Tag Archives: angst

Black Hurricane by Erica Pike

Black Hurricane

Published on 23 August 2013
Published by MLR Press
Copy purchased by reviewer

I’ve been hooked on the Boston Boys series by Erica Pike since Adam and Jesse’s story made it’s way into my life. Once I had my hands on Eric’s story in Absolutely Eric, I was a devout Erica Pike fan from that moment on. I could totally fangirl over my love for that book. Eric was EVERYTHING I loved in a book, strong sense of self, trapped by choices, flamboyant gay boy, hard situations, broken boy and the heroes that swoop in and help save the day. Those heroes were in multiple forms but heroes none the less. Absolutely Eric was the first mm romance book I gave a 5 star rating to. It still sits in a place of honor on my favorites list on goodreads. I felt my background and familiarity with Erica Pike’s novels (because I’ve read them all, even the free reads and novellas) and the Boston Boys series was important to note as I will probably gush profusely in this review.

Since it has been awhile since I had read A Life Without You and Absolutely Eric, I decided to skim the books prior to reading Black Hurricane. I knew this book was about Jazz and I wanted to become familiar with him again and his roll in the close knit group of friend who make up the Boston Boys. Who he flirts with (Cal-Al), who he trusts unconditionally (Cal-Al), and who is always there for him, Cal-Al! I honestly thought, why are they not together?! I now know! Jazz’s heart has always belonged to another. <3

What we have in Black Hurricane is the story of Jazz and Dean. (Please read the synopsis here, if I include it this review will be multiple pages long.) They met when Jazz was 14 and Dean 16. Jazz was so enamored with Dean. One summer they spent all their time together talking, writing music, playing guitar and when it exploded into intimacy the aftermath wasn’t quite what either boy expected. They were both hurt in different ways but their memories of that time are truly very different. When the guys come face to face years later, they have to overcome all those past feelings to be able to move on and heal.

This story is truly about accepting, connecting and FIGHTING for that one love. Jazz has every right to be upset and angry at Dean. He has every right to lash out and be hot headed. He also has to realize that by exploding and walking off he is also not giving Dean a chance to make amends. That’s a hard thing to discern when your heart aches as much as Jazz’s does.

Dean. POOR Dean! Rockstar hottie who has it all, or does he? He’s been pushed around and beaten down my his dad, groupies and fans. Not to mention management pressures from the biz. Dude is liable to snap, right?? Yes. When he is outed via video he almost doesn’t recover. Dean is just as vulnerable as Jazz he is just hiding it well behind that rockstar persona.

Because we are reading from Jazz’s viewpoint, we know what Jazz felt and how he was damaged all those years ago but we have to remember that Dean has been as well. I loved the big scene when they finally sit and talk about their memories from High School and how different they were. How in love Dean was and how the memories are high moments in his life. For Jazz, the memories are about being used and left crushed and scarred. I just thought that was so well written because it is true to life. It is how every misunderstanding is, a lack of expression and also not realizing that emotions are different for everyone involved and should be respected.

These boys know angst! Jazz is in full angst mode for most of the book but he is also doubting himself and his emotions. We have a lot of dancing around and fighting off desires. We have a couple feverish make out sessions and some very unique courting moves (by Dean). Eventually Dean wins over Jazz and all is well, or is it??!!?? No there is so much more betrayal by Dean but also a broken promise from Jazz. I have to say I was fractured! Crushed! I had to pull out the tissues! My heart bled for both Jazz and Dean. Erica Pike portrayed all the emotions so strongly it left me feeling hollowed out and shattered. Yeah, she’s that good!

It’s not an Erica Pike book unless we experience the full gamut of emotions so after all the angst, happiness, and heartbreak we do feel so much love at the end and that makes the whole ride worth every word, every minute spent in Jazz and Dean’s world.

I will touch on one more thing in this incredibly long, rambling post, the band! The band members of Black Hurricane are really cool guys. I loved how the Boston Boys and the Hurricane Boys got along so well. They were instant friends and I could picture them all being an extended family. The Boston Boys are so supportive of each other and I felt that same connection with Dean and the band. I have a notion we might see more mingling (or a hook-up) between the boys and the band in future books. ;)

Even though you can read Black Hurricane on its own I recommend going back and reading the other two Boston Boys books at some point you won’t be disappointed! Now I just have to be patient and wait for the next release in the series!

RATING: BAD ASS KNEE HIGH BOOTS WITH SILVER BUCKLES

Blue Notes Series by Shira Anthony

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Published by Dreamspinner Press
Published in 2011-2013
Purchased copies for review

The first thing that piqued my interest in this series was that they were musically based. I am drawn to books that involve musicians, bands, singers, all of it! I also enjoy artistic characters in general so this series being about classically trained musicians: opera singers, composers and cross over artists had it all!

When I started the series last month the first three books were released and the fourth was close to release. It is my understanding that there will be at least one more book. All the books are stand alone but the characters make cameos in all the books. I also find it unique that the books were not written in chronological order. The oldest couple in the Blue Notes world will be the book still forthcoming. If you want to read the books chronologically it would be: Prelude, Blue Notes, Aria and then Melody Thief.

If I had to describe the series as a whole in one word it would be…romantic. I know that is a lame word to use because they are mm romance books. Seriously, they are romantic. They have the back story for each character, the meet, the slow build to lust and then union. From there we get the full on romance and the parts where we are just elated and feeling their joy. The sex is steamy but tasteful. It takes second stage (and is mostly off stage) to the relationship build and story itself. I felt the books were not centered around the sex which is very common in this genre. The books are centered around music 100%. These guys live for their art. It is a part of them, it is what moves them, for a few, it is how they best communicate their emotions. Because of this, they truly are beautiful stories.

The books might be romance incarnate but they are also very angsty. The first two books, Blue Notes and Melody Thief were not as angsty as the last two. These guys really have to suffer for their HEA! I found in Aria and Prelude, the angst was just borderline mean and selfishness. I had a hard time with Aria because I didn’t care for Sam not being over the loss of his partner SEVEN years prior. It felt like Aiden was trying to measure up to a ghost that should not have been so impacting after all that time. I don’t think Sam was very fair to Aiden in that situation and didn’t make him feel valued or loved. In Prelude, it was hard to like David because he was such an uptight ass! Seriously! He had issues, I get it but Alex deserved better. Alex was a saint to hold on and let David work through his insecurities. It took him months (months!) to do so and Alex just waited. WOW. Don’t get me wrong, they were great reads, but character-wise David and Sam didn’t measure up.

Now Melody Thief and Blue Notes were impressive. Four likable characters. Beautifully written stories with guys just trying to hold on to the new relationships they had forged with their lovers. They were sensual and interesting. They worked for it but were all so deserving of their HEAs. Both stories were heartwarming and just left you with a happy, satisfied feeling when their books ended. Jason and Jules, Cary and Antonio had me at the first and last note.

I hope you have a chance to read this series, it is diverse and captivating.

Overall Series Rating (so far): BAD ASS BOOTS

Adder by Ally Blue

Released 7 April 2009
Samhain Publishing
Purchased Copy

Be still my beating heart! This story has some of my favorite things in a book, hot headed musicians, an effeminate top and a ton of angst! I’m a sucker for rocker romance books. This one has been on my list to read for awhile so I just went for it. Now it is nowhere near the awesomeness that is Conquest by S.J. Frost, but if you want some hot rocker sex between two lovely band mates with a side of angst it is a decent choice.

Adder is the lead singer for the band Adder and he is the ultimate manwhore. He will sleep with anyone over the age of 18 if they show interest. I do mean ANYONE. Male, female he has no limits. So when the band fires their current drummer and Kahlil replaces him, not only is he a perfect fit for the band and very talented, but he is also a new challenge for Adder. There is instant attraction but Kahlil has a rule–no relationships with band mates! Adder is relentless in his persuit of Kahlil and when they finally submit to the feelings they have for each other, fireworks!! They both make a few mistakes due to lack of communication and their relationship is a far cry from traditional, but that is what makes their story interesting and a bit unique. Adder is a fashion nightmare in a willowy frame but with a determination that is unstoppable. Kahlil is a mopey, fast tempered sweetheart who constantly is a buzz kill. Surprisingly you will root for them throughout the book. A great read when you can tolerate a lot of angst that wouldn’t be necessary if they would just SAY HOW THEY FEEL.

 Rating: Since Adder was a fashion nightmare I give this book one Sneaker and one Bad Ass Boot.