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Archive for the ‘Authors: G-I’ Category

whiplashTitle: Whiplash
Author: Jack Greene
Length: 8,000 words (23 pdf pages)
Publisher:
Phaze Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B-

Blurb:

When lawyer Jeff Richmond is rear-ended by a soccer mom in a minivan, he can’t believe it when the diagnosis is whiplash.

The prescription is physical therapy, but when he meets the therapist, adorably geeky Martin, he suddenly has other things on his mind.

Review:

This has the typical feel of a Jack Greene book, light and fun with a hint of the fantasy. Jeff is one of those driven lawyers who never has time for anything. Being rear-ended forces him to acknowledge that whiplash is a real thing. He’s forced to take time out of his busy schedule to undergo physiotherapy. Although once he meets his physiotherapist Martin, he’s not complaining quite so much.

After a few weeks of therapy, Jeff makes a move, but Martin explains that he’s very shy and a virgin which usually scares guys off, but Jeff is happy to tackle that little problem. 🙂

The rest of the book is their date at Martin’s house and the sexual interlude. There’s next to zero angst, but I do enjoy the author’s writing style and sometimes you just want something where everything works out pretty easily and leaves you with a smile on your face. I also like that Martin made Jeff lighten up a little bit, and having mild whiplash, I can only imagine how much it hurts when it’s serious. It was a fun read.

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AnInchAtATime_500x750_0Title: An Inch at a Time
Author: Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley
Length: 15,700 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary BDSM romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
James Sheridan is failing history. Luckily, his professor is a rumored pervert, and James isn’t too proud to pay for a better grade with his body. Professor Carson lives up to his reputation, but he’s not unethical enough to take sexual bribes. What he can offer is some highly unconventional tutoring . . . creative use of a ruler included.

The deal? Studying, followed by a “quiz.” Wrong answer? Spanking. Right answer? Reward. Ace the final, earn some mindblowing sex. It’s harder work than sexual bribery, but it beats the volunteer tutors at the student center.

After a few study sessions, James realizes he wants way more than a grade from Professor Carson, even if he’s not sure what that is. Carson’s a silver fox, all right, but James isn’t “bent” the way Carson is, and for him, the spankings are only supposed to be a means to an end. But the better he gets at history, the more he realizes he likes getting answers wrong just as much as getting them right.

Review:
Let’s start with a warning here, this book contains a consensual relationship between a college student and his current history professor. If that strikes you as completely unacceptable, unethical and unprofessional then you are not going to like this book. It didn’t bother me and so I enjoyed this prequel to the previous book Giving an Inch.

James is failing history which could mean getting kicked out of college. As a last resort he decides to act on some gossip which claims that the class professor, Carson, would be willing to give a good grade in exchange for kinky sex. Things don’t go quite according to plan though when Carson offers to tutor James instead to ensure he passes the class, especially as the lessons involve a strict punishment for a wrong answer and delicious pleasure for a correct one.

The fun of this story for me was in the way it filled in the back story from the first book and allowed me to see things only hinted at previously. James is very different to the confident young man in the first book and it made me appreciate how much he had changed. In this book James is not only nervous but he has a large streak of self-loathing as he tries to come to terms with his submissive masochistic nature. Carson leads him through that change but I liked that Carson too has his problems and was’t the all-knowing, powerful Dom. Carson makes mistakes and finds it hard at times to keep his equilibrium at times. Their struggles made both characters seem human and real. The age difference between them wasn’t pushed under the carpet and instead used to show the differences between the two men. There’s an immaturity about James which fit with his age and situation, and this contrasted nicely with Carson’s calm experience.

The BDSM scenes are well orchestrated as well as being hot and I particularly liked the way that James (and the reader) is teased with delayed gratification until the end of the story.

Overall, this was a strong and sexy read which helpfully filled in the gaps and allowed me to see the development of the relationship hinted at in book 2. I liked James and Carson and would be interested to read another story furthering their broken relationship from book one.

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chasing_matt_Title: Chasing Matt
Author: Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin
Length: 51 pages
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B-

Blurb:
Chase Williams is a gorgeous but painfully shy web designer whose long-term boyfriend dumped him for being such a “nice” guy. Instead of meeting his buddies at the local bar for a drink, he helps his elderly neighbor with a DIY project. When a wobbly step ladder leads to a banged up wrist and a trip to the ER, Chase is convinced it’s the worst night ever. Then he meets his handsome nurse.

Matt Owens is the boy next door who loves working in the busy ER. He’s more than ready to clock out from his double shift until he meets his patient in Bed 4.

But will Matt’s attraction to Chase be enough to make him break his rule about never dating patients?

Review:
Chase is fed up of always being the nice guy who spends his nights alone and is even more unhappy that he’s just been dumped for being boring. Helping his neighbour ends with Chase in ER with a badly sprained wrist but at least there’s a gorgeous nurse, Matt, to take his mind off the pain. Chase decides to stick his neck out and asks Matt out, but Matt has a no dating patients rule.

I really enjoyed the start to this story, especially the character of Chase. I felt all his frustration at his inability to secure happiness with another guy. I have a fondness for geeks too and I liked how this aspect was played up in Chase. The scenes between him and Matt at the hospital were nicely done with some amusing banter and a simmering flirtation which promised much. I also liked Matt’s good natured friendship with a female nurse, especially as this poked a bit of fun at the ‘interfering female’ character trope.

Once the pair leave the hospital I was still enjoying the story as the tension between them had just the right amount of awkward. Both men make mistakes and I enjoyed seeing the way that they moved from superficial easy banter, to embarrassment, to trying to make amends.

Where the story worked less well was in the extended sex scene at the end of the story. It goes on for about 10-13 pages or so and felt too emotional and tender for a pair of guys who had only just met – no matter how much they clicked and liked each other. It seemed more like the sort of sex that would happen after a month of getting to know each other and so it jarred a little with the set-up. If they’d gone at it all hot and heavy, slaking their lusts, then that would have seemed more realistic for the story. However, I can see how this way the story was more romantic and I was left in no doubt that the relationship would work past the next morning.

Having said that, this was still a story I enjoyed and for those looking for a very romantic meet and a sexy story then this will be just the story for you.

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New Sip coverTitle: Summer Country
Author: Camilla Gingold
Length: 7,700 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
Rating: C+

Blurb:
Recently divorced geneticist Tom St. Laurent is hoping for a quiet summer vacation. Then a mysterious man named Namir saves him from drowning and disappears, leaving a strange sealskin behind. Tom, who grew up hearing about the legend of the selkies, strikes a deal: Namir will allow himself to be studied for seven nights. In return, Tom will give back the sealskin and never bother Namir again. But science isn’t the only thing Tom is interested in. When forced to decide between his conscience and the pursuit of knowledge, will he choose Namir’s happiness above all?

Review:
Tom arrives at his island holiday home still unsettled from his divorce. After swimming too far out, he is rescued by a mysterious man. Tom discovers a seal skin on the beach and takes it home only to find that the skin’s owner, Namir, comes looking for it. Tom agrees to give it back to Namir after a week if Namir will let Tom study him.

I rather like selkie stories but they often leave me feeling vaguely dissatisfied because the inevitable happy ending can seem forced. This was the case for this story as when it ended I felt that the differences between the two species was too great for the romance to work in the long term. Another part which didn’t work so well was that I didn’t really like Tom. He comes across as smug and arrogant, and even his hurt over his divorce couldn’t redeem him too much for me.

There were parts that I did enjoy. The writing is evocative and the growing regard that Tom feels for Namir was done well. Tom changes from seeing Namir as a specimen to study to getting to know him and although the short length of the story means that this happens quickly, I still liked seeing that growth in Tom’s character. I liked Namir too. He’s enigmatic but as the story develops we learn a little more about him and I wished that we had been given more information about his life as a selkie.

In the end I had mixed feelings about the story. Its flaws were bound up with the selkie myth and trying to create a romance from that, but this was balanced by some positive aspects with Namir and the development of Tom. If you like selkie stories then I would still recommend this one despite its imperfections.

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New Sip coverTitle: Cloth of Virtue
Author: Lydian Harker
Length: 7,800 words (28 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m fantasy
Rating: B

Blurb:

Emperor Florian knows that his court is full of liars. To an emperor, an honest man is more precious than gold. Even emperors get fed up, though. In this spicy retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Florian lays a cynical trap to punish his unworthy courtiers.

His bait lures unexpected prey: Adem, a palace gardener with an honest face and an eye for naked emperors. Is everything coming up roses–or has Florian beaten himself at his own game?

Review:

This was a cute take on the Emperor’s New Clothes with just a hint of court intrigue I wouldn’t have minded reading more of. Florian is preparing for the big summer festival and has lost his enthusiasm. It seems he gives off the image of a rather dim fool in order to protect himself from whomever killed his parents. As he complains of his boredom to his tailors, and he reveals his most trusted advisor lied to him, the tailors suggest a suit made of the “cloth of virtue” which only those telling the truth can see.

Florian thinks this will be a great idea to see who will tell him the truth, that’s he’s negative, however as the day goes on, he becomes more and more discouraged as no one dares speak the truth. Finally during the big parade, he’s getting more and more annoyed and sees the gardener Adem and asks him how he likes his suit. When Adem is bold enough to tell the truth, Florian is shocked and pleased.

As I said, there are hints of court intrigue and Florian’s true desire to step forward and be a proper leader. I would have liked to see the story go on to explore this. It’s not truly a romance, Florian has a favourite and he feels guilty to putting all his courtiers in the position of lying to him, but he’s caught up in a game that as emperor he can’t get out of. So he’s not a bad guy, just struggling to continue on a path he doesn’t enjoy. You know next to nothing about Adem except that he is from a working class family. There is the indication at the end that he and Florian will become a couple, but the story seemed to be more about Florian’s personal struggles in his role, than a romance or HEA for any of the characters.

If you like fantasy stories set in a historical time period I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s not extremely graphic, the emphasis is on Florian and his frustration with the sycophants around him than on a romance. I would love to read more about Adem and Florian and see them tackling the issue of possible assignation and Florian becoming the real emperor.

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TrustTitle: Trust
Author: Cassandra Gold
Length: 12,000 words
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B-

Blurb:
Detective Zach Davis has always prized his iron control. Life has taught him that emotions and trust are things to be avoided at all costs. Then his lover leaves him, citing the distance between them, and Zach realizes something has to change.

Could a night at a BDSM club be the perfect way for him to show Lane he really can let go and build an equal relationship?

Review:
This story begins with the end of a relationship. Zach is a cop who has just finished a tough case. He turns up at his lover’s house but weeks of being emotionally uncommunicative followed by two weeks of no contact was the last straw for Lane and he tells Zach that the relationship isn’t working. A few weeks later and Zach is still hurting. He knows he’s been an idiot and so decides to concoct an elaborate scheme to show Lane how much he cares.

I wasn’t sure how well the initial situation would work in this story as, on the surface, it seems rather contrived. However, this was saved a little by both heroes acknowledging that the situation was rather strange. Zach wonders if a grand gesture will work, and then later when he visits the club for the first time, whether he’s made a huge mistake. Lane is also quick to point out the flaws in Zach’s plan, especially that sex will not ultimately solve their problems. This meant that I was able to set aside my own doubts over the situation.

The opening to the story quickly drew me in. I liked the way that Zach reaches the conclusion that he’s been a total selfish idiot. I also liked his sister who offers sensible advice. Another part that worked was in the build up to the reconciliation. Would Lane come to the club or would Zach be left feeling foolish? It was a nicely written piece of anticipation.

The final scene was also done well, and I liked that both men talked to each other. Zach’s opening up to Lane was a poignant moment and the sex that followed was hot but with a strong sense of emotional attachment.

My only problems with the story stemmed from the character of Lane. We never really know much about him, except that he has travelled a lot, and in many ways he was a little perfect. That was only a minor negative point though in a story I found engrossing. If you’re looking for a story with a slight D/s bent to it, then this would be a good one to pick up.

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HardDTitle: Hard D
Author: Elinor Gray
Length: 7,051 words (30 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+

Blurb:

en Meyers has played Ultimate Frisbee since his first week at college, and at every tournament he comes face to face with Darius O’Neill, his favorite rival. This time, though, their good-natured competition goes off the field to the after-party and beyond, when three years of tension finally breaks open on the sheets of Darius’s dorm-issue twin bed.

Review:

There are essentially two aspects to this book, the sport part and the relationship part. I quite enjoyed the relationship part, the sport part had me completely lost. Now this is me, one reader who has never played nor watched a game of Ultimate. I had not read the blurb when I started the story, and it took me a while to figure out what sport it was. I was just unfamiliar with the terminology, so I found it didn’t really make much sense some of the time, and I had trouble visualizing the action. Again, if you are an ultimate fan, this will likely be a non-issue.

However I quite enjoyed the two main characters. They’ve known each other from various tournaments over their time at neighboring universities. There is a bit of flirting and good-natured rivalry, but respect as well. It’s all in fun and no one seemed to take the games too seriously. So when they end up at Darius’s university for a big tournament hosted by Darius and his friends, it’s finally a chance for Ben and Darius to get together.

The sex was well written and rather sweet, given that the guys had been crushing on each other for a while. And there is talk of seeing each other after, although they live one hour apart and seem to think that is a big deal. I think I grew up in an unusual situation or maybe it’s a Canadian thing? But that’s not a big deal. Meet in the middle, that’s 30 min. 🙂 It’s one hour from one end of our spread-out city to the other. But hey, that’s me.

I salute the author for using a rather obscure (although apparently growing in popularity) sport, but perhaps a glossary would have been useful for people like me to understand what the different positions meant. I just wasn’t clear what their roles were supposed to be, or exactly how you scored a point. Still, if you want to give an alternative sport a whirl, the romance in the second part of the book is definitely worthwhile reading.

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