Category Archives: LGBTQ

Once In A Lifetime by Ariel Tachna

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Free ebook as part of the Dreamspinner’s OctoberGanza TweetAway promotion

Dreamspinner Press has had the most AMAZING month, and I’ve gotten so many books in their OctoberGanza TweetAway on twitter that I may not have picked up otherwise. This book was one of them. I’d never even heard of it, but for free? Sure, I’ll try it. The synopsis on their site sounded great, so I was excited to break it out and get started.

This story starts out very promising. Shane is a new college graduate who hails from Texas and decides to embark on a one-year French adventure before settling into a PhD program back home. That’s not to say it’s all fun and games; he has a job working in a research lab in Grenoble, France.  He’s finally decided to break out of the shell of his conservative, religious upbringing and embrace his homosexuality as part of this adventure as well. This isn’t quite as easy as he thinks it will be, and I perceived a lot of conflict between what Shane wanted and what he did. He repeatedly states he’s going to live his life as a gay man with all that entails, but he’s reluctant to do so because of his religious beliefs and conservative values.

Where this story went wrong for me is that Shane can’t seem to make a decision for himself. He develops a support network in France – no small feat – and man does he give it a workout.  His journey is told through entries in his personal journal, and his thoughts are often contrary. He’s mixed up and when he is, he decides to consult the leaders of a religious group for LGBT individuals. This would have been fine once or twice for major things, but he wanted to discuss EVERYTHING with them.  Questioning urges and how to interpret feelings was believable to me, but it was almost like he was asking for their permission or blessing to do things as innocent as kissing which made him a little weak in my eyes. He tended to make even the smallest issue and decision seem like it was life altering, and after a while that was tiring.

I was also frustrated with how long it took for Shane to clue in to the big picture. He has a few relationships as he’s finding his way, and they have typical ups and downs. However I could see from not even 1/4 into the book that what he needed was right in front of him, yet it took him until about 2/3 into the story to figure it out. I’m not saying this isn’t realistic, just that it was not for me.

All in all it is a sweet story, and it’s a good option for anyone who enjoys m/m without the more graphic content. There’s some mention of male sexual practices, but they’re in retrospect rather than in the moment. I was happy to finally see a guy with some standards and values as well, since you frequently have at least one guy who’s very free with his favors. The beautiful scenic French countryside and historic sites described throughout his journey are a definite bonus.

RATING: MARY JANES

 

 

Dex in Blue by Amy Lane

Release Date: October 1, 2012
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Purchased Copy

Having read and loved her Talker series, I’m no stranger to Amy Lane. She writes amazing stories about troubled, broken guys. The Johnnies series is no exception. In the first story, Chase in Shadow,  she introduces us to a really unique, diverse group of guys. Each has his own reason for joining Johnnies, a gay-for-pay porn site, and Dex has been there almost since the beginning.

About half way through book one, I felt like I knew Dex or at least had a fairly decent handle on him. He’s everyone’s rock, he manages their schedules, he’s the go-to guy. Hell, he makes sure everyone knows about the importance of fiber. But by the end, Amy Lane changed all the rules of the game, and I wasn’t sure what was true about Dex except that there was WAY more to him than I originally thought. Dex needed something, but everything that should have fulfilled that need failed to help.

I loved Dex in Blue. It’s the ultimate in not being able to see what you need is right in front of you. The way Dex and Kane discover this together was really fulfilling for me.  I was so sad when it ended that I stalked Amy Lane on Twitter trying to get clues or hints about what’s to come for the Johnnies crew. (She is SUPER nice & friendly BTW!)  I’m happy to say there are a few more books in the works, but it’s going to be hard to keep myself busy.  Tom Petty was right, the waiting is the hardest part.

RATING: STILETTOS!

Aaron by J.P. Barnaby

Published 8 October 2012
Dreamspinner Press
Purchased Copy

Aaron is the first title by J.P. Barnaby that I have had the pleasure to read. I’ve heard that J.P. Barnaby is a tough author to read because she doesn’t pull any punches. You will quickly discover that I like the hard reads. The broken boys with the issues and a lot of baggage. I like to see characters who have struggles but still manage to grow and overcome those issues. This book pretty much has all of that. Aaron is a very broken boy. He was the victim of a brutal attack and has severe PTSD. Fate puts him in the path of Spencer, a deaf boy, who is tired of being the tagged as the slow guy because of his hearing impairment. Aaron and Spencer become fast friends and it is through Spencer that Aaron sees that life might really be worth living.

What I loved about this book: Where do I even start?? Okay, the struggles. The sensitivity Spencer shows toward Aaron. The special moments shared together as an obstacle is overcome. How the story of what happens to Aaron is slowly revealed. The tenderness. This book is light out of darkness. Hope out of tragedy.

Rating: Bad Ass Boots!

 

Men of Holsum College Series by Daisy Harris

We LOVE this series. We aren’t ashamed to admit we’re regular Holsum College groupies. We follow Daisy Harris just about every place we can find her: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, her blog…we love these guys.

Holsum College is a lot like most Liberal Arts colleges: small, quaint and full of hot guys. (What? My own small Liberal Arts school was FULL of them. Okay, maybe not full.) There are frat boys, sporty boys, nerdy boys, shy boys and every kind of boy in between. Daisy does a great job of bringing together even the most unlikely of guys and tells their story in a way that makes you unable to stop reading. There’s angst, drama and sometimes (MUCH) more.

This series has sparked MANY lengthy conversations by late night DM to discuss the guys, their stories & how they make us feel. KristyZ & I have been known to rank our faves in order after each release. Sometimes they change, sometimes they stay the same, but one thing’s for certain – THEY’RE ALL GOOD.