Room to Grow by Kate Sherwood

Title:  Room to Grow

Author:  Kate Sherwood

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novella (81 pages)

Publisher:  Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (August 7th, 2012)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb: Cole Wheaton is a high-end garden designer just getting out of a difficult relationship with a deeply closeted architect. David McLean is just coming out of the closet himself. Cole befriends him, but won’t get any more involved, because David is a risky proposition, and Cole wants something stable. They finally get close enough to try for something more, but then David’s ex-wife pulls him back into her life, and it may end up pushing Cole away.

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Reviewer:  Showme

Review:  First off, let me say, I adore Kate Sherwood and her writing. Her Dark Horse series are the only books about three men in a relationship I have ever truly enjoyed.  She writes real characters that I fall in love with. So yeah, she’s on my automatic buy list. If all that wasn’t true then the beautiful cover on Room to Grow would have drawn my eye.

Cole Wheaton designs beautiful landscapes for a living. He’s creative, successful and openly gay. Cole is just coming out of a relationship with a man who isn’t coming out of the closet anytime soon. He hurt Cole and treated him like he was a dirty secret while Cole had real feelings for him. So the last thing Cole needs is to be attracted to a married man who is just admitting to his preference for men.

David McLean is married to his best friend, Stephanie. He loves her, but he just can’t make himself love her like a husband should love his wife.  Her latest project, the backyard, is an attempt to find some common ground with her husband, but brings Cole Wheaton into their lives.  Cole and David find they enjoy each other’s company and David is strongly attracted and develops feelings for Cole. Cole doesn’t want to get involved with a newly out of the closet man coming out of a marriage to a woman. He’s still doing Stephanie’s yard and would prefer to keep it professional but Stephanie asks him to help David through his transition. Things start out friendly, but the attraction proves too much for the guys.

I was a little worried in the beginning that I’d find it strange for Cole to get together with his clients soon to be ex-husband, but Kate made me want a HEA for them. The book does move at a slower pace, but that may be what makes the progression of the relationship between Cole and David more palatable while working for his lover’s soon to be ex-wife. She’s not demonized either, which I appreciated.  I loved the descriptions of the yards and Cole’s descriptions helped me get to know him better. It was almost too short and I would have liked a little more fleshing out the guys going from resisting the temptation to falling in love. In the end, this was not my favorite Kate Sherwood book, but well worth the time and money.


The Auspicious Troubles of Chance by Charlie Cochet

Title:  The Auspicious Troubles of Chance

Series:  The Auspicious Troubles of Love # 1

Author:  Charlie Cochet

Genre: Timeless Dreams

Length:  Novel (172 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (June 20th)

Heat Level: Medium

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥4½Hearts

Blurb:   Chance Irving is a young man with a gift for getting into trouble—not surprising, as trouble is all he’s ever known. After losing everything he held dear one fateful night, he decides to leave New York and his past behind, and joins the French Foreign Legion. But even in Algiers, Chance can’t seem to shake his old ways, and he ends up being transferred to a unit made up of misfits and rabble-rousers like him—a unit he finds just in time to be captured and thrown into a cell with his new commandant, Jacky Valentine.

A highly respected commandant with a soft spot for hard luck cases, Jacky is the kind of guy who would go to war for you, and the three equally troubled youths from his unit he’s more or less adopted feel the same way about him. Suddenly Chance starts to think that his life doesn’t have to be as desolate and barren as the wastelands around him.

But even after their escape, with the promise of a future with Jacky to buoy his spirits, or maybe because of it, Chance can’t stop making mistakes. He disobeys orders, lashes out at the boys in Jacky’s care, and blazes a trail of self-destruction across the desert—until someone makes him realize he’s hurting more than just himself.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

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Reviewer:   Any

Review:  To talk about this book, I have to divide it into three parts. Beginning, middle, and end.

Beginning: (♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts)

It came as a shock, at first, to be spoken to directly from the narrator. It took a little adjusting, but Chance’s wit carried me through the slight awkwardness, and soon I fell in love with the style. Chance’s voice is funny, rude, blunt and sobering. The way he thought and narrated just made his character all the more endearing.

In the first part, we know “Jackie” is an important person to Chance, and we get glimpses of him in the narrative “a man continuously accompanied by chaos and some form of deep-seated lunacy”, which left me curious to know more about the man. Especially since the story opens with Chance shot in the stomach, and Chance knowing he has to get to Jackie. The stakes high, right from the start, and I wanted to know more—would he make it back to this Jackie? And why is this person so important to him? What is their story?

Also, this first part of the story shows us Chance (Chauncey at the beginning) growing up and the momentous events in his life that lead him eventually to a desert in Africa. I don’t want to give too much away, but reading it was emotional and engaging. I certainly sympathized with him.

Middle: (♥♥♥♥♥5+Hearts)

Gah. I was totally swept away in this story. Let me just say, once we got to Chance’s life in the desert I was a goner. Nothing could pry me away from reading. Nothing. I stayed up very late, consequently.

Here’s why:

  • It’s full of tension.
  •  It made me swoon, swoon, and swoon some more.
  • The settings the author used made her scenes unique. For example, and this was the shining star of all scenes in the book (and many of them were good) but she had our two main characters, Chance and Jackie, meet in a box. Yes, a box. I refuse to say more, except that I recommend everyone read it! J
  • The sex was hot and it fit the characters perfectly.
  • Also, and this was what worried me a little when I first started reading—and was relieved to find it not the case—this is not a full on war story. The war is a background and we don’t “see” much of it. The story really does focus mostly on Chance’s growing and his and Jackie’s relationship.

End: (♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts)

Don’t get me wrong, here, I still LOVED the book, but the ending didn’t quite click with me. It seemed too neat somehow. I think I got irritated that we find out Jackie was suddenly wealthy. It seemed too fairytale, and while I love fairytales, it didn’t seem to quite match the rest of the book.

On the other hand, the lead up to the resolution was very emotional, and I got teary. All pluses for this wonderful book.

Overall:   Great characters. Chance and Jackie are particularly well drawn, but also Johnnie, Alexander and Bobby, who I suspect we’ll see more of in future books.

I’ll leave you with my reaction after reading the last page:

Oh hell yeah. More from this author, please.







Campus Visit by Stella Huerto

Title:  Campus Visit

Author:  Stella Huerto

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:  Novel (185 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (August 14, 2012)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb:  Damian Garza and Alex Murphy became best friends in their closed-minded small town, remained inseparable through Alex’s coming out, and have stayed close while studying at different colleges. They’re close enough that Damian dares a shocking e-mail confession: he’s bisexual and wants to experiment with men. With Alex.

It’s supposed to be a simple friends-with-benefits arrangement, one weekend only. That one weekend turns into two, then three, then a whole season of unexpected passion. But life after graduation can’t be ignored: soon Damian will be obliged to return to his family’s orange orchard, and Alex will fly off to his dream job in Europe. Unless they can admit their feelings to each other—and the world—their time as best friends may be over.

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Reviewer:   Any

Review: This is a sexy friends-to-lovers story that has quite something going for it. I read the story in one sitting, and didn’t notice the hours go by until—good gosh, is that the time? Luckily, I’d finished by then.

First thing I want to say about this book is you have to be in the mood for some sexy fun, and quite a lot of it. The story follows Damian and Alex as they move from experimenting (Damian is bi and wants to try out being with a guy—and wants it to be Alex, because he trusts him) to something a lot more emotional. The tension of the story for me was held in the questions: Is this more than just sex? When and how will they realize it? And, this especially considering the fact Damian feels he is responsible for helping his family back in his homophobic village, and Alex has a new job overseas: What will they decide to do when they do realize what they mean to each other?

Second thing I liked was the way I felt gooey at some moments in the development of their relationship. Just loved the scene that starts on the beach with Damian taking shots of Alex. The author did a good job in building up the images in my head. Actually, all throughout this story the author carefully involved the senses. In particular, I noticed the smells of things. Oranges. Salty coastal breezes. Soil. Redwood Trees . . .

A couple of things that didn’t quite work for me:

1)      The beginning couple of chapters seem fun, but pretty unbelievable to me. So I’d recommend suspending believability for a while. It gets more real and involved in the middle of the story, though.

2)      Max—the village villain—was maybe a bit too bad, and his character felt a little contrived, there solely for the purpose of bringing the story to its climax.

Those points aside, it was a fun, easy read. Recommend.



The Ballad of the Burning Year by Augusta Li

Title: The Ballad of the Burning Year

Author: Augusta Li

Genre: Fantasy, Incest (Brothers), Action, Adventure

Length: Super Novel (437pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (18th August 2012)

Heat: Explicit

Heart: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Brothers Kei-Go and Ju-Go barely escaped the destruction of their homeland by a savage race of invaders, only to find themselves stranded on an isolated island. Kei wants to stay safe, but Ju craves vengeance. Who will win the argument?

Brothers Kei-Go and Ju-Go barely escaped the destruction of their homeland by a savage race of invaders, only to find themselves stranded on an isolated island. For Kei, the island is a paradise, safe from the horrors of slavery and war. But Ju craves only vengeance and the liberation of their people.

Kei and Ju gradually formulate a plan to free their kinsmen, and while implementing it, they’ll make unlikely allies and cross lines they never thought they would, all for the good of their people.

Will they sacrifice their ideals in the name of vengeance? Are they willing to give up their forbidden love, and any chance of happiness, for the greater good?

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains incest and scenes of rape or near rape.

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Review: Kei and Ju have been stranded on an Island since they escaped from the invaders of their homeland. Kei is happy on the Island, but Ju is burning with revenge for their people. When they have visitors and they learn of the true plight of their people, Kei has no choice but to lose his paradise and his lover to rescue his people. Ju just wants his vengeance and will accept the limited help of his enemy to do it and he will put aside his love to get freedom for his people.

Augusta Li has produced a story that makes you keep reading as you follow the progress of two brothers who lead their people to freedom. Kei and Ju fought against the invaders as their land was destroyed. They were captured and finally escaped, living on a paradise. Island Kei is happy, but Ju can’t stop thinking about his homeland and what happened. And now, finally an opportunity arises that means they can help their people from the enforced slavery and rules of the invaders. But, just what lengths will they have to go to, to liberate their people and is it a price they can pay?

This story is all from Kei’s POV and it is he, who suffers the most for his brother’s need for vengeance. Kei and Ju might be brothers but they are lovers of the heart. They belong together, but their people puts taboos on relationships like theirs. Kei is happy with how things are and would be happier if Ju would bond with him, but Ju holds back. Ju is burning up with his need for revenge and pushes his brother more than he realizes. They have a true love, but it is far from easy for them. I must admit that although I loved the way this was written I would have loved it even more if we could have had a peek into Ju’s head to see how he really felt and thought about things.

This is not an easy review to write because there is more at work than a simple storyline than the liberation of the Elim. It is also about the sacrifices two brothers have to make in the process and not just their own relationship, but with what Kei has to do with forbidden magic. even knowing that if any of his kinsmen ever found out he would be banished even if it was for the good of his race. The only thing that keeps poor Kei going is the belief in his brother’s love and the hope for the future. Now this is a warning, Kei does have a couple of different partners in this, with his brother’s blessing, of course, but all the encounters are beautifully done. There is danger, violence, betrayal, forbidden love, secret allies and unexpected friends that make this book what it is.

I have to recommend this to those who love fantasy, an uprising of a downtrodden race, two determined brothers who want to love each other and an ending that is explosive, violent and gives the Elim a bargaining chance.

Speechless by Kim Fielding

Title: Speechless

Series: N/A

Author: Kim Fielding

Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary

Length: Novella

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 18th, 2012)

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb: If words are the bridge between two people, what will keep Travis and Drew together?

Travis Miller has a machining job, a cat named Elwood, and a pathetic love life. The one bright spot in his existence is the handsome guitar player he sometimes passes on his way home from work.  But when he finally gathers the courage to speak to the man, Travis learns that former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia: Drew can understand everything Travis says, but he is unable to speak or write.

The two lonely men form a friendship that soon blossoms into romance. But communication is only one of their challenges—there’s also Travis’s inexperience with love and his precarious financial situation. If words are the bridge between two people, what will keep them together?

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Reviewer: Thommie

Review: Oh, my God. What a story. So sweet, so gentle, so different. Unexpectedly, I found it to cling at my heart. There is no agony or angst in this story to make you bounce around and eat your fingernails. Well, except for when Travis leaves town, but even that was manageable. This was all sugar, but not the least corny. A wonderful story with beautifully flawed people. Travis is a man more ordinary that most people. He is a machinist and his life is a boring repetition of going to work and returning home. Well, except a gorgeous man, sitting on his doorsteps, playing the guitar. Travis sees him most days, when the weather is good, on his way back home. One day he makes up him mind and gathering those loose nerves he stops to talk to him. Instead of words though the gorgeous man gets out a card, where there’s written some information about the stunning man. Bottom end, he’s name is Drew and he has aphasia, so he can’t talk or write. Travis doesn’t mind though, he speaks well enough for both of them and they seem to be able to communicate perfectly together. They gradually start dating, the dates turn to snuggling around and spending every free time they have together, and that turns to six months’ worth of a very good, steady, and relaxed relationship. At least until Travis’ job closes in Portland and if he wants to keep his job he has to go and live to Omaha. Putting his need to be a man, able to pay his own bills, Travis chooses to go.

As I said there is nothing extraordinary in this plot to make you jump and say, oh dear. this is great, yet somehow, the simplicity of the love revealed in this story and the beauty of the characters made up for it. If you’re a romance lover (I guess I am a damn romantic fool myself) I totally recommend this. You’ll love it!



Redemption (Three’s Allowed) by L. E. Harner

Title: Redemption

Series: Three’s Allowed

Author:  L.E. Harner

Genre:  MMF Ménage

Length: Novel

Publisher: Hot Corner Press (June 6, 2012)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts-liked it

Blurb:    Two’s company. Three’s a…temptation. A hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon isn’t supposed to be an erotic adventure. Dr. ‘Gabe’ Gabriel is more than a little turned on by the young couple he meets on the trail but he doesn’t do threesomes anymore. Someone always gets hurt.

Not everything is what it seems and despite a close encounter of the intimate kind, Uriah and Diane are here for a reason. Leaving any possibility of romance behind, they head to the inner canyon and the isolation they need.

Reunited by chance, the threesome’s mutual attraction is hotter than the scorching Arizona desert in the middle of August. Still, secrets have a way of chilling the strongest passion, especially a secret holding a gun, and a heart cold enough to pull the trigger.

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Reviewer:  Cat

Review:  This was a very fast paced and interesting story with lots of twists and turns. Gabe is going on this adventure to get away from it all.  He is just out of a relationship with a woman. He isn’t really looking for love, just an escape to think. Uriah and Dian are both on a mission of their own. Several shocking twists before we find out exactly what. I really liked the story a lot. It’s good to get a story that is actually a story and the sex is more like jewelry, just making it better. The only thing I didn’t like is that the female, Diane, became the focus. I’d like to have seen the focus more on the men.

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes threesomes, a good fast paced suspense and some decent sex scenes and a tour of the Grand Canyon.

No Fault of His Own by Sara York

Title:  No Fault of His Own

Series:   N/A

Author: Sara York

Genre: Contemporary /Free Read

Length:  Short Story

Publisher: Goodreads

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   He says he can’t believe that I would fall in love with someone like him but I’m the one who is in awe every day that he loves me. I know we both have our faults but together we are perfect. The only thing that would make us better is if he says “Yes” when I ask him to marry me.

Photo Description: Two guys lying in bed together. The bed has striped sheets, mostly tan with thin red stripes. One of the guys is in jeans, the other looks like he’s wearing pj’s.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s ‘Love is Always Write’ event.

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Reviewer:  Cat

Review this was a very good romantic love story. I loved both characters a lot. The story was sweet and loving and just made you want to sigh and say I wish I had a love like that.

I recommend this story to anyone that loves a sweet friends-to-lovers story, Love at first sight, a sad conflict, and really hot mansex

Before the Proposal by Sara York

Title:  Before the Proposal

Series:  Prequel to No Fault of His Own

Author:  Sara York

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:  Novella

Publisher:  Self-published (August 16, 2012)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   Ryan finally stands up for himself but his step-father knocks him around for it. He’s hurting and wary of others. When he meets Jesse he doesn’t trust him.

Jesse comes on strong but he knows what he wants. Ryan is too cute to leave alone. He pushes and almost pushes too hard to get Ryan to go out with him. Find out what happens when Ryan relents and agrees to date Jesse.

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Reviewer:   Cat

Review:  This was a very good romantic love story. I loved both characters a lot. The story was sweet and loving and just made you want to sigh and say I wish I had a love like that.

I recommend this story to anyone that loves a sweet friends-to-lovers story, Love at first sight, a sad conflict, and really hot mansex