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Archive for the ‘B’ Category

BodyLanguageTitle: Body Language
Author: Katrina Strauss
Length: 15,013 words
Publisher: Self Published – Amazon, Smashwords
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
Seth Winters has a dirty little secret: he likes to be watched. When he discovers online playground Body Language, he finds a world of anonymous men eager to watch him perform naughty deeds on cam. Anything goes, so long as viewers only see him from the neck down. If only he could broach the topic of his taboo fetish with offline love interest Logan…

Logan Chase blogs food reviews by day, and gets off to online exhibitionists at night. He repeatedly deletes his profile at Body Language, vowing to focus on real-life pursuits like his sexy new friend Seth, only to return to his guilty pastime again and again. When the voyeur gets up enough nerve to reveal his true identity to his favorite cam performer, will it be a match made in heaven? Or the biggest mistake of Logan’s life?

Review:
It’s been a while since this author released a new m/m romance story so I was pleased to see this self published short. I was even more pleased when I got a sneaky peek of one of my favourite D/s couples – Blue and Derek from the Blue Ruin series – whetting my appetite for their new book coming soon :).

This book isn’t about Blue and Derek, but rather Seth who works in his aunt’s cafe. When a sexy guy, Logan, comes to the cafe, it sets off a curious chain of events which leads to Seth discovering that he’s a closet exhibitionist.

Body Language has all the hallmarks of this author’s books. The writing is crisp and the characters are well rounded enough to suit the word length, especially Seth. I liked the way he begins to explore his new-found exhibitionism – the slight worry and shame about posting explicit pictures of himself, coupled with excitement, bravado and pleasure at the response he gets from those viewing the pictures. The explicitness of the act, alongside the thoughts and emotions of the characters made the story a sexy but also satisfying read for me.

I also enjoyed the tentative relationship between Seth and Logan and the way their dating ran alongside their online interaction for a while. When the inevitable happens and they discover the truth about each other, I was a little irritated by Logan’s response and the fact that he makes Seth seem like the bad guy when they were both to blame. However, this was only a brief part of the book and so I forgave him his temper tantrum. Seth seems the more emotionally secure of the two, despite being younger and new to voyeurism, and it gave me hope that they would be able to last the course when he was able to own up to fault.

Overall, this was a nicely constructed short with two decent characters who have great chemistry and some hot scenes of voyeurism. It made me think a little about the thought process behind the kink as well as giving me a happy feeling about the romance. If you like stories based around voyeurism or are looking for something from this author to tide you over until the next book then this will be the story for you.

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MilordTitle: Milord
Author: Dusk Peterson
Length: 10,000 words
Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press
Genre: m/m historical fantasy D/s romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
He was the model prisoner, respectful to his guards and loyal to his fellow prisoners. What no one knew was that he held the key to destruction.

Having pledged himself to assist in a popular movement by prisoners and guards to reform Mercy Life Prison, Llewellyn fears the future, when it is likely that the reform movement will face stiffer opposition from Mercy’s Keeper. But Llewellyn’s fear of the future is overwhelmed by the present knowledge that he is not what he appears to be. Until now, he has managed to hide his secret and to sway his guards to follow his chosen path.

Now he has been placed under the power of a guard who cannot be swayed and who is intent on bringing Llewellyn under his control. Can Llewellyn escape from his new guard’s control? Will he really want to, once he has seen the door open to a world filled with true respect, loyalty, and love?

This novelette can be read on its own or as the third story in the “Mercy’s Prisoner” volume of Life Prison. Friendship, desire between men, and the costs of corruption and integrity are examined in this multicultural historical fantasy series, which is based on late Victorian prison life.

Review:
As it says in the blurb this story is part of a series of books set in a AU similar to that of a Victorian prison. It can be read as part of the whole story arc, or as a standalone and I found no trouble slipping into the world that the author has created.

As the story begins Llewellyn is in conversation with another prisoner. Both have been working towards a set of rules which prevents prisoners from being beaten for minor infractions. However, Llewellyn secretly craves the beatings and manipulates the guards to get what he wants, until he’s paired up with Milord, a guard with honour and a tight control on his emotions.

This story deals with the tricky subject of violent BDSM and I know it’s not a topic which appeals to everyone, even those who like their BDSM to be a bit dark. However, whilst this story gives us a glimpse of the minds of two men – one who is fighting a sadistic nature and one who desires to be beaten – the violence itself is only suggested to the reader, with most of the beatings themselves being behind closed doors. I thought this was an effective way of allowing the reader to see the feelings of the characters without having to read graphic accounts of beatings.

The AU world itself was very interesting. It’s a mix of historical and fantasy, with enough detail given in this short format to be able to understand what’s happening in this story but with other details that are only alluded to and which made me want to seek out other stories. The story ends with some things resolved and some threads which are left to be picked up in future stories, presumably.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. The author has rather a literary style of writing that appealed to me. If I have any niggles it’s that there was a long section where we are told the back story of one of the characters. Whilst this allowed us to get a lot of information in a short period of time, it did detract a little from the overall story. I would have liked to have seen more focus on the pair together, but maybe that’s just the romantic in me. If you like dark romance stories then this would be a good one to pick up.

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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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17305641Title: Caribbean Blues
Author: Ari McKay
Length: 15,900 words (56 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: B

Blurb:

When Jon Lawson’s ex dumps him just before a romantic vacation to the Bahamas, Jon decides to go it alone in order to prove he’s not as boring as his ex claims he is. Once there, he meets marine biologist Derrick Mason, who seduces him into a passionate vacation affair and teaches Jon about more than just the dolphins that brought them together. But when Derrick offers his heart, can Jon put aside safety and security to take a leap of faith that will change his life forever?

Blurb:

This book hit some of my hot buttons, nice guys, a Caribbean resort and dolphins. Much like main character Jon, I was obsessed with dolphins when I was younger, and still find them fascinating, even though growing up near the geographical centre of North America I certainly never saw any live. Jon has decided to go on vacation despite a break-up with his boyfriend, partly to prove that he’s not boring and in a rut. After the first day of drowning his sorrows in the hotel bar, he cancels most of their activities but refuses to cancel the swimming with dolphins activity and is glad that he paid extra for a private session.

Me meets Derrick and before long they bond over dolphins and spend the afternoon with the creatures, and even grumpy old Scrooge who never comes near the dolphins seems to take a liking to Jon. Jon knows he’s only there for a week, but decides to make the most of it, even meeting Derrick’s family and finding out they have a lot in common. Derrick has a Ph.D. in marine biology and Jon is a biology teacher. He wanted to study marine biology but it seems his family told him it was ridiculous and he gave in. At the end of the week Derrick asks him to stay, but that’s too much change for a conservative guy like Jon. When he gets home he starts to doubt his wisdom and a conversation with his brother soon has him putting his head on straight.

There’s not a lot of angst here. You know they are going to get together, but they were both just great guys, and as I said … dolphins!! I really liked that despite Jon kowtowing to his family, his brother was the one member of his family who supported him and never told him his ideas were stupid. I always wondered why his family thought marine biology was a bad choice. Seems to me there would be quite a bit of career opportunity there.

If you’re in the mood for something not to heavy, with a nice feel of being somewhere warm and tropical with nice guys, it’s a perfect choice. With winter bearing down on me, I can imagine picking it up again to escape the cold when it arrives.

 

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thebesteverTitle: The Best Ever
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Length: 18,000 words
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
Jason Lewis is a self-proclaimed nerdy guy who hates his red hair. Bullied most of his life, at 22 social situations still make him awkward. On a trip to the World Video Game Expo in Las Vegas, Jason decides to enlist the help of Madame Eve in his failed romantic endeavors. While at the con, he runs into sexy, professional baseball pitcher Blake Huntington, the guy he tutored in high school. Blake invites him to a party and after hanging out with his high school crush, Jason begins to regret booking his 1NS “encounter” later that night. But Madame Eve may have planned the best night ever.

Review:
Jason’s a shy and nerdy guy whose reserved personality means that he’s still a virgin at 22. He decides that enough is enough and employs the service of a company that puts two people together who just want a night of no-strings fun. On the day of the appointment, Jason reconnects with a guy who he used to tutor at school. Blake’s now a baseball pitcher for a major league team but is pleased to see Jason. After a great evening with Blake, Jason regrets his appointment but this soon turns to delight when he sees who his appointment is with.

This story hit a lot of my like buttons – jock/nerd, computer games, second chances and virgin heroes – and so I was able to overlook the massive coincidence written into the plot because I was having far too much fun with the story in general. I also found the story very engaging and easy to read. Jason’s a great character and the author had managed to accurately show both the blossoming of teenage feelings and the frustration that Jason feels as a shy 22 year old. His bewilderment at seeing Blake again and the way the whole situation is overwhelming was endearing. I liked Jason a great deal and wanted him to get his happy ending.

Blake is less well drawn and I wasn’t wholly convinced that he would take such a risk in exposing himself as gay, when it’s clear he wants to stay in the closet. However the tender way he acts with Jason and the smoking sexual tension between them showed me that he was a nice guy and deserved a shot of happiness too.

Overall this was a very enjoyable story. The writing and characterisation drew me in quickly and  even the slightly contrived plot didn’t spoil my experience. I’d definitely recommend it to those who like the themes and are looking for a sweet and sexy romance.

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rainbow-bashed_600Title: Rainbow Bash’d
Author: K.A. Merikan
Length: 16,000 words
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: m/m contemporary BDSM romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
Kyle promised himself that when he goes to college, things would change. He wouldn’t be the gay boy willing to hop into bed with any guy who wants to experiment. This was his life on the line after all. He would never find a proper boyfriend this way.

So Kyle did everything in his power to be angelic. He became the poster boy for acceptable gayness and the president of the LGBT club. But the side of him that wants to fulfill all those dirty, kinky fantasies is about to rear its ugly head when the LGBT club gets a new member.

Dan is the big, bad boyfriend-to-be Kyle always dreamed of, but will Dan still treat him seriously when he finds out about Kyle’s most secret fantasy? One that goes against everything Kyle stands for in real life.

Review:
Rainbow Bash’d is the prequel to Clown’d and tells us how Kyle and Dan meet. Dan has recently transferred to a new College and so joins up with the LGBT club. The president is Kyle who comes across as very straight-laced. Sparks fly between them at their first meeting, especially when Dan discovers that with a little prodding, Kyle is anything but straight laced.

I’d really liked Clown’d and so was looking forward to seeing how these two guys get together. The story is split up into two parts. The first bit covers where the two met meet. There’s lots of humour in this section as Kyle puts out an outwardly prudish and naive front but this keeps slipping every time Dan is a bit growly or pushes the boundaries, showing us that Kyle’s very different than his knitted vest and tie suggests. I found this part very amusing, especially when it concludes with them getting into a spot of bother.

The second part picks up a few weeks later and has a different tone. Those of you familiar with Clown’d will enjoy seeing the pair in a little BDSM role play adventure. I enjoyed seeing how Dan pushed the ‘scene’. As the whole sex scene isfrom Kyle’s point of view it was reassuring to see how much he got off on the violence and humiliation and I don’t think the scene would have been as effective if taken from Dan’s point of view. This type of kink is not really my thing, but in Kyle’s head the scene works because the reader gets to see how Dan’s treatment of Kyle pushes Kyle’s buttons, taking away any concerns about the rough treatment . The story isn’t just about the kink as it shows the progression from first meet to a commitment and I was pleased at the romance aspect alongside the grubby BDSM.

If you enjoyed Clown’d then this story is a must-read too. If you haven’t read Clown’d then this is still a story I would recommend if you like BDSM books which focus on the violence and humiliation kink, especially as there’s lots of humour as well as BDSM and romance.

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notlettinggoTitle: Not Letting Go
Author: Danni Keane
Length: 6,769 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m contemporary YA romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
When someone dies, how are you supposed to behave? Josh Roberts has no idea. Losing his dad has left him deeply confused. He loved his dad, so why isn’t he crying? All Josh can think about is spending time with his boyfriend, Bradley. He can’t wait to go to Uni, when he and Bradley will finally get to be alone.

Bradley wants nothing more than to give love and support to his grieving boyfriend. But Josh’s expectations of a life together next year are putting a lot of pressure on him. He’s not going to get good enough grades for Uni, especially if whenever they are in Josh’s room they don’t get round to any real studying. Why can’t Josh understand that?

Review:
This story is the sequel to the delightful Sunshine and Buttercups which I reviewed here last week. It follows on a few months from the last one. Josh’s dad has just died from cancer and Josh is struggling to accept this. His boyfriend Bradley is his lifeline but there’s a chance that their dreams of going to university together will fail because Bradley isn’t getting the grades he needs.

The previous story charted the beginning of a relationship and was filled with bright hope tempered by the worries that Josh has about his dad who had been newly diagnosed with cancer. This story is more melancholic, showing us a young man in the grips of grief and like the previous story, I felt that the author had captured perfectly the feelings of a teenager. Josh is numbed by his dad’s death and this makes him feel guilty. This aspect of the story was sad, but it was also well written and brought a tear to my eye.

The other theme within the story is the relationship between Josh and Bradley. The passion is still strong between them and I liked how they work through their problems. Having said that, they are still teenage boys and Josh is somewhat oblivious to the problems that Bradley is having. Josh is one of those guys who pretends that all will be well and this is the case with Bradley’s grades. I enjoyed seeing them together and how Bradley is a support for Josh, but also how they deal with the tension between them. It was realistic.

I didn’t enjoy this story as much as the first, mainly because of the slightly despondent theme, but I liked revisiting the main characters and seeing them together. I found the writing to be thoughtful and would recommend this story to those who like YA.

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