Publication Status: Available 11 Dec 2013 (available for pre-order now)
Genre: M/M Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
From the Publisher:
When his regular masseuse is called away on a family emergency, Tomas does not expect Darren, her temporary replacement, to be such an attractive distraction. Tomas has always been a serious, no-nonsense type of swimmer; after all, elite competition leaves no room for unprofessional conduct. However, he finds it extremely difficult to stay on the right side of the professional line with Darren tending to his needs.
My first experience with Nico Jaye was a very sweet, free, story BTW, I Love You. (Written for the M/M Romance Groups, Love Has No Boundaries event.) Something about her writing style just really spoke to me. So, I jumped at the chance to review her newest offering Different Strokes. I adored this book. It is the story of unrequited lust at first sight and slow burn romance as told in 6 vignettes. The vignette style can be done well and can be done badly. Jaye does it right. Each vignette is a pivotal moment in the relationship between Tomas and Darren with enough clues to what happens in between, but the monotony of day to day interactions is left to the reader’s imagination.
When Tomas first meets Darren, He feels an instant attraction but Darren is not available. Rather than torture himself, Tomas takes himself out of the situation. Fast forward a year and they meet again, but still they must each refrain from each other. I loved that, even though it was lust at first site (at least on Tomas’ part), both men were upstanding, professional, and responsible for their actions. I loved that when they final did get together, It was obviously more than just great sex. I loved that the kitchen sex scene was one of the hottest I have read this year.
I waffled between 4 and 5 stars for this one. Usually for a 5* review I have to cry, or at least get choked up at some point in the story (or feel some other emotion equally strongly). This was a very low angst romance, but it was told so well that I had to give Ms. Jaye the credit.
Description: He needs her to save a friend, She needs him to plan her revenge. Their pasts scar them Layers Deep. Their passion distracts them… … and distractions can be fatal.
Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.
Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. When an opportunity to use Tristan Cross presents itself so does the time for payback. As her vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.
And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.
Note: This book is the first part of a Trilogy that is designed to be read in order. Tristan and Allie will get their happy ending but not until book 2 and 3. This book contains a cliff hanger ending you will not expect. A prequel to the series which can be read alone is Dazzled by Silver.
Warning: This title contains erotic situations, and graphic language. Intended for adult audience 18+.
My feet pressed to the floor as the elevator lifted against gravity. Tristan turned, facing me. His sultry stare bore through my body, and I felt my back press against the mirrored wall.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. He wasn’t supposed to hold power over me; no man ever had. I was a cop. A strong cop who wasn’t swayed by crying mothers, cute puppies, or gorgeous hunks speeding in their Ferraris, offering everything they owned and more. But I was also a woman – and to Tristan, my body responded of its own accord. I felt my breasts swell and I wished I’d worn a dress with a larger top: one that could hold the twins in better. Tristan didn’t seem to mind.
“So, what will two thousand dollars buy me, sweetheart?”
Even if we were playing, I had a feeling this was going to be one hell of an interview—one of the best ones I’d ever had.
“Whatever you want.” I wondered how far he’d go, and how far I’d allow him to go. I already knew what he wanted. My instincts were solid, especially the hormonal ones. My body had secretly ached for his touch since he’d walked into the auditorium. And that one deep kiss we’d shared in his car was like a teasing spoonful of chocolate cake. I craved chocolate cake; and not just a bite.
And before I could say another word, Tristan crushed his mouth to mine, possessing it like he owned me, spreading my lips apart with his needy tongue. The hint of scotch still lingered in his mouth. And at this moment, he did own me. Every. Single. Piece of me.
His grip on my wrists above my head would have normally enraged me. But tonight I wasn’t a cop, and his strong and demanding fingers wrapped around my hands like cuffs, burning me with a long-forgotten yearning.
The force of his lips devoured mine, his tongue exploring my mouth. The few moans that escaped me, Tristan swallowed. I had no room to breathe and found hardly enough strength to stand on my legs.
He let go of my mouth and trailed his lips along my jaw to my cheek and ear before lowering down my neck, pinning me against the wall. Oh, God, he felt so good against my body. Everything inside me twisted and tightened and released in unbearable pulses between my thighs. I breathed him in, the oak smell of his scotch imprinted in his skin and in his hair.
The elevator halted and Tristan jolted up as if he’d just realized what he’d done. He searched my eyes with his as if asking permission to go on. And for the first time tonight, doubt crept in. He leaned his forehead against mine.
“We can’t do this. I’m your employee,” I whispered into his mouth. But inside, I laughed at my own unconvincing words, feeling the heat between my legs penetrate my dampened panties.
The open elevator door chimed the second time.
“Your body says we can.” He cupped my engorged breasts, one in each hand, squeezing them in slow motion, feeling their full weight.
I held my breath, pushing my chest into his palms, filling them.
He looked straight into my eyes. “And you’re not hired until the morning.”
Oh Mr. Arvin, you are a sick, twisted, and pervy boy… and I loved every word of it.
Kid Christmas is Santa’s replacement. He is muscle bound and a little (okay a LOT) slutty. Don’t worry no elves were harmed in the writing of this story, but I have 2 words for you ice dildo… oh and gang bang… or you can choose snow globes… Oh hell. I can’t decide
Some of my favorite parts were the author/narrator commentary.
Read it, laugh your ass off and enjoy
If you are looking for heartwarming and traditional, look elsewhere.
Warning: This is definitely an 18 and older book… did I mention Pervy? Yeah it is definitely that.
Description: When Violet London travels to the Canadian Yukon on a research grant, she can’t imagine greater excitement than the chance to study wolves firsthand. Yet more thrilling than any wolf is Luke Benoit, a handsome French Canadian Logger whose brute desire to dominate both tempts and frightens her. Unnerved by her craving to submit to primal passion, Violet is drawn to another man, Damon Holden. Damon is a gorgeous surgeon with everything a girl could want—money, education, and sophistication. Violet must choose between the man who saved her life during an attack by the very creatures she is sworn to protect and the man who offers her the comfort of financial security and solid social standing.
Damon is the safe choice, or is he?
“You know what a Dom is, Violet?”
My brain does a free-fall as all of the air flees my lungs.
He sits patiently awaiting my answer with a cool gaze that doesn’t betray his thoughts. I wish I could be so calm.
well, I’ve read a few books. I assume that you’re referring to a
d-dominant?” I stammer, unable to meet his eyes. My throat feels as dry
now tell me about what you’ve read.” Still no expression. Is he trying
to torture me? I’m sure my face is fire-engine red by this point.
“Well, they were just, you know, erotic stories with Master and slave scenarios.”
I start to look at my hands clutching my tea cup when he says to me, “Don’t look away again. Tell me, did they get you aroused?”
this is highly embarrassing. I’m shy to begin with and these questions
are really personal. I’m feeling very uncomfortable now. Is this your
goal? To humiliate me?” I turn away again.
gorgeous when you blush like that, baby; however, I asked you not to
look away from my eyes. If you do it again I’ll have to teach you a
lesson, little beauty. Understood?”
Oh my God! My body betrays me. My pussy just got totally wet at the thought.
I struggle to keep eye contact and nod.
“Were you aroused by the books?”
“Of course I was. I mean, most women want a man who’s completely in control during sex, correct?”
gives me a thoughtful look, like a teacher. “You’d be surprised, angel.
Most think that they want to give up their control, but that control is
who they are so they can never really submit to their base needs and
A deep concept from such a rugged guy.
reason I’m asking you about your interest in the stories you’ve read is
because I can see as plain as day that you’re a natural submissive,
right to your very core, baby, and being a Dom, I find this
at a total loss for words and have never been so shocked in my life.
Leveling him with a serious look, I ask, “Are we really having a
discussion about BDSM?”
hesitation he fires back, “Yeah, we are and I’ll tell you why, angel.
You defied me by getting into an ass load of trouble today. Nearly got
both of us killed and I’m going to punish you for it, but I’m a fair guy
so I’m giving you a choice. Either take your punishment by itself or
take your punishment followed by the pleasure that I’ll allow. But that
will be given only if you’re a good girl for me.”
I had a hard time narrowing it down to 10 titles. First of all, there were those books I love and re-read often, but weren’t initially read in 2013. Secondly, there were just a lot more pre-2013 release books that I read this year than 2013 releases (go figure…. Did it have to be 10? No it didn’t. However, you don’t want to read a summary of all my 5* reads from this year, and, frankly, I didn’t want to write that much.
I once again invite you to comment to tell me if I missed your favorite. (Keep in mind there is a part 3 coming with my top 10 books from 2013 I haven’t read yet).
I will, once again, give one lucky commenter a e-book copy of their choice from this list See below for rules. (this is not a sponsored giveaway, this is just because I want to spread the love of these fabulous books)
Who We Are by TJ Klune – Okay so this is cheating just a wee bit. Who We Are is the sequel to one of my perennial favorites, Bear Otter and the Kid. I love these guys. I am at a loss in how to describe them so I will let my (Bad) poetry do it for me… Just kidding. No, I don’t have the talent to write even BAD poetry, but Klune (by way of The Kid, of course) does, and it is funny as hell. This book is not all humor; it takes on some serious and heart wrenching topics, but it has enough snark to keep you coming back for more. I actually own both the eBook and Audiobook of this title (and BOATK) and can highly recommend both. Klune recently finished BOATK #3 (The Art of Breathing) which will be Ty and Dom’s story. Looking forward to that one in 2014.
Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis – This is one of the first books I put on my to-read pile back when I started reading M/M romance. For some reason, it never got picked up. I finally was convinced to read it in September of this year and had to ask myself why on Earth I waited so long. It is a slow burn romance. You watch two guys who are perfect for each other but have no idea about it. Then you break your heart as they finally get a clue and can’t seem to do anything about it. I love Aaron. Jake needs to get his head out of his ass, but you fall in love with him as well.
Stolen Summer by SA Meade – This was the first book I read in 2013. I then made it my mission to tell all my Goodreads friends to read it, too. I adored this book. I will let my initial review do the talking for me:
I loved this book. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into this book. It was my first full story from SA Meade (My only other experience with Meade was her chapter in The Party ). Stolen Summer dealt with some very heavy issues with love, respect, and tenderness. I truly was touched with how she dealt with Evan’s PTSD and Depression issues. As a sufferer of depression, myself, I can attest that her portrayal was spot on. I will certainly be reading more from Ms. Meade in the future.
Latakia by JF Smith – This book made me fall in love, not just with a story but with an author. After I finished it, I immediately bought Falling of the Face of the Earth and wishlisted The Last Days of Summer and The Sticks. Smith is not the most prolific writer, but what he writes, I want to read. I have said before that I would prefer 1 or 2 well thought-out and quality books in a year from a favorite author than 10-15 mediocre ones. I will wait for quality and Smith delivers. Latakia is the story of a gay man stuck in a rut that gets thrown into a life or death situation and his journey back… literally. He is rescued by the US Special Forces team and they all go on a journey of discovery and brotherhood. I recommend this book every chance I get.
Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane – I thought I was going to have to include this one in my perennial favorites that were read too soon list, however… I read it for the first time this past January. I don’t know how I held out so long! I have since read it 2 more times and am getting read to read it again in the coming months. This is a long-time friends to lovers story that will both rip out your heart and make you soar. Crick and Deacon on some of the best men you will meet and they surround themselves with an awesome cast of characters. They are a shining example of a family you choose instead of one you are born into. They don’t always make the right choices, and you have to watch them struggle through some bad ones… but you see that with the help of that family, they can weather any storm.
The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux – Thought you were going to get away without an Abi Roux title in the mix? Not bloody likely (sorry, I read a lot of British authors… . I think I have said before that Abi Roux is an Auto-Buy for me (if you haven’t heard that, check out my Authors I Love page). So… I auto-bought Gravediggers Brawl as soon as it came out… then it languished on my TBR pile for a while. Finally one of my Goodreads friends kicked me in the butt and told me to read the damn thing, and I did. I couldn’t put it down in fact. The characters were lovable and interesting. The banter was fabulous. The setting was unique.
Into Deep Waters by Kaje Harper – I actually debated which Kaje Harper title to include. I thought about including Life Lessons, but since the 4th book in the series, Learning Curve was on part 1 of the list, I refrained. I do love that series, however. I chose to include Into Deep Waters because it is one of those books that I avoided reading for the longest time because it was in a genre of which I am not a huge fan. However, the story transcended the genre and pulled at my heart strings. It is above love between two sailors when such things weren’t even the thing of jokes. It is about love that lasts through time. Just don’t read the last couple of chapters while you are in public… This is another free read and was part of Goodread’s M/M Romance Group’s 2012 Don’t Read in the Closet event, Love is Always Write.
Change of Heart (series) by Mary Calmes – Some people call Ms. Calmes a bit formulaic, but if it is a formula that works for you, she is a wonderful read. She is great at pairing the Uber-alpha male top with the twinkish bratty but fiercely independent and somewhat snarky bottom. The Change of Heart series does follow this formula, but she uses it to create a world of were-panthers that I just never wanted to leave and have returned to many times over. There are 4 books in this series and they really must be read in order to completely understand the world. I couldn’t pick just one to feature here.
Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin – When I first read Arvin, I read his M/M Romance novel Simple Men. I enjoyed it, but there wasn’t anything that just screamed out to me, so I read more of his stuff kind of in that mind set. Then about 6 months went by and I picked up Woke Up In a Strange Place, again. When I gave it a second chance, I got it. Arvin is a genius. His mind is definitely a twisted place, but he can translate it to the page and make you see what he is seeing. It is a magical and moving journey. Underlying the entire journey is a story of a true and lasting love. Another of my favorite authors called it “the most romantic book [he's] ever read” and I can definitely see where he gets that opinion. Buy it. Read it. You can read my full review here.
Power Exchange by AJ Rose – If you read Part 1 of this little literary love fest, I am sure you saw this one coming. Gavin and Ben are definitely one of my favorite pairings of the year. (and again, that cover GAWH!) Gavin is a police detective investigating a series of very graphic murders within the BDSM scene. Specifically, he is investigating very degrading murders of otherwise well-loved Doms. Ben is the psychiatrist and Dom brought in as a consultant in the case. When Gavin chooses to learn the ways of BDSM first hand, Ben is there to teach him… but there is so much more than just that. The investigation is number 1, but the love is felt throughout the book (which is something I often find missing in BDSM-themed novels).
Comment to be entered to win. Answer the question: “What is your favorite GLBTQ book you read this year?” Final selection will be made randomly. Make sure I have your email address (if you put it in the little box labeled “email” that is sufficient). Must be 18 or older, void were prohibited, etc, etc, etc. You must be able to receive e-book gifts from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks. Contest ends on 10 Dec 2013 at 11:59pm CST.
Don’t forget to enter to win a book from Part 1 of the list (You have until 6 Dec to enter that one).
Eli Easton is a relatively new author in the MM Genre, but I am hoping she will be around for a while. She has quickly gained Auto-Buy status for me. Blame It On The Mistletoe is a perfect example of why this is. She writes incredibly adorable, dorky, lovable characters and does so with sensitivity and humor. They are written as real people, not over the top caricatures. Fielding Monroe is a very sheltered and intelligent boy going to college for the first time as a grad student. Mick is a former football player, looking to buckle down and take his studies seriously. They end up as housemates and Mick takes it upon himself to broaden Fielding’s horizons (not that way, you perv). They become best friends, but do they want more? It really was a sweet tale told in the first person from Mick’s POV. As such, we don’t know for sure how much is Fielding is manipulating the situation, but I had a smile through most of it. There was the inevitable heart-string pulling, of course. The prose was written with subtle humor, for which I have a great affinity.
If you love adorkable characters, and you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend Puzzle Me This by Ms. Easton as well. Now I need to go get Superhero…
Yep everyone does it. It is in the blogger handbook. At the end of the year, we make lots and lots of lists that no one cares about. Well I blog about books, so my lists will be about books. I think I am going to divide this into 3 parts.
Part 1 – Best books I read in 2013 that were RELEASED this year.
Part 2 – Best Books I have read in 2013 that were released anytime BEFORE 2013.
Part 3 – Best Books of 2013 I have yet to read.
Can you guess which part this is? Yep, that is right, part 1. The Best of 2013 releases (that I have read, of course).
And just for grins and giggles. I will give one lucky commenter a e-book copy of their choice from this list See below for rules. (this is not a sponsored giveaway, this is just because I want to spread the love of these fabulous books)
Best of Brandilyn’s Read Shelf 2013 Edition.
I read a lot of novels, novellas, and shorts. Some are fabulous, some are great, some of horrible and most are in between. I however can NOT read every single book that is released in the Gay Fiction and MM Romance genres. I am only 1 woman, and I have a day/night/all-the-time job (they are 6, 4, and 2). So that being said, if your favorite is NOT on the list, don’t blast me. I would love it if you would mention it in the comments. I may already have it on my to-read list, or I may not and would love to add it. For what it is worth, I read about 700 titles this year, and this list only contains 11. Needless to say I probably even left off a few of my favorites
Learning Curve by Kaje Harper- Book 4 in the Life Lessons series that follows the life and love of Minneapolis detective Mac and high school teacher, Tony. Aside from Kaje’s wonderful prose and impeccably designed characters, I love that Tony and Mac live in the real world and have to face real problems. They do not get an instant HEA, but they persevere togethe.
Touch & Geaux and Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux- Yes, these are two books from two different series, but they are set in the same universe. I love Ty & Zane (didn’t know that did you??) and I love the sidewinder boys (as introduced in Book 4 of the Cut & Run series – Divide & Conquer). Shock & Awe is the best of both worlds and is a must for any fan of Cut & Run (just as I say the Warrior’s Cross is a must between Divide & Conquer and Armed & Dangerous). Touch & Geaux is the 7th book in the award winning Cut & Run series. It is probably one of my favorites. It is not all sunshine and roses, as T&Z face some serious shit, both externally and in their relationship. I have it on good authority that their angst is not yet over… but I trust the Roux will eventually give these two the HEA for which they are working so hard.
The Sky Is Dead by Sue Brown – Prepare to have your heart ripped out, but don’t worry Sue will repair it before the book is done. Danny has lost everything. He is gay, homeless, and without much hope. A friendship with Harry starts to give him hope, then tragedy strikes and all the happiness Danny has found is suddenly ripped away. Journey with Danny as he finds love and life again.
Hidden Away by J.W. Kilhey – Okay so this one was totally released on 31 Dec 2012… but close enough. It is very rare for a historical romance to get me talking. Hidden Away was just awe inspiring. John and Kurt are both survivors of World War II, but from very different worlds. Kurt is quiet and reserved. John is just coasting through life. They come together to face fears and memories to try to find a future.
Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna – So I really wanted to read this one with all the great buzz it had been getting. In the end I wasn’t disappointed. Lucas and Noah were HOT together. It is the first in a series, the second is not quite as good, but still a very enjoyable read. Mix wartime with shifters and an alpha werewolf who finds his alpha human and you have heat and intrigue.
Undertow by Andrea Speed – When I started reading Prey, the first book in this series, I had serious doubts I would ever finish it. It had a bit of a slow start. By the 75% mark, I was absolutely hooked and by the end of book 2, I was completely obsessed with this series. Undertow is the 7th book in the Infected series and the series as a whole just keeps getting better. Roan is the only known, surviving virus-child, a Human born with the were-cat virus. He is a former cop and current Privateeye who specializes in dealing with crimes commited by other infecteds. Some of whom chose their affliction, some who have not. The affects of the werecat virus on society has many parallels to other polarizing viruses that are present in our world. Speed does a fabulous job with this series.
An Intrepid Trip to Love by Charlie Cochet - A cute little Husky-shifter story. A little family drama mixed in with a Friends to Lovers romance. It is part of the M/M Romance group on Goodreads annual Don’t Read in the Closet event – Love Has No Boundaries, so it is a free download (I recommend you check out the other titles as well).
Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez – Another free read from the Love Has No Boundaries event. It is a short little read (only about 10K words), but something about it just stuck with me. It is a dystopic tale of a prisoner and his guard. Things aren’t quite what they seem, of course. It is well written and just drew me in from the prompt and left me wanting more at the end. A sure sign of a great read.
Safeword by AJ Rose – I was in love with this book before I ever picked it up. For one is has an absolutely GORGEOUS cover. For another, I loved the first book, Power Exchange, so completely, it was a given that I would be reading Safeword. Safeword picks up about a year after the events of Power Exchange. Both of our heroes, Gavin and Ben, are dealing with the fallout of the vicious attack on not only their persons but also their lifestyle. They work together to give each other what they need without going beyond what they can handle. I love this duo of books because it isn’t a matter of BDSM can heal all wounds. The characters have to work in other ways to heal and the BDSM is a side effect of that healing. Gavin and Ben are neither one perfect, but they are perfect together.
The Flesh Cartel, Season 2: Fragmentation by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz – Okay so this serial fiction started in 2012, but it has had 10 releases this year. This is not an easy read, but it is oh so good. You can read my review of Books 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 here on this blog. Mat and Dougie are taken from their home and sold into slavery. No this isn’t a historical, this is a modern tale of human trafficking from the inside. You alternate between wanting them to break and wanting them to fight. You rip out your heart, but have to wait to have it repaired. The series will be coming to a close in 2014.
Quid Pro Quo by LA Witt and Aleksandr Voinov – One of the hotest reads of the year. It is the beginning of a series centered around the high-end club, Market Garden, and the high-end rent boys that work there. QPQ focuses on Tristan, Jared, and their rich, voyeuristic client, known as Rolex. It is basically one scene, but did I mention it was freakin HOT. The series is available through book 5 currently with at least 1 more title to come. I have been promised, by Ms. Witt, that we will get to see more of Tristan, Jared and Rolex in an upcoming release. You can read my full review here.
Comment to be entered to win. Answer the question: “Why do you love M/M Romance?” Final selection will be made randomly. Make sure I have your email address (if you put it in the little box labeled “email” that is sufficient). Must be 18 or older, void were prohibited, etc, etc, etc. You must be able to receive e-book gifts from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks. Contest ends on 6 Dec 2013 at 11:59pm CST.
Blurb: Joe wakes up in a barley field with no clothes, no memories, and no idea how he got there. Before he knows it, he’s off on the last great journey of his life. With his soul guide Baker and a charge to have courage from a mysterious, alluring, and somehow familiar Stranger, Joe sets off through a fantastical changing landscape to confront his past.
The quest is not without challenges. Joe’s past is not always an easy thing to relive, but if he wants to find peace—and reunite with the Stranger he is so strongly drawn to—he must continue on until the end, no matter how tempted he is to stop along the way.
I am often asked “Why do you re-read books when you have so many more to read?”. Well Woke Up in a Strange Place is a perfect example of why. The first time I read this book (about 6 months ago), I knew it was a beautiful world, but I didn’t connect with it. I knew it was more a function of what was going on at the time than the quality of the book. So I decided to give it another try. I am so thankful I did.
I don’t know how I missed the richness of the world Arvin created. Woke Up in a Strange Place is a unique and beautiful view of a journey to sole mates and there HEA. Instead of just taking the standard boy meets boy with time jumps, Arvin takes the reader on a fantastical journey in the afterlife. Each being he meets along the way is symbolic of an important event in his life, eventually culminating in the purpose of his journey. It is a world of reunions and miracles. It is a world of magic and magical creatures. It is a world that is made based on each individual’s desires. It is a world that shows us the issues present in our world. It is a world that shows us the good as well. It is a world where your choices in life have consequences. It is a world where the end is merely the beginning.
I was listening to this book when I got the call that there was a death in my family. I wasn’t sure, at that point, if I wanted to continue the book. However, I think maybe the universe was telling me this morning to pick up this book again for a reason. It was just what I needed today.
So I was having a conversation with my sister yesterday. She asked me if I bought books anymore or if I just read ARCs (Advanced Review Copies). So that got into a conversation about what I review. I decided to share it here since you are, after all, my readers.
What do I review here on Brandilyn Reviews Books? Well that is kind of an easy question and kind of a complicated question. The simple answer is, I review what I want to review. Some of my books come to me by way of ARCs, some by way of giveaways, but the vast majority of books come from books I purchase. One of my favorite places to get books is directly from the publisher websites, but many are through Amazon, B&N, and Audible.com. Some books I actually have from multiple sources (I have a ton of Audiobooks that I also have in eBook format). My Goodreads shelves and Calibre save my life in keeping up with all the books I own. I have a few paperbacks that I have won along the way, but most of my books are electronic (harder for my kids to destroy).
Why, if I can get free books, do I buy so many? (I know my husband is eager to know the answer to this one.) Well that is simple (and 2 fold) 1. I love supporting the authors that I love to read. MM Romance is small genre that gets less exposure than others. These aren’t the JK Rowlings making millions of dollars (I love the Harry Potter series, so don’t take this as a slight. Simply an observation). Many of these authors write as a second job, because they can not afford to quit their first, yet (I am ever hopeful). I am the same way with my music. 2. I am easily distracted by shiny. Just because I can’t get an ARC, I don’t want to pass up a fabulous read.
How do I decide what to review? Why are all your reviews 3* and above? Well if I like a book I want to share it with everyone. I am not a critical critic. I like what I like, and I know that my tastes don’t extend to the rest of the world. If a plot is engaging, I can forgive editing and proofreading mistakes (don’t tell my sister the editor that). If the care about the characters, I can forgive a minor plot hole or 2. If the world is so vivid I want to live there, I can suspend my disbelief for the 100-400 pages of the book. I often see “that isn’t the way it works in the real world” as a reason to knock off a star… My answer to that is I get enough real world in the real world. I read for the escape. I know that my mood and distraction level while reading can affect my overall feel for a book. So I won’t blast a book if it doesn’t suit me. In the end, a book will tell me if it needs a review or not. Some books leave me speechless. Those almost always get a review here and/or on Goodreads. Some books just demand an explanation of why I thought what I thought. Some books I just want to share with everyone I know and tell them “BUY THIS BOOK NOW”. Finally, some books are given to me to review (that would be the aforementioned ARCs). I try to get to every one of these and they get a review on Goodreads at least. Only my very favorite make it here… but again, see #2 above
You are a happily married hetero mother of 3, Why Gay and MM Romance? This is my favorite question, because I get it A LOT. I read all the time. I am rarely without my kindle or nook, but, even if I happen to leave those home, I have my phone on which I can listen or read. I will be sitting outside one of my kids’ gymnastics class and will be asked what are you reading. It shocks the hell out of them with I don’t respond with the latest Nora Roberts or whatever is #1 on the NYT best seller list. I love those opportunities to spread the MM love. So what is the answer? It is complicated Yes there are the flippant answers about girly bits and two cocks, etc… but that isn’t the real answer. For the real answer, let us look at one of my favorite MM Romance themes, Gay For You/Out For You. It is not my favorite because I believe you can be gay for one person, but because, to me, it says, “I don’t care what the world says is right. I don’t care how I have always thought about the world and myself. I love you and I want to be with you and only you, everyone else be damned.” I love that MC in Gay and MM romance are people that have to go up against more than just their own brains and lack of communication skills. I love that, even though we obviously do not fight the same battles, I can connect with and empathize with these characters. I love that the community of authors and readers is fairly close knit (I WILL make it to GRL one day dammit). In all honesty, reading this genre has opened my eyes to the world around me in a way main-stream fiction never has.
How did you get started reading MM Romance? What was your first MM Romance book? Another set of my favorite questions… How did I get started? I completely blame my sister on that one. I was very happily devouring more mainstream erotic romances (mostly cowboys and alpha males) when I started talking to my sister about the books she reads and edits. She suggested a few titles that I needed to read as did some of my friends in the M/M Romance group over on Goodreads. My the time I finished TJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Abigail Roux/Madeleine Urban’s Cut & Run series (which at the time was only at 5 books and is no longer co-written), Mary Calmes A Matter of Time series, RJ Scott’s Heart of Texas, I was completely hooked. These are all favorites and frequent re-reads.
Do you still read M/F titles? Not too often anymore. There are a few series that started when I was reading M/F titles that I keep thinking I will get back to, but . I actually just reviewed the last in a M/F YA trilogy I started way back when and adore, Renaissance Man. But in all honesty, no I really don’t read much M/F. I don’t actually read all that much M/M/F either. I joke about it being about the “girly bits” but really it is about the dynamics between the MCs. Of course when I started reading M/M I said “no paranormal” and now I love that trope as well, so I reserve the right to change my mind.
After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet—after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.
Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part . . . or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address.
Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other—friends and brothers in arms, or something even deeper?—before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.