Out of the Rain by Renae Kaye

Renae Kaye Presents

out of the rainBlurb

Mitch never knew what awaited him when he answered his elderly neighbour’s calls. Finding a stranger crying in her backyard was a new one. Little did he know that rescuing Elijah out of the rain was going to change his life.

Elijah is too young, too good looking, and too bruised for Mitch to consider falling in love with. But Elijah is soon in his house, in his bed, and in his heart.

At thirty-eight, Mitch has a lot of experience with life. Elijah is only twenty-three and just starting out. Mitch’s bedroom skills enrapture Elijah. Mitch just hopes it will be enough to make Elijah want to stay.



Renae Kaye simply can’t write anything but wonderful stories.

This very short story about an older, gay electrician who rescues a newly outed young man one night from the rain is terribly sweet and touching.

Mitch doesn’t realize how lonely he is and Elijah had no idea being out and gay could make you a stronger and better person.

The story moves quickly, Mitch doubts the young man could possibly be interested in anything long term and Elijah is simply hopeful that Mitch wants him as much as he wants Mitch.

There is some hot, sweaty sex and some moving moments between the two and a very HEA.

5 of 5 hearts- It’d be higher only if it were longer!



Yellowbelly Hero by Susan Laine

Dreamspinner Presents



Heroes at Heart: Book One

Yancy Bell was bullied in high school for being a yellowbelly, not because of any cowardice, but because of his nervous bladder condition. It’s Yancy’s first year in college, and he’s hoping to make a fresh start.

Three days before Christmas, the campus is empty. Having to pee on a midwinter night leads Yancy to meet Curt Donovan huddled in a dark shower stall. Curt’s a troubled jock whose coming out went badly, so he plans to end it all.

But Yancy adamantly refuses to let Curt go through with his irrevocable plan. With just one dark night to talk Curt around, Yancy has to win the trust of a stranger who only sees one way out.


This is a short story (and I think most of my objections to this book stem from that aspect) about a boy who finds another guy in the communal bathroom in the middle of the night, acting strangely.

Yancy goes to the bathroom frequently due to a condition he has (nervous bladder) and so it’s not strange that he’s there at 2 am. What is strange is there is someone hiding in the shower stall. (For whatever reason or instinct) Yancy is compelled to ask after the guy until he proves that “he’s okay”.

The guy isn’t okay. He’s contemplating suicide since his father has disowned him for being gay.

He and Yancy end up bonding then making out and things are looking up for both of them by the end.


I really liked the premise of this. I think that suicide in young adults has to be something so difficult to deal with and I really appreciated the comments Yancy made. Something to the effect that making these kids feel guilty for wanting to end their pain wasn’t a very helpful motivation.

I know that short stories have to do a lot with few words, but there were some plot holes that just kept me from being fully invested in this story.

First, why did the admittedly not brave Yancy persist in investigating the guy in the shower?

Second, without a lot of explanation, why did Curt allow himself to flip so far out in the first place, recover so quickly, then immediately jump into dating? I didn’t get a good feel for Curt but he’s sort of reticent in demeanor but his actions are all over the map. I think if he’d been more of a drama queen his actions would have fit better since he was so quick to bounce from thing to thing to thing.

I think with a few modifications those plot holes could have been explained away and even with a short story the emotions the author were trying to portray could have worked.

The writing was good and the idea compelling but the end result wasn’t as satisfying as I’d have wanted it. Perhaps making this into longer could give it more depth and make it a more plausible story.

3 of 5 hearts



Billy Goat Stats by John C Houser

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6396


Back from summer basketball camp and starting at Hoosier State on an athletic scholarship, Billy is looking forward to playing basketball free of pressure from his overbearing, bigoted father. Too bad he’s trading one set of problems for another. His boyfriend Jonah dumps him, expecting he’ll want to spread his wings now that he’s away from home, and the basketball program at State proves harder to navigate than he imagined.

Despite his hurt at Jonah’s treatment, Billy is not ready to give up on a relationship with the out-and-proud musician. Their geographical distance isn’t Billy’s biggest problem, since it makes it easier for him to stay in the closet. In fact, when the press starts sniffing around the basketball team, it turns out he’s not the only one with a secret. Every member of the team must choose where, and with whom, they stand. The success of Billy’s season may depend as much on the depth of his character as his physical endurance.


This is book two in a series, but is a standalone. (I didn’t read book one.) However, you do first meet Jonah in book one, a young gay man being bullied in the halls of his high school. From there he meets his soon-to-be boyfriend, Billy, the star of the basketball team. (Nickname Billy Goat.)

Billy is a year older than Jonah, so when he sets off to college after sharing their first an only kiss, Jonah plays the martyr and breaks things off “so Billy can be free to explore other relationships”.

Billy is a far more simple guy than all that. He knows what he wants and he wants Jonah. So after some time passes, and Jonah realizes what a bad idea that was, the two agree to be friends with the possibility for more.

The rest of the book is played in three parts. Jonah alone, Billy alone and the two together. When Jonah is alone he has to face decisions about his own university career, being hit on by another boy at school, the continued grief he feels for his father’s suicide and wondering what to do about Billy.

When Billy is alone he has to deal with: being hit on by another teammate, possibly outing himself in a league that doesn’t really support being gay, missing Jonah, his parents disapproval and what to do with himself post college.

Together they navigate being a couple at a distance, exploring sex for the first time, and practice being each other’s families when times are tough.

Far more of this book is about navigating the world of being gay and in high level college sports than the relationship between Jonah and Billy. Their relationship – while acting as a catalyst for many things – is not the central focus for much of the book. There is a lot of drama going on all around these boys and their love life is only a small fraction.

There are many secondary characters who steal the lime-light: the parents of both boys, the pseudo parents Jonah has adopted from book one, the team mates and their sexual orientations, classmates, friends – you name it, they are all very well developed characters in this coming of age drama.

In the end, we get a sweet HFN that leads us to believe it will be a HEA for these guys and a very nice story about the pains of growing up gay in a not so gay friendly world.


I am sure if you liked book one, this will delight. Coming into this without book one as a guide, I still found the story engaging and never felt confused by not having read book one first.

I loved the text messages, the phone conversations and Billy’s Stats at the beginning of each chapter. (Although it took me a minute to realize the stats were for what happened in the coming chapter not the past chapter!)

I also appreciated that neither boy was the “stereotypical” embodiment of either the music geek nor the jock.  Both boys had surprising elements that made them truly unique characters.  I commend the author, too, for navigating the parental role in handling a sexual relationship between college age boys.  It felt authentic and natural and was very well done.

What I didn’t love was the drama. There was so much happening all over the place that the love story got a little bogged down for it. I really wanted to spend more time focusing on the boys and their relationship but everything around them was a bit distracting. If you want a more “coming of age” type story – this will really fit the bill. That’s what it felt like to me. The romance part, though strong and important, was maybe not as emphasized as it could have been.

The writing was excellent and the humor fantastic, I enjoyed this book a great deal.

3.75 of 5 hearts



Falling by Suki Fleet

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6457


Josh’s idea of a romance is curling up alone and reading a novel with a happily ever after. He’s made his flat a safe haven where the wall are covered with beautiful words, and his living room ceiling is a map of the universe.

Angus may be shy and inexperienced, but he’s incapable of hiding anything, especially his attraction to his older neighbor.

When Josh admits to Angus that he’s gay, he doesn’t expect Angus’s reaction. Angus’s obvious interest terrifies Josh. For years he’s managed to keep the world at arm’s length and avoid getting too close to anyone. Well, anyone except Elenor, Angus’s mother, who helped Josh rebuild his life after he was hospitalized for depression. But Josh still thinks he’s broken. His past has left scars he thinks are too deep to heal. Despite Josh’s defenses, Angus begins to mean more to him than just the cute boy next door. If Josh can take a risk and let someone into his isolated world, he might have a chance for a real life happy ending.


Josh has severe depression, and has been hospitalized for it in the past. He is estranged from his biological family but has built himself a support system of people where he lives now. One of those is Eleanor, his neighbor, the mother of Angus.

Eleanor has anxiety issues that are slowly making her life unbearable. Angus turns to Josh for help and more.

Josh feels like he isn’t stable enough to help either Eleanor or Angus but Eleanor was there for him when he needed her and he can’t help but be infatuated with the adorable and innocent Angus (who clearly has a crush on Josh.)

Together, Angus and Josh navigate the health system to find the right solution for Eleanor and along the way the right solution for themselves, as well.


This was a very, very, very dark read. The issues these guys face are real, and heavy and not likely to ever go away.

The romance is very slow burn – sometimes painfully slow.

I was glad that having a “boyfriend” wasn’t offered up as a solution to Josh’s depression, Josh was very clear with Angus about the future and it does seem hopeful. However, I wasn’t given a lot of page time with him and Angus to know if their coupledom will be successful long term – Angus is so young and Josh’s illness is severe.

The writing is excellent as is the editing. If you are in the mood for a dark, yet hopeful romance, with a very positive ending about a difficult subject – this is the book for you.

For me – I’d have liked to see more of the romance and less of the internal dialog. I would shift the balance of the book to at least 50/50 build up and coupledom because I really think they have their work cut out for them and that it doesn’t end just because they say the magic three words.

I really didn’t feel that connected to Angus (this is told from Josh’s POV) and as a result I just don’t know what compels him as well as I’d like.

3.5 of 5 hearts

Love the cover!



Black John (Johnnies #4) by Amy Lane

Dreampsinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5982

black johnBlurb

John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess.

Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John’s craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory’s neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen’s been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory’s life.

The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.


Where to start….
Well, first we all know Johnnies right? – the made up porn studio that introduced us to Chase and Tommy, Dex and Kane, Ethan and Jonah and in a related way, Alejandro and Donny. We LOVE Johnnies. John… we didn’t love so much. He was a coke-head-douche in Dex in Blue and though he had glimmers of the kinda guy Dex might befriend, by the time we actually meet him, he’s gone over the edge.

This is his story.

We start out with John getting out of rehab, he’s still pretty shaky, but determined to stay clean, only to find out that this newly sober John has to fly to Florida (across the world practically) to help clean out the apartment and distribute the remains of his first love, Tory, who has committed suicide.

Uh…Thanks Amy for taking it easy on us. NOT!

Tory and John grew up together, realized they were gay together, started doing porn together but I can’t really say they loved each other because Tory never treated John like someone he loved.

As time passes Tory descends down a spiral of sex and drugs and after several years and three trips to rehab John decides Tory needs to try things on his own, because whatever John is doing, isn’t helping.

Thus the birth of Johnnies.

Flash back to today, John is at Tory’s apartment where he meets the neighbor, Galen. Galen is a lawyer who had a terrible accident three years ago, and has since been caught up in a cycle of depression and pain med addiction.

So… of course John is super attracted to Galen, but really – Can he? Should he? Is it remotely smart for him to take on another addict?


If I were to rank my favorite Johnnies books the order would be Dex, Super Sock Man, Chase, John, Ethan…. Black John is a good book, Amy doesn’t write anything bad. The angst is so painful. Tory hurt John so much. Dex (inadvertently) hurt John so much. But… the one piece I missed with Black John that Chase and Dex and even Super Sock Man had was a bit more of a connection between the lovers.

I loved that John could finally help Galen and that Galen wanted to be strong enough to show John he deserved someone whole. But I didn’t see them as a couple long enough to feel as attached to them as I have in other Amy Lane books.

On the other hand I absolutely loved that we got to see more of Dex and Kane again and I hope to see more in this series — Bobby and Reg perhaps???

Writing/Editing 5

Romance 3.5

Sex/Heat 3.5

Storyline 5

World Building/Characterizations 5

Overall, 4.5 hearts!