Genre: M/M

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cardenas

Posted September 3, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Strongest Shape by Tessa CardenasReviewer: Tracy
The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cárdenas
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 28, 2009
Genres: M/M
Pages: 232
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three-half-stars

After his boyfriend breaks up with him, fashion photographer Caleb Moss finds himself alone in Los Angeles looking for work and friends. He finds both in a group of aspiring musicians, who offer help through their connections. But while building a strong friendship with Scott and Chris, a startling sexual tension flares to life among the three men, and Caleb is afraid the new friendships will fall apart.

It won't be easy for Caleb, trying to find his way when Scott and Chris invite him into their relationship. They face criticism from their friends, but they'll struggle to stay together because they have discovered a three-fold love.

This review was originally posted on August 10, 2011.

This story centers around 3 men, Caleb, Scott and Chris. Caleb is a fashion photographer who followed his boyfriend out to California from New York and then got dumped. He meets Jason who introduces him to Scott. Scott is dating Chris but Chris is on tour (Scott and Chris are both singer/songwriters) and Caleb is warned to not get too chummy with Scott as Chris will be extremely jealous.

When Chris gets home, however, he’s not jealous and the trio become friends. Caleb finds himself liking both men but he doesn’t want to set Chris’s jealousy off so he avoids the couple for a couple of weeks. Chris and Scott go looking for him and bring him back into their fold. They want to be closer friends, in fact, they both like Caleb and want to be a trio instead of a pair. Caleb isn’t sure it will work but he decides to go for it. The trio have their work cut out for them but it’s the work that makes the book…work.

This story really has one main focus and that is the relationship between these 3 men and all of its quirks. Chris and his possessiveness, Caleb and his insecurities and Scott and his devil may care attitude. I really like that aspect of the book as we got to see in depth stuff about the men. How they dealt with letting their friends know about the relationship, as well as their parents, or not. I loved how the men stuck together through thick and thin. Yes, Caleb had to have his breathing time and his space at some points but it was good.

Were there things about the story that I would have liked to have seen? Of course. I would have loved to have known more about the men and their jobs. We know that Chris and Scott are singer/songwriters but not to what level. Near the end Caleb mentions something about what would happen if they were ever signed so I assumed they weren’t at that level. Yet, Chris was on tour at one point and recordings were mentioned. It was a bit confusing for me and I either wanted to know more…or less. lol

One of the things I wish for in most of the books I read is more communication! In this story the guys were horrible at it – especially Chris and Caleb – and didn’t want to be “girly” and share their feelings. If you can’t share them with the ones you love who can you share them with? Of course the non-communication fed into Caleb’s doubts about his place in the relationship but I very much liked how the men worked it out.

Overall it was a good book. I’m not usually a fan of m/m/m stories but this one definitely worked for me.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL Langley

Posted January 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 14 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL LangleyReviewer: Tracy
His Convenient Husband by J.L. Langley
Series: Innamorati #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: September 4, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: M/M
Pages: 134
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A temporary arrangement? Don't bet the ranch on it.

Innamorati, Book 1

At the tender age of seven, newly orphaned Micah Jiminez lost everything and got lucky. The Delany family opened their hearts and their home, treated him like one of their own. One Delany in particular, though, became more than a brother to Micah. The handsome and protective Tucker is the man to whom he wants to give his love.
But after a single passionate night together, Tucker rebuffs him and hightails it to Dallas to pursue his dreams. Leaving Micah to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and feeling like a fool.

The impending death of the Delany patriarch brings an unsavory relative out of the woodwork, threatening Micah's beloved adopted family. They're going to need all hands in the fight to keep The Bar D from being pulled out from under them all including Tucker. Micah steels himself to convince the man he can't forget to come home.

To his everlasting surprise, it's Tucker who comes up with the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience to Micah. His gut tells him Tucker's motivation involves nothing more than saving the ranch. Now he just has to convince his fragile heart.

This title has been revised and expanded by more than 10,000 words from its original published version.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 9, 2010.

The blurb tells us a lot about what’s going on so I won’t go into too much detail. Micah, who’s had a thing for Tucker for most of his life, goes to Tucker because he’s in a bad spot. The Bar D is in financial trouble and Tucker’s grandad, owner of the ranch, is dying. Micah needs Tucker to look over the will that Micah found to see if anything can be done about saving the ranch from the hands of the oldest son, Duncan. Tucker decides to help the ranch out by marrying Micah. You see in the will it says that the first person to marry gets the ranch – even if the marriage is between two men. The marriage only has to be legal somewhere not necessarily in Texas, which is where the story takes place.

I think this story was a bit old school in the fact that the marriage was of convenience. I didn’t mind that so much as I minded the fact that Tucker thought of it and acted on it so quickly. I realize that time was a wastin’ but it happened so fast I was a bit surprised.

At first I thought that Tucker was a complete bastard. The way he was treating his current man-interest was a bit shocking but I soon came to see that it was his way of dealing with men that he truly didn’t want to get too involved with because he still had a thing for Micah – even though he wouldn’t admit to it. He changed his tune once he was back on the ranch and became a much nicer guy. A bit stifling for Micah but with good intentions.

I enjoyed Micah’s character’s strength. He did what needed to be done around the ranch and the Delaney men listened to him. When Tucker came back to the ranch and tried to take over a bit I was happy to see that Micah stood up for himself.

That said, I wish that the story had been a bit longer. I would have liked to have seen a bit more time taken in making the decisions that were made and maybe delving into a few more characters a little deeper but what was there, I liked. I understand this is an extended version of a shorter story that was previously published. Maybe I can hope for an even more extended version? lol I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Us (Him, #2) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #2
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Him (Him #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 322
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

After reading Him, I immediately picked up Us. I proceeded to read it in one day. You guys know me…that rarely happens. Until the end of September I don’t even remember the last time I read a book in a day. The last book I remember reading in a day was Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Which was quite a feat, I have to say.

This book picks up exactly where Us left off. Wes and Jamie are in Toronto, living together as “roommates” although they’re really shacking up. fans myself These two are it. They are love. However it’s different this time around. See, Wes has to go back into the closet during his rookie season with his hockey team. He knows that coming out as gay could mess up his future. While he’s never been ashamed of who he is nor ashamed of Jamie, he will not risk his hockey career for anything.

Jamie has started coaching younger kids, which he loves. He did like playing hockey, but coaching is his niche. He loves the challenge of it and seeing the results. He would be completely happy with his life if he and Wes didn’t have to hide. The only sanctuary they have is their apartment. It’s only there that they can truly be themselves, be together, just be. Then one of Wes’ hockey teammates moves in upstairs. If Wes and Jamie didn’t think things could get worse, they were wrong.

This book is really about two people trying to be themselves and be together, but having to make a sacrifice for something that is important to them both. Wes hates being in the closet. He’s never been in the closet and he’s proud of who he is. He thought Jamie would be more afraid of coming out with him, but even he gets tired on the charade. They barely see each other due to Wes’ hockey schedule and the precious time they used to have at home continually gets interrupted by Blake, Wes’ teammate.

Then Jamie gets sick and all bets are off. Wes no longer cares if he’s dropped by the team because of the negative publicity. He will not leave Jamie alone in the hospital. It all comes out from there and both Wes and Jamie are relieved though they certainly wouldn’t have come out like that.

Jamie has a hard recovery. This was written incredibly well. Even men have a hard time. Even men can fall into a depression. The thing is that men think they should always be strong. Jamie can’t accept the fact that he’s physically weaker because of his illness. He doesn’t count on the depression either. What he does know is that he has to get away from Wes and he doesn’t even know why.

This part of the book was heartbreaking. They both were just wrecked. I just loved this book from beginning to end. I’m really excited to read Good Boy, which is Blake and Jess’ story. I found Blake incredibly annoying at the beginning, but I adored him by the end. He stuck with Wes and Jamie through everything, proving himself as one of their best friends. He was fantastic.

I highly recommend this series. It is amazing. Don’t pass it up because it’s m/m. If you’ve ever wanted to give m/m a try, this is the series to get started with. Seriously, get started.

Wes + Jamie = FOREVA.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Him

four-half-stars


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Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 19, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Him (Him #1) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #1
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Us (Him, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 360
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend... and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Due to the fact that I no longer have an aversion to first person, I decided to pick this book up. Elle Kennedy is my girl (although she doesn’t know it) and Sarina Bowen is Holly & Rowena’s (though I don’t think she knows it). This is seriously an ace writing team, so I was really excited to read this book. It’s the first m/m that I’ve read in sometime. I really decided to read it after I read Tracy’s review of Us. I just couldn’t not read it.

Ryan Wesley never expected to see Jamie Canning again. After becoming best friends a hockey camp over the summers when they were young, Wes ruined it the night he made an unforgivable bet with Jamie. Wes left camp and never looked back although he regularly regrets it. Even when he was eighteen, Wes know that Jamie was the only man for him. Problem with that was that Jamie is as straight as an arrow.

Fast forward several years and Wes and Jamie meet at the championship for college hockey. Seeing Jamie makes Wes realized that he didn’t just lose the man he loved, he also lost his best friend. He decides to apologize, which is something he should have done a long time ago.

Jamie never knew why Wes disappeared from his life. Hurt for the friend that he lost, Jamie is thrilled to see him again. He still doesn’t know why Wes left camp so suddenly. All they did was a little experimenting and Wes paid up on a bet. He doesn’t even consider that the bet could have been the reason Wes left and never spoke to him again. He was wrong.

Knowing he was going to lose Jamie for a second time, Wes makes a rash decision. He contacts the director of the very same hockey camp that he and Jamie went to as kids and offers to be a coach. Jamie goes back every summer to coach. All he wants to do is spend six weeks with the man he loves before he heads to Toronto and the NHL. It doesn’t even matter that Jamie doesn’t know it.

I found this book incredibly realistic. After a hot night between the sheets, Jamie grapples with his sexuality. He’s never been attracted to men, but he can’t stop what he feels for Wes. When their summer comes to an end, Jamie won’t let their time to be over. He loves Wes just as much as Wes loves him and nothing, not even Wes’ career is going to stand in the way of him being with the man he loves.

The book wasn’t as much about being gay as it was about finding your person. Wes was Jamie’s person. Jamie was Wes’ person. The fact that they were both men meant little to Jamie. He was a little naïve though. He didn’t realize how difficult it was for Wes to be out of the closet as a gay man. He soon finds out what Wes faces when he faces it himself. That’s still not enough to keep him away from Wes.

I loved Wes and Jamie. Loved them. They were truly meant for each other. Not just romantically, but as best friends. If you’re looking for a good m/m, this is your book.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Him

four-stars


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Guest Review: Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight

Posted May 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Kelpie Blue by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Kelpie Blue by Mell Eight
Series: Out of Underhill #1
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: March 21st 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: M/M, New Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 228
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mama always said, don't go near the lake. Rin already knew the forest was filled with dark things, but aside from Mama no one had warned him about the lake. One day, Rin wanders off to the lake, where a beautiful blue horse asks him to go for a swim, and Rin learns too late it may not be a swim he survives.

Kelpie Blue is an enchanting little story about Rin and his kelpie boyfriend Blue.  It follows along with their lives, but it also gives us an insight into how they met, etc., by having Blue read Rin’s diary (and add his own commentary which is pretty damned funny). We get a taste of Underhill in this story as we find out the truth about Rin’s father and those who would hurt Rin, Blue and Mama to get what they want.

I loved this story.  I really liked just about everything I’ve read by Mell Eight and this was just a fun, lovely story.  Rin and Blue were so damned cute together and I loved that Rin didn’t even have a thought about not falling in love with Blue just because he was a kelpie. Blue cracked me up with his comments in the diary as well as his thoughts and words throughout the book.

I wish we’d gotten to spend a little more time in Underhill in the book, but I understood why it was necessary not to do so.  I’m incredibly curious to see what the next book will bring us.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Out of Underhill

four-stars


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