.

I think initially, when he notices Jason, he’s intrigued and notices how attractive he is in passing; it wasn’t overwhelming. But once he discovers the young man’s secret, he wants to help him.

I really like this book. When many think of a May/ December or older man/younger man romance, there’s a tendency to tell the story with certain slant. I was really glad to see that it wasn’t the case with this book. Ben genuinely cares about Jason, he has a vested interest in helping this young man live up to his full potential. It’s actually sad that people in the education system failed this young man.

The romance aspect wasn’t as believable as I would’ve expectedly to be. I just couldn’t see these two as a couple not because of the age difference but because of the tone of the relationship. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Ben does in no way take advantage of Jason, I just felt that the relationship was driven by feelings other than love and attraction. I think for Jason it was more of an attraction to his mentor and for Ben it was driven by loneliness and a bit of lust. But it was in no way disgusting.

This aside, I think the book was well very written. There wasn’t any heat between the two characters in my opinion but then again, that’s quite alright because I think these two men made better friends than lovers. The chemistry between the two was a slow burn that never truly turns into a raging fire and that is okay.

All things considered, I think the story worked out rather nicely.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 

Dreamspinner Press

 

http://kimichanexperience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/image2.jpg

Love Has No Expiration by C.S. Poe


Dreamspinner Presents: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6563

Daily Dose Short Story

LoveHasNoExpirationBlurb

There’s more to life than work, and love has no expiration, even for those approaching their forty- fifth birthday.
There’s more to life than work, and love has no expiration, even for those approaching their forty-fifth birthday.
Daniel Richards is a private chef in New York City who has committed over a decade to his skills and passion. He has carved out a name for himself in the industry and has bookings for parties and dinners months in advance. Now that he’s in his midforties, however, he’s come to the realization that he’s lonely and desperate for companionship. Two days before Valentine’s Day, he meets Keith Maxwell at a farmer’s market and can’t keep the much younger man out of his thoughts. Keith is eager and willing to take a chance with someone older, but Daniel’s reluctance stops Keith’s every attempt. Worried his career will suffer if he dedicates time to a serious romance, or that Keith won’t be satisfied with someone so much older, Daniel nearly thwarts his own attempts at finding happiness.

Review

This is a short story that does a nice job of setting up our MCs, showing us a lot about how lonely and cynical Daniel has become and then introducing him to an intriguing younger man.

We don’t really get to know much about Keith, other than he likes older guys, he’s also really busy and he loves animals.

I liked the MCs, and felt their HFN but I’m not sure I felt there was a HEA in their future. Neither seemed willing to address the fact that both were so busy and really in different places in their lives.

That being said, like Keith says, if it’s important you make time for it and both were definitely willing to try.

The writing was nice and well paced given the length of the story.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

 

Take Your Best Shot By Starlight by Yolande Kleinn
Halden

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6551

From the Daily Dose Series

TakeYourBestShotByStarlightBlurb

Halden Blake was a good soldier and a good man. He never intended to be a hero, and he definitely never intended the events that landed him in intergalactic politics. Now, three presidential terms later, Halden must decide if running for office again is worth five more years of putting his own life on hold.
Isaac Knox has been President Blake’s public liaison from the start, an ally and friend through difficult times. Halden has always carefully resisted thoughts of more, and Isaac has never given any hint of returning his guarded attraction. But when Halden finds himself struggling with questions about his own future, Isaac makes a surprising offer that could change everything.

Review

So – first thing I missed when I read the blurb – this is about a Space President. So be warned. ☺
It was actually great and had very few aliens or other spacey type weirdness – which I usually avoid like the plague.

Halden is the current Intragalactic President – big, big important role in the universe. He’s been there 15 years, which to a human is a long time but to other species is a drop in the bucket.
He has an assistant who has been with him the entire time, Isaac. Isaac is about 20 years younger than him and his best friend.
We meet up with Hal when he is deciding to re-run for office or get out and take care of his own sad personal life – he’s lonely.
We end with him still deciding.
**
This is a short story and thus has its limitations. However, this isn’t really even a complete story as the main conflict presented: does Hal re-up? is never resolved.
The side conflict: his loneliness is sort of resolved, but barely.

I loved the writing. The world building was amazing, but overwhelmed this short story and took page time away from the actual action or conflict resolution.
This would be better as the intro to a longer novella rather than calling itself a complete short story.

So – I have conflicting emotions regarding the rating – I give it a three because there was much to like, but far from perfect.

310805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Blue Notes Audiobook by Shira Anthony Narrated by Peter B Brooke

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6454

BlueNotes[2ndEd]AUDMedBlurb

A Blue Notes novel.
Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.
But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.
Note: Each Blue Notes novel is an independent story, although the characters all inhabit the same classical-music universe. Books in the series can be listened to in any order.

Review

This is my first book by Shira Anthony and it was very good. I really loved how she wove the music throughout the entire story, using the music analogies to move the story forward very fluidly.

I think the writing is excellent and for the first part of the book I was really compelled. It started to unravel for me when our MC Jason aka “Jaz” falls under the spell of the alluring Frenchman so easily. For a straight guy (mostly entirely straight guy) it felt a bit too easy.

I loved watching the couple fall in love and Jules is an engaging character. I was really rooting for him and his budding music career. However… I was really disappointed by “the big misunderstanding”. I could see Jules getting mad when he sees Diane (the ex) in Jason’s arms, but when both have declared the big “L” word wouldn’t he at least give him a fighting chance at an explanation… especially after he calls so many times. And Jason, he claims he could never find the man to properly explain – but he’s homeless! How hard could it be to track him down through his job or his friends?

I think it would have been a more poignant story had they dealt with the more real hurdle of their huge age difference, their different life styles and the fact that they live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

That being said, there was a lot of really great writing and I thought the love story between the two was very sweet and steamy.

Audio

Peter B Brooke, with your vaguely southern twang… what an amazing French accent you have!!

I absolutely adored listening to this because he did such great work with both the French and the accented English. It was practically flawless (to my non-French speaking ears)!

I really think the audio is the way to take in this story – his narration adds so much flavor to the characters that it absolutely raised my rating from a 3.25 to a 4.25 of 5 hearts.

4

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Mens Rea by Brooke Edwards


Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6555

Daily Dose Short Story

MensReaBlurb

James Carter is forty-five and has been a police officer most of his life. He married young, lost her young, and his life revolved around his work and his son. Young is a recurring theme in his life, he thinks, when he meets the considerably younger AUSA Derek Moore on a case and finds himself ruled by the whims of his heart.
The road to love between a hotshot lawyer and a veteran cop was never going to be smooth, not in the real world, but there are criminals, misunderstandings, and a lack of communication standing in their way too. Both are so stubborn and convinced their interest is one-sided that it takes a murder case, exhaustion, and an adjournment for them to get their act together. They move fast after that, but they both know there’s no guarantee for tomorrow.

Review

This is how a short story should be written.

The author moves us forward through time without the obvious – “two weeks pass”, instead showing us the important information with well written examples.

Both characters are very well developed, and again this shows the author’s skills in that it is all shown to us rather than dumped on us in one long spew.

There are even well-developed secondary characters!

I thought the love story was very sweet but wish there had been more steam as the sex is fade to black.

Be warned, this is told in third person present tense and that can be difficult for some readers. It’s done well, though it isn’t my favorite writing style.

All in all 4.25 of 5 hearts, well done!

4.5

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Bindings and Books by CM Corett


Daily Dose Short story from Dreamspinner http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6550

BindingsandBooksBlurb
James Connell is adamant—he’s not getting involved. The forty-two- year-old bookstore owner’s life is governed by respectability, order, and a dash of OCD—just the way he likes it. There is absolutely no place in his life for a way-too-young, sexy, carefree guy like Ash. What would people think?
Ash Bradley-Mills is determined—he wants James. Traveling the world testing snowboards and sports equipment has been great fun for Ash, but he’s ready for something more. He wants an adrenaline rush of a different kind, and tall, dark, handsome, and older James fits the criteria perfectly. Now all Ash needs to do is break through James’s defenses and lifelong fear of judgment. Easy! He’s got the perfect plan to push James out of his comfort zone and into his arms.

Review

James is 42, trying to learn to ski for the first time ever, when he is rescued by the very hot, very young adventure-enthusiast, Ash.

Ash is immediately attracted to James, who has reasons for avoiding younger guys.
Ash ends up running into James over and over at his bookstore and eventually James gives in and dates Ash.

Things look like they might be working out ok, though James is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, when Ash is in a terrible accident and it looks like James may just lose Ash for good.

**

This is a novella, a bit longer than some of the other shorts in the Daily Dose series. It tries to do A LOT. We have older guy/younger guy, past issues of shame and hurt, a jealous ex, a serious injury, vastly different lifestyles… the list just goes on and on.

I was seriously compelled by the blurb and really enjoying this story – right up until the point where James and Ash begin their relationship. Suddenly things are feeling a little too much like a soap opera and outlandish. I’m not sure why there needed to be SO MANY obstacles for our poor couple, it almost feels like the author wanted to try out all these different story-lines and they all just got jammed together in this one novella.

I thought the writing was nice and the editing good. In fact, I really enjoyed James as a character, as well as his sister. However, I didn’t feel like I understood Ash very well, nor did I appreciate his rather obvious ex/friend. I could have given these issues a pass, and was inclined to give a rating well above a 3, but the injury Ash receives at the end and the way it’s handled, including the conclusion, just didn’t work for me.

Without spoiling the ending, I want to say that I appreciated the unique take on a common story-line the author attempted and I appreciated that Ash “fell in love again” with James as proof of their “rightness”, but it was too much for this short story to handle with sufficient grace.

2.5 of 5 hearts

2.5

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Coffee, Pop, and Bisexuality by Nicole McCormick


Daily Dose Short Story from Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6549
CoffeePopandBisexualityBlurb
When a stranger runs into Douglas, makes him spill his coffee, and offers to buy him another one, Douglas thinks that’s all it will be. Even though the man is gorgeous. Even though his daughter has other plans. Turns out, the stranger, Anthony, has other plans as well, and Douglas soon agrees to go to a movie with Anthony. It’s absolutely not a date. Douglas has slept with men, sure, but he isn’t gay. Or bisexual. No matter what Anthony says.
However, a late night and a frank conversation with his daughter’s best friend leaves Douglas with a different opinion. Not that he plans on letting Anthony know he considers it a date. It’s too much fun to wind Anthony up. After one not-so-perfect date, Douglas thinks maybe if he keeps Anthony around, turning fifty won’t be so bad.

Review

Doug has never dated a man, though he’s messed around with a couple in college. He’s divorced from a woman and about to become an empty-nester. One day, at a coffee shop, he literally runs into a guy and the attraction between the two men is encouraged by Doug’s 18 year old daughter.

Over a cup of coffee, Anthony, a much younger man than Doug, convinces Doug to at least try being friends and Doug agrees to a “friend date” of a movie.

Feeling awkward, he solicits advice from his daughter’s gay friend and decides to be open-minded about the date.

Things go well on the date and by the end Doug and Anthony are a couple.

**

I love short stories and what they can accomplish. This one tried to make a simple statement – keep an open-mind, you never know how your own prejudices can hamper you.

It was not a terribly convincing move from straight/exploring to openly dating and gay sex. I never really liked Doug, even his daughter calls him an asshole and he kinda is. Other than a basic physical attraction, I never saw what Anthony saw in him and so as a story I was never really “sold”.

I appreciated the moral and the writing itself was good, but I think I needed a bit more time with the characters to make this great leap.

2.5 of 5 hearts

2.5

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Up To Boil by Tia Fielding

Daily Dose Short Story from Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6576

(Individually available after June 1st)

up to boilBlurb

When plumber and builder Jordan Novotny goes to take a look at the home of the town’s openly gay, recently dumped librarian, he doesn’t expect to find anything other than a falling-apart old house and a water heater in need of repair. Instead, he finds an older man in need of some TLC and a new circle of friends after his ex tossed him aside for a newer model. Stephen might be attracted to Jordan, but he thinks the young man is exactly that—too young. It takes Jordan’s family interfering and a bit of a mishap to make them see that it’s never too late to find a new love, and that age is just a number. All that matters is compatibility and the courage to take a chance.

 

Review

Oh this was just too short! (insert more whining here) I really, really loved both MCs. Stephen is a broken-hearted librarian whose lover has left him with an old house in need of repairs. Jordan is a plumber/fix-it guy and is called in to help with the water heater.
Though the age gap is nearly 30 years, both men find in the other just what they’re looking for.
This is a very sweet, no-steam, short, short story that just tantalizes the taste-buds.
(Maybe the author will see fit to expand this into a full novel one day. Please! )
4 of 5 hearts

4

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Piano Man by Elizabeth Coldwell


From the Never Too Late Collection (also available individually after June 1st)
Dreampsinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6576

piano manBlurb
Approaching fifty, Graham is tired of the gay club scene. He dreams of a venue where he won’t be judged on his age and looks. He and his friend Mike decide to fill the gap in the market by opening the Midnight Lounge, a gay-friendly piano bar in the heart of London’s Soho. After several unsuccessful auditions, Graham finds the perfect pianist for the bar. Adam Turner is young, handsome, and talented, and there’s a spark of attraction between him and Graham, but Graham’s split with his ex has left him feeling old and unattractive. He believes Adam is just stringing him along—a belief that seems validated when Adam kisses him, then claims he’s made a big mistake. Adam wants Graham, but first he’ll have to prove to Graham that age is no barrier to finding love.
Review
It’s always hard to review short stories because they have to do so much in so few words. I know that, in the past, Dreamspinner has had very strict word limits, which can make this even more difficult.  In this case, I think the author spent too much time developing the life that Graham was living post-rejection (he and his buddy design and open a Piano Bar) and way too little time with the interactions between Graham and Adam.

There is some nice sexual tension, a brief moment of connection then angst, then immediate reconciliation which felt really rushed and insincere.

If the story could have been a touch longer or edited more finely to allow for more interaction between the MCs I would have given this a higher rating as the writing and character development were top notch.

2.75 of 5 hearts

3

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n

Where You’ll Find Him by Mel Bossa

WhereYoullFindHim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6410

Blurb

During Pride week in Montreal, Wolfe learns the board is threatening to shut down the YBR queer community center. He can’t let this happen, not while he’s the director and responsible for everyone there. They tell him he’s just a kid, too young to handle these responsibilities, but Wolfe is determined to prove to everyone, including the rich family he left behind, that he’s strong enough to do the job, even if it leaves him with little time for love.

But then devastatingly handsome Gaspard walks up to the YBR stand on Pride community day. Freshly divorced and father to two grown children, Gaspard is finally out of the closet as bisexual, and single for the first time in thirty years. Gaspard falls for Wolfe in a way he’s not prepared for. But as relationships unravel, Gaspard resists his passion for a man young enough to be his son.

Wolfe has spent his life fighting for what he wants. And what he wants is Gaspard.

Review

This is a unique book in that there is very little sex, the main characters are almost overwhelmed by the secondary characters and though the romance is a central theme the book is really about growth and personal realtionships (not just romantic).

To me this book felt like a YA book about Wolfe and his growth in his family and getting over his past. I think it could have been labeled YA instead of contemporary … not sure if that’s appropriate either… it’s a unique book and hard to pigeon hole.

I didn’t understand the epilogue and the rest of the book was not really to my taste. I like a more centrally focused, erotic, romantic “romance” and this was MORE than that, but not what I was looking for.

2.75 of 5 hearts

3

10805469_1500047746947637_197599976_n