A. F. Zoelle-Bet on Love

A. F. Zoelle is a new author to me, but I think that won’t last very long. I enjoyed Bet on Me, and I’m looking forward to the next books in the series, because I’m pretty sure that they are going to be good. There were a couple of places that I thought that this one was a tiny bit problematical, but it wasn’t anything serious, and it may have been problematical from only my viewpoint. Like I said, it wasn’t enough to cancel out my enjoyment of the books, so there’s that.

So, Rhys is in Las Vegas to marry his witch of a girlfriend, Olivia. He’s not happy, and he’s sitting on his bed with his best friend and best man, Lucien AKA Luci, talking about it. That’s when he has the best bad idea ever. What would happen if he got married to someone BEFORE he had to marry Olivia? Just walk into a wedding chapel, find an Elvis impersonator, and get married? Obviously he was just little tipsy. And Luci was just tipsy enough to go along with it.

The next morning, Rhys wakes up with a naked body next to him. The problem? It’s not who he expects it to be. It’s not Olivia, it’s definitely Luci. The two of them finally figure out that they are well and truly legally married. And oh, Luci is wearing Olivia’s wedding ring.

So, I read a lot of MM, and I’ve read a lot about a gay man being in love with his straight best friend, and his straight best friend finally figuring out he’s not so straight, AKA gay for you or GFY. This one is almost like that, but not quite. In fact, as I was reading it, I realized that I couldn’t really come up with a trope for it.

Here’s the thing, these guys have been best friends since pretty much birth. There was some experimenting when they were teenagers, but they managed to shove it down inside themselves (that’s what he said) for whatever reason. And in the years since, they’ve both thought that they were straight and have been with women. So, here’s the question, are they gay, bi, pan? That’s not anything that AF goes into in this one, and you know what? I like that. They aren’t trying to figure out what the label is, they are trying to figure out what the relationship is and what they are to each other. I think it works quite well.

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OMG, the scene at breakfast with Olivia and her family and the scene in the honeymoon suite had me laughing my ass off.

OK, that’s all for this one! Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

2019 Round Up-Top 10 MM Pt. 2

As a totally off-topic notification, I’m now an Amazon Affiliate, and any qualifying purchases can give me a commission. 

If you missed the first part of this list, go check it out here. And now, on to the second part of the list.

AJ Sherwood-Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case

Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case is a totally fun title, and it’s a great book. Before you read the book, you need to make sure that you read the trigger warnings, because they are hilarious. This is the TW and tags from this one.

“Trigger Warnings:
Your average cop show violence and criminals

Tags:
Companionable snark, Flirting, Kissing, Jon needs a hug, Donovan gives the best hugs, Getting together, Self-esteem issues, Explicit content, Anal Sex, Romantic Sex, Random shooting, Which Donovan isn’t happy about, Donovan is a gentleman, Sort of, Jon just makes it REALLY REALLY HARD Okay?, Bisexual character, Public displays of affection, Muscles, Communication, Healthy relationships, The fluff might kill you, Supernatural elements, Modern with Magic, Feels, All the Feels, Mostly accurate medical stuff, Multiple electronics died in the creation of this story, blame Jon”

Anyway, I would probably put this in the urban fantasy because it has a heavy paranormal side. Jon is a psychic who has some serious strong powers. He helps to solve crimes for the police and for anyone who hires the agency he works for. He is in need of an anchor, someone who can help him shield. He also needs a bodyguard, which is where Donovan comes in. This is a slow burn, but a good one. There are also 2 direct sequels, and a spinoff novella. So worth reading.

Adara Wolf-Blue Storm

Adara tends to write on the heavier end of kink and dub/noncon. Blue Storm does dabble into that side of the pool, but not as much as some of her other books. In this one, people have some basic magic, which lets them know their true names, which protects their souls. Then, there are the Nameless, who don’t have magic, and have to be bound as slaves, and named as their owners or they basically splinter into painful pieces. Blue Storm was named by his owners, and the book is about his struggle with his name and with what his owners want.

Barrie Farris-Ingenious

Ingenious is a dystopian story. The way that it works is that women have taken over the world and currently run it. Men rise and fall by the women that they marry and if they can breed children. Enter Quiggs who is a bloody genius, Einstein and DaVinci mushed up together. There is great world building in here, and the relationships between Quiggs, Max, and Beau are really interesting. I am eagerly waiting for the next book, but it is taking its own sweet time.

Susan Hawke-How Not to Tuck

How Not to Tuck is a novella in the Lovestrong series. This is the story of Larry, AKA Honey Combover, a drag queen we meet in the first book. Mama Honey is hilarious, especially when it comes to the descriptions of her tuck failing and her python. Yeah, it’s just that big and that funny. For an even better description, and one that goes on for several pages, check out How Not to Blend, the first book in the series. It’s a quick read, and one that’s just a lot of fun to read.

K Webster-The Glue

Yup, The Glue is K’s second appearance on this list. And this one isn’t technically an MM book, it’s an MMF, but I’ve decided that it counts. This is one of K’s taboo treats, starring Aidan and married couple Vale and Vaughn, one his boss, the other his professor. Like all of the other taboo treats, it’s a standalone, but it is all interconnected with other books. I loved watching Aidan figuring out who he was and what he wanted. It’s a very sexy story, and I am always looking forward to K’s new books.

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Posy Roberts-Socks For an Otter

Posy Roberts is a new author to me, so a new author to the blog. But I really wanted to write about her newest book, Socks For an Otter, because it really just gave me the feelz.

Before we get into the story, I need to tell you that there are no real otters in this story. Instead, the otter in the story is a gay man. There are a lot of terms that people use to describe various types of gay men. The only two we need to worry about right now are otters and wolves. But first, we need to understand bears. Yeah, I know, all these terms. So, bears are the big, hairy, cuddly gay men. They like beer, wear flannel and plaid, you know the kind. Think lumberjack. That’s the surface level description. Then you have otters. Otters are basically bears-lite. They are generally leaner and less hairy. A wolf is somewhere in between an otter and a bear, but they are more aggressive than bears are. But not aggressive in a bad way. Now that we know that, we can talk about this story.

Sebastian, Bash, is a young, homeless gay man on the streets of Washington DC. He has been homeless for nearly a year now, and it hasn’t been easy. He was born a rich boy. He had all the money ever, all the privilege, and was basically brought up to be decorative. Then his father kicked him out, without a cent. No friends, no money, no nothing, Bash ends up on the streets. He left NYC to go to DC because he thought the weather would be a little better, but this winter is showing him that he’s wrong. It wouldn’t be so bad, except the city just did a huge sweep and trashed a lot of stuff, including the tent that he had worked so hard to get. Now, it’s freezing, a huge storm is coming in, he’s starving, he doesn’t have a warm coat, his shoes are falling apart, and on his way into the food pantry, he ran into some asshole who is donating blue crabs, of all things.

Louis grew up on Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes quite literally on the bay. His father was a water man, and he would go out and help his father fish. On this snowy night, at Christmas time, he has just left his parents’ home with a whole buttload of crabs that his father caught. Louis has kept as many as he can eat, but he still has a lot, so he decides that he will take them to the food pantry where he often donates and volunteers. He does a lot of work with the homeless and low income population as a volunteer, plus for work, he helps to create policy around those same things. On his way into the pantry, he runs into a guy because he was busy looking at his cell phone. The guy kinda yells at him, but Louis, for some reason, invites the guy to come to dinner at his house. They both end up in the pantry, through different routes, and are introduced to each other. Eventually, Bash gets convinced to go to Louis’ house for dinner.

One of the things that really got to me about this book is that it doesn’t glamourize homelessness. Nor does it gloss it over. We get what I think is a realistic look at homelessness, especially when it comes to being a single, gay man. There aren’t a lot of shelters that have space for single men, and there are a lot of shelters where queer people just aren’t safe, for whatever reason. And we get to see that from Bash’s POV.

Louis, for all of his knowledge and volunteer work, learns things from Bash, things that he would’ve never really thought of before. Like that there are a lot of things that get donated to shelters and food pantries that aren’t as helpful as they could be. And the fact that one of the number one things that shelters and other agencies look to be donated are socks. Which is where the title of the book comes from. Never, ever underestimate the power of a nice, warm pair of socks. They don’t have to be fancy, or have patterns on them, but a nice new pair of socks can be heaven. If you want to ever donate anything, socks, underwear, and toiletries are totally awesome, especially the sample or travel sizes. Or, you can totally use Bombas, who donate a pair of socks for every pair of socks purchased.

Part of the reason that this book gave me so many feelz is because my family was homeless when my son was a baby. My husband, infant son, and I spent his first Christmas in a family shelter. We lived there for several weeks, and then lived with my MIL. Being homeless is scary, and we were lucky enough to be in a shelter and not have to worry about living on the streets during a nasty winter, and it was nasty that year.

Anyway, I really like Sebastian. He learned a lot of things, but I don’t think that he really let what happened turn him really bitter, which could’ve happened, easily. I mean, no, he wasn’t all sweetness and light about it, but he didn’t turn hateful. He did turn guarded and walled himself off a lot, but yeah, who wouldn’t be when they were basically thrown away.

Louis has a really good heart. When he made mistakes, he did it because his heart was in the right place and he really wanted to try to do his best, not because he was a clueless idiot just fumbling around. And he tried really hard to not make those mistakes again. He learns from those mistakes and takes those lessons and goes on to do better.

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Javon had a good heart, but I think his implementation could’ve used some work.

I hate Bash’s dad.

OK, that’s all there is to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Charlie Godwyne-Equinox

I get ARCs from all over the place, PR companies, authors, Booksprout, and various teams I’m on. I get almost all my MM ARCs from LesCourt Author Services. I love working with LesCourt because I get a chance at a huuuuuge selection of ARCs. Also, the team is just awesome. So, why the big shout out to LesCourt in this post? Well, because without the ARC opportunities I get from them, I would likely not have found Equinox by Charlie Godwyne. And that would’ve been a total loss, because this book blew me the fuck away.

So, here’s our story. It takes place in Augarten, which is a huge park in the second district of Vienna. It’s a real place, with an amazing history, including morning concerts by Mozart and Strauss, and you should definitely go read more about it. I did. And Charlie is from Vienna and wanders around Augarten on the regular, and it’s incredibly obvious that Augarten is a place they love so much.

There is a man who wakes up in the garten, right at the base of a tree. He thinks that trees are talking to him. He can see the magic of the garten, the trees, the sky, and everything, and starts to see all kinds of things. He passes out again and wakes up to a priest praying over him. He was praying to High Archangel Gabriel to protect our first man.

When the first guy starts to talk to the priest, he realizes that he has no clue who he is. He has no memory, doesn’t know his name, nothing. So, the priest decides to call him Gabriel. Turns out that the priest’s name is Solomon, and the head of his order had a dream and sent him out to find Gabriel. Apparently, Gabriel lit up all kinds of magical and spiritual warning systems when he showed up in the garten.

Solomon takes him to the woman who runs part of Augarten, who ends up letting Gabriel stay there, as long as he’s willing to work. Solomon tells him that he’s going to help Gabriel do everything he can to help him get his memory back. Meanwhile, Gabriel does everything he can do to help out at Augarten and starts to make friends. Solomon teaches him to meditate, sings Latin prayers over him, takes him to appointments, and shows up regularly. Then there’s Florian.

Gabriel runs into Florian one night at the garten, when Florian is praying. He worships Welsh gods, and prays in Augarten. Gabriel hears him, and the language sounds familiar to him. This ends up with them being friends.

We also have Ian, who is really important to Gabriel and Solomon. We learn a lot of things from Ian. Of course, he knows so much he doesn’t share. The asshole.

Charlie is a debut author. This is their first book. And it’s not often that a debut author writes something that is so incredibly mindblowing. The book is very cohesive, and the world is incredibly detailed. There is a very tricky mix of time periods, to the point where you aren’t exactly sure what the time period is, which is fabulous. There is also a big mix of spirituality, religiousity, magicalness, and realism. Charlie managed to put it together seamlessly. It all fits in together easily, like that’s the way that the world really works and the way that the world really should. All of our main characters have that mix inside of them, in their own particular mix, and they each have their own way to express that and express that mix. That spirituality is a huge part of the book, but it’s not shoved in your face or anything. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of the book and the book would be lesser to take that part out of it.

This is a slow burn, a pretty slow burn. I love how the romance builds up the way that it does. If the romance had been just jumped into, I don’t think it would’ve worked as well, because Gabriel needed a better understanding of himself. The slow burn was necessary, and it works perfectly for this one.

I really, truly, deeply hope that Charlie Godwyne has an Augarten #2 in the works, because I’m dying to find out more.

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Ian’s angelic ass is sitting on so many secrets. I really want to know what all he knows. I have suspicions about him that I’m not telling.

OK, that’s all for this one. I can’t recommend it enough, I really can’t. Go check it out. Happy reading!

Lucy Lennox-Wilde Love

Wilde Love is one of the most epically beautiful MM romances that I have ever read. Lucy Lennox has written a story that spans decades, starting in 1968 and going all the way through today. I read this book when it first came out, and I bought it on Audible and listened to it on my drive earlier this week. If you have the chance to listen to any of the audiobooks of Lucy’s books, I highly recommend it. Michael Pauley’s voice is amazing, and it makes the story 1000000% more intense.

So, this book is part of the Forever Wilde series. It follows a family, named Wilde, who live in Hobie Texas. The family is huge, I mean, huge. The patriarchs, Doc and Grandpa, who ran a ranch, had 4 kids, 1 boy and 3 girls. Bill, their son, had 10 kids, and I can’t remember how many are boys and girls, but most of them are queer. The Forever Wilde books mostly focus on Bill Wilde’s boys, but a cousin and a friend of the family sneak through. This book, though, doesn’t follow the boys. It follows Doc and Grandpa from the first time they meet until now.

It starts in Vietnam, where Major Weston Marian is a medevac helo commander. He’s one of the guys that would rush to injured people and take them to the hospitals on base or the MASHs. One day, he meets Liam Wilde, green lieutenant and brand new medic, and thinks that Liam is the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. The problem is that it’s in the late ’60s and he’s in the military, and being out then would’ve meant a dishonorable discharge at best, and being beaten within a centimeter of his life at worst. So, he hides his attraction to Liam, and becomes the man’s friend. It helps that Liam is married with kids. Eventually, Liam and Major end up as part of a permanent team on a helicopter, and worked together as part of a team for quite a while.

But, as it does, life and team move on. Major rotates home, to a base in TX, not far from Hobie, actually. Doc makes it home and drags Major home to the ranch, where he meets Liam’s wife Betsy, their kids, and both sets of parents. West ends up being basically adopted by everyone, because he’s pretty awesome.

There’s so much more than what I’m going into here, including a lot of pain, emotional and physical. There’s also so much love and humor. You get to see through the eyes of a gay man during a time when being gay was enough to get you arrested. I mean, this happened a year before Stonewall and the birth of the Pride movement. Plus, you add in the stuff about Vietnam in the beginning and all the social upheaval of that. There’s just a lot of changes that happen while the book goes on. Lucy doesn’t document each and every change and say oh, this change, that change, and the other change, but what you do see is how the changes affect the main characters and their families.

I know that I am not doing Doc and Grandpa justice. They are an amazing couple and great characters on their own. They love each other fiercely. They love their children and grandchildren. Doc and Grandpa would do just about anything they had to for someone they love. That’s just the people that they are. Being near their love story is like standing next to a bonfire on a cold night. It gives you light and warmth and it makes you feel better and like things are all right in the world. It truly is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read.

Part of what makes this story so great is Betsy. She is an incredibly loving and generous woman and she puts her definite stamp on the whole book.

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Oh Betsy, sweet Betsy. Poor sweet Betsy. But without her, I don’t think anything else would’ve been as possible as it was.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out, really. Happy reading!

 

K Webster-Wicked Lies Boys Tell

Wicked Lies Boys Tell is the latest K. Webster book. She tends to write in a cycle, and at a certain point in the cycle, we get these really intense, emotional books. This is one of them. Lies is a very emotional and intimate book. It’s a new adult, friends to enemies to lovers, coming of age kind of thing.

So, the heroes of our story are Penn and Copeland. They are next door neighbors, and were best friends for years and years and years. They had a falling out 2 years ago, when they were 16, and they have spent the last 2 years apart. Copeland is furious with Penn, and pretty much hates him. Penn wishes that they could be friends again, and basically punishes himself by watching Cope. So, what happened? Well, Penn, who knows that he’s gay and has known that he’s gay for a long time, kissed Cope one night when they both drunk.

So, up to present day. Cope is angry at the world, especially Penn. He misses his best friend too. But, he has a girlfriend, one who is a total bitch may I add, and he’s doing everything he can to ignore any feelings he may ever have. Penn is the toast of the school, but he’s slowly falling apart.

One night, they both end up at the same party. And it’s a party where Penn gets into a fight and ends up breaking his golden football hand. Cope rescues him, takes him to the ER, and they get his hand casted. And this presents a problem. Penn’s dad is a huge fucking prick who is abusive toward him and his mom. He counts on Penn to reflect well back on him, and Penn no longer being a big football start doesn’t reflect well at all. Penn knows that he’s going to have a lot of problems with his dad, and his coach, who is also a prick. Luckily, Copeland has decided that he’s going to be in Penn’s life again.

I feel sorry for both guys. They are stuck between terrible rocks and even worse hard place. They both have terrible fathers who are only out for themselves and who don’t think anything of knocking their kids around. Penn’s mom is a junkie, which I don’t blame her for it, considering what her husband is like. The boys are trapped in horrible lives, and their fathers just want to make it worse and worse and worse.

Poor Penn. I mean, he took a chance and lost his best friend ever. He took a chance and boom, everything exploded in about a millisecond. It had to be so hard on him to lose everything all at once like that, especially when it comes to something like sexuality.

I was kind of mad at Cope because he didn’t really give Penn a chance to explain or anything. Yeah, I totally get why he was mad, but they had been best friends for more than a decade and he wasn’t willing to give him a chance to talk about it? I think part of that is the whole societal expectation thing. If Penn had been a girl instead of a boy, I don’t think that there would’ve been the same issue.

I loved watching the two of them together. There’s a whole great place where they are rebuilding their friendship as well as building their new relationship. It’s all familiar and different and new all at the same time. You get to see how much they were both torn apart by the things that had happened over the past couple of years.

I spent a lot of the time just close to crying because the guys were really pulling me apart, in the best way possible, if that makes sense. I don’t think that anyone else could’ve written this story. It’s a very K. Webster story, and it’s just a beautiful one.

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I can’t believe Penn’s father and what his plan was. Because damn. What a fuckhole.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Nicky James-Long Way Home

Guys, this one made me all teary more than once. Long Way Home is a really emotional book and a helluva journey. It is intense, loving, draining, fulfilling, and just devastatingly good.

The book follows the story of Gavin and Owen from the time they meet as teenagers all the way through current day. I think it’s a 15 year span. Gavin is one of the stars of their high school football team, works for his dad in his vet’s office, and is planning on being a vet himself when he grows up. He’s happy, outgoing, and enthusiastic. Then we have Owen, who is much quieter and reserved. He’s not an athlete, but works for the school newspaper, and he’s planning on being a journalist when he grows up. He has been assigned to interview Gavin for the school paper. They both end up fascinated with each other, and over the rest of the school year, Owen keeps coming up with ideas for articles so that he can meet with Gavin.

At the end of the school year, Gavin invites Owen to his birthday party, and the rest is history. Or the beginning. They spend their senior year dating, but don’t tell anyone, because Owen is positive his parents will kick out. The football team knows, but none of them actually care. In fact, Lorenzo and Ollie become great friends to Owen, as well as Gavin. Two weeks before graduation, things happen, and Gavin ends up in the Marines and Owen ends up at Michigan State University, studying journalism.

This story starts in 2004, I think. That’s during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and it was really bad in the sandbox. So, you know that’s it’s going to be hard on Gavin. The stories we get from his time in boot camp are bad, but then we get stories from when he goes on deployment. What Gavin goes through is heart-wrenching and terrible, on so many levels, just so many.

Of course, it’s not easy on Owen either. The way that things go down is so hard on him, and he’s devastated. It’s like his insides have been pulled out through his nose and then hot sauce has been rubbed on the empty spaces.

We get glimpses of the lives that Owen and Gavin are leading while they are apart. They aren’t necessarily happy lives, but they aren’t completely terrible lives either. They each make friends, and have their good times and their bad times. But through it all, there is one thing that they both still have, and that’s the connection they have to each other, even if they don’t see each other. That connection is just visceral and raw and passionate and as unbreakable as vibranium. It’s an amazing thing to witness.

This book does deal with issues around PTSD, but since you are dealing with a Marine who has been through several tours of hell, PTSD is to be expected. Nicky handles it really well. There is no glorification or glamorization of it. You just get the straight, raw, grittiness of it. It’s really honest and unflinching and even maybe uncomfortable at times, but it’s excellent.

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I hate Gavin’s father and uncle. Just totally flat out hate them so much. Die in a fiery crash and drown in a lake of hellfire kind of hate.

I love Lorenzo. His fate made me cry.

OK, that’s all for me. Go check it out. Happy reading!