BOOKS I’VE REVIEWED OR RECOMMEND
The Given and the Taken by L.A. Witt – Tooth & Claw, Book 1
Love’s compass is never wrong—even when it points in two different directions.
After pleading his case to his wolf clan’s Elders, Levi is granted the right to bond with Ian, his male human lover, on one condition: they must spend one year apart. Then Levi must use only their spiritual connection to find Ian, or the deal is off.
Tracking down his lover is easy, but Levi isn’t prepared for the changed man he finds.
The agony of separation was too much for Ian. In a moment of weakness, he reached out—to a vampire. Now he’s a vampire himself, and Levi’s devastation—and rejection—is like a stake to his heart. But it’s nothing compared to the fury of the clan that wants Ian brought to justice for desecrating their most sacred ritual.
Afraid for Ian’s safety, Levi puts the pain aside and races to get to Ian first, but he faces unexpected competition: Darius, Ian’s maker. When they come together, all hell breaks loose, Ian is on the run…and the only way Levi and Darius can save the man they love is work together.
If they don’t kill each other first.
Warning: Contains two vampires and a werewolf who really, really, reallywant to hate each other. Except when they want each other. And have violent, sweaty, angry sex with each other. But they still hate each other. Mostly.
The Healing and the Dying by L.A. Witt – “Tooth & Claw, Book 2”
“Doing the right thing could destroy everything…”
Levi, Ian, and Darius escaped death-by-wolf-pack by the skin of their teeth, but they’re not out of the woods. The wolves are relentless. Help from humans? Not likely. Their only hope is a vampire commune in remote western Canada-if they make it in one piece. Even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll be offered sanctuary.
First challenge is to get there. Sunlight is deadly. Money is dwindling. Police and wolves alike are on the hunt.
Worse, Levi hasn’t recovered physically or emotionally from the accident that broke several of his bones and killed his best friend. He desperately wants Ian or Darius to turn him, which would heal his wounds, speed their escape, and sever his last tie to the wolves that made his life hell.
Yet Darius hesitates, caught between his desire to help his lover, and fear that once this is all over, Levi and Ian will have no use-or desire-to keep him in the picture. And that’s assuming they all make it to the end of this alive…
Warning: Contains two vampires and a werewolf who would really like to just sit down somewhere and lick their wounds, but are too damned busy stealing cars, avoiding sunlight, eluding police, arguing, jumping off roofs, and plotting new and innovative ways to weasel past customs. Oh, and plenty of scorching hot sex between three very, very dirty boys.
I listened to both of these fabulous stories on Audible. Jason Winters did a superb job with the narration, making each character distinct and giving them their own personality.
Josh Lanyon’s Books
Almost anything written by Josh Lanyon. Plus I especially love to hear the audio versions.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Fair Game, Adrien English series, Holmes and Moriarity series, Come Unto These Yellow Sands, A Ghost of a Chance, A Haunted Heart: Winter, In Sunshine or In Shadow (Short Stories Vol. 1), Armed and Dangerous series, A Stranger on the Shore, and Out of the Blue
Heart Knot Mine
Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.
I always enjoy reading Lily Velden’s stories. I love her writing style and admire how she writes with humour and such passion.
Noah and Robert’s relationship encapsulates what I adore about the m/m genre. Although taking over thirty years to realize he is gay, Noah embraces his sexuality and falls head-over-heels in love with Robert. There is nothing ‘girlie’ about the depth of emotion he experiences towards this man. I relished the intensity of his feelings and their passionate lovemaking. Lily writes sizzling bedroom scenes, but for Noah it is more than just sex when he spends time with Robert. Not all men want to have casual hook-ups in bathhouses and clubs. and it isn’t just women who seek something more meaningful in their love life. Noah wants this connection with his soul mate, and his need for Robert is wonderfully expressed through his thoughts and actions.
Lily superbly shows Noah’s angst and heartache when he and Robert are apart. It hurts for him and for us as readers. This is skilful and emotional writing at its best. The scene when they finally meet again is one of my favorites in the whole book. I have read it over several times with tears in my eyes. It is so beautiful. So moving.
I loved this story and the characters portrayed by Lily, and will read the book again—a definite sign of how much I enjoyed it. My only wish is that perhaps one of the earlier sex scenes had been replaced for one at the end of the story. I would have loved to have read a final lovemaking scene and heard in more detail how Robert was feeling and suffering when the two men were apart. But that’s just me being greedy because I didn’t want their story to end.
by JOE COSENTINO
Publisher: A novella from Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Bittersweet
With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.
This bittersweet novella begins and ends in the present with happily married Harold and Stuart. In between, we are given flashbacks to show us the story of Harold’s infatuation with Mario, much of it told through dialogue and Harold’s witty responses to the key people and events over those intervening twenty years.
The writing is superb and highly original. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but it made me chuckle, laugh out loud, say ‘Awww’, and cry. The humor and light-hearted approach to such a heartbreaking story worked perfectly and stopped me from becoming a blubbering mess. At the same time, the story has a happy ending. It has you thinking about love, commitment and being true to yourself, and cleverly interweaves moral and political issues.
If you only read one M/M book this week/month/year, I recommend you read this one. Seriously, it’s that good. I will definitely read this poignant story again and look forward with anticipation to Joe’s forthcoming works.
(The author provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Cover Me #1 by L.A. Witt
When paramedic Nick Swain responds to a shooting in a seedy neighborhood, his entire world is thrown off its axis. His life is threatened…twice. Allegations of racism and medical neglect threaten his career and his ability to sleep at night. Not that he’ll be sleeping any time soon after the incident throws him into the path—and arms—of Detective Andrew Carmichael.
One hot night after another with Andrew may help Nick relieve some work-related stress, but sex won’t solve every problem in his life. With the media hounding him and the city watching his every move, he starts to wonder if the world is out to get him.
The world may not be out to get him, but someone is.
And that someone wants Nick dead.
My 5* Review:
Fabulous. Excellent writing. This story had all the elements I enjoy in the m/m genre. I became involved with the MC’s feelings from the start and loved Nick and Andrew’s interaction and their hot scenes together. I felt their longing for each other as they fell in love and their need to be together. Tense and full of suspense, the story was not predictable although I knew something ‘bad’ would happen at some point. The only thing I would say is that some of the dialogue could have been more concise, but apart from that I LOVED this story and will definitely read the others in the series. PLUS it’s currently a FREE READ!
Memorizing You by Dan Skinner
Two high school boys from different walks of life: Ryan, a handsome athlete, and David, an average joe from a blue collar family, discover their desires, stealing their kisses under the cover of an old oak at night. Their love begins a secret life, hidden from their families, friends, and classmates. As their passion grows, so does the danger of their discovery. Their only hope is to create a separate world where every kiss is a treasure and every moment… memorable.
First love. Secret love. Unforgettable love
My Book Review on Goodreads
Not many novels reduce me to tears. I cried as I read through the final 10% of this story and repeatedly for hours afterwards. This is so much more than your ordinary teenage love story, of boy meets boy.
I fell in love with the two main characters as they in turn fell in love with each other. Never have I experienced the depth of emotion portrayed on a page before. Chapter after chapter, the boys’ friendship and intimacy grew until they had something so precious. The intensity of their feelings for each other is almost palpable and the memories of their shared experiences will stay with me for a long time. The love making scenes were beautifully written, either fading to black or described in a non-explicit manner that entirely suited this story.
With a developing sense of foreboding, I empathized with their plight as the novel came to a climax. I found myself repeatedly saying out loud, “Please, don’t let this happen.”
To avoid giving away spoilers, I won’t comment of the ending.
So bravo, Dan. An amazing piece of writing! If only we could all find our true soul mate, I’m sure the world would be a much better place.
The Salisbury Key by Harper Fox
My Book Review for UK Gay Romance Blog
After reading this superb novel, I declared to hubs it was probably the best book I’d read … ever. I tried to give him a synopsis while avoiding the m/m storyline, only for him to say, “… like Dan Brown’s books … where one clue leads to another clue!”
No, it’s nothing like The Da Vinci Code or any of his books. Yes there are clues, archaeology, and a mystery to solve—but the sum of this book is so much more than that.
Set around Stonehenge and the Salisbury Plain, there is an elusive ‘key’ for Daniel Logan to find, but woven into the story is a heart-wrenching tale of love and devotion, and a developing relationship that leaves you wanting more—this is one of those stories you can’t stop reading yet at the same time you don’t want it to end.
I don’t wish to give any spoilers or even hints at what happens because that would ruin the impact of this story for the first-time reader. Just read it! Preferably without reading the blurb as that has spoilers too.
I’ve read several of Harper Fox’s stories—Scrap Metal being another favourite of mine. I admire Harper’s writing style; her descriptive passages conjure vivid pictures in my mind, the explicit sex scenes are beautifully written, and as this tale cleverly unfolds, the mystery and passion deepens. I don’t think I have thought ‘wow’ so many times when reading a book, and I will no doubt be reading this again very soon.
Three of Swords (Precog in Peril)
The title of the book and series threw me at first. Precog is not a word we use in the UK, but once I realized the main character could gain foreknowledge of future events through Tarot cards and other means, I understood the meaning and nature of this book.
A fabulous, well written story of the supernatural yet romantic kind. I loved the structure and pace of the plot, as well as the interaction and developing relationship between the two main characters. The erotic scenes between these two men are portrayed beautifully and only help to enhance the story.
The story continues through book two and three, which I subsequently read with delight.
I have no hesitation in recommending this series and would love to see it portrayed as a movie in the future.
Two amazing books written by AJ Rose.
From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images seared into his soul, Gavin has to find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to a marital split, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.
Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant on the case and attention to Gavin himself, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to take a closer look at himself, his true nature, and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains? When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.
Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?
Everywhere Detective Gavin DeGrassi looks he’s reminded of his attack by the Breath Play Killer. It’s in the house he lives in with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson. It’s in the sympathetic yet pitying looks he receives from his fellow detectives when he returns to the force after a year-long hiatus. It’s in the suffocating coddling of his entire family, and the relentless reporter demanding an exclusive of his ordeal.
Most of all, it’s in his lack of submission to Ben, who isn’t convinced Gavin’s recovered enough to trust the power exchange between them.
The miraculous recovery of two teen boys from a twisted kidnapper gives him heart, and Gavin’s determined to prove he can handle anything despite increasing strain between him and Ben, painful nightmares, and panic when anyone touches him.
But his next case is too close for comfort: a friend and colleague found raped and murdered in a fate chillingly similar to what could have been his own, and this killer isn’t stopping with one cop. As the body count rises and taunting souvenirs are being hand-delivered to Gavin, he faces a frustrating lack of leads, a crushing need to prove himself, and a sinking suspicion the imprisoned kidnapper’s reach is further than originally thought. A miasma of uncertainty and fear threaten to suffocate him when he asks a question with which he’s overwhelmingly familiar: what happens when a victim is pushed too far?