Tag Archives: Carina Press

No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur

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Release Date: February 17, 2014
Published by Carina Press
Review Copy from NetGalley

I love coming of age stories, and this is no exception.   Jaime’s a quiet, shy guy whose potentially fatal heart disease caused him to miss his chance at many “normal” dating and other teen experiences. As a gay man those chances would already be limited in small town Perch Creek, but being too busy fighting for his life means he has a lot to catch up on.  I enjoyed getting to know him and seeing the world through his inexperienced, unassuming eyes.

Alessandro’s returning home to Perch Creek to help his foster mother after the sudden death of her husband. His fierce loyalty to his family is one of his most endearing qualities, and I appreciated how intensely devoted he is to doing the right thing.  Alè’s past isn’t pretty – he’s a delinquent with a history of crime and drug abuse. His broken past is something he’s determined to overcome, making a better future for himself. When he finds a job waiting tables, he considers himself lucky to have a way to support and help out.

When Jaime and Alessandro meet, it’s pretty innocent. Their difference in experience is obvious in the way they view their friendship, but it isn’t long before they find common ground. Things between them start out sweetly, but I have to admit I was unsure of the “tutoring” relationship they agree upon as an excuse to be involved. I suppose it’s a safe way for them to admit and indulge their attraction, but I had the sense it would eventually be treacherous for Jaime. He’s so much more vulnerable than Alè, and he seems to be less secure.  I wasn’t sure he’s capable of maintaining the distance necessary for that type of arrangement.

A.M. Arthur achieves a flawlessly growing intimacy between these guys that had me cheering for them.  What starts off as purely physical slowly evolves into  companionship and sincere connection.  Being with Alè helps Jaime grow into a more confident, self-assured guy, and Alè’s character grows as well. One thing I truly appreciated about these guys is their great communication. Their relationship could have easily deteriorated into angst and frustration if they hadn’t taken the time to consider each other. So many times authors ramp up the tension by removing this link, and it’s so crucial in these stories. They may have had some uncertainty over where things were going, but the road was more easily navigated because of their willingness to be open.

Rather than simply a story of self-discovery, No Such Thing includes darker, more complex topics such as homophobia, discrimination, rape, and hate crimes. As the complex tale unfolded, I was completely riveted.  Arthur handles each issue delicately, and instead of overshadowing the sweeter love story, the serious components enhance the personal connection and conviction of the characters. Tragedy draws people together and strengthens bonds; nothing could be truer here. Unfortunately such ugliness is a real part of our world – I look forward to the day when people don’t have to live in fear of just being themselves.

I’m thrilled to see this story is part of a two-book series from Carina Press, the sequel due out Summer 2014.   That story features Ezra, someone we meet in a just a few scenes.  I’m pretty curious what his story is…should prove very interesting. If it means we eventually get more of Jaime and Alè, well, then I’m definitely all for it. ;)

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS

 

The Dom Project by Heloise Belleau and Solace Ames

18753696 Published on 23 December 2013
Published by Carina Press
Copy obtained for review from author

Prepare to swoon! THIS BOOK IS HOT, HOT, HOT!

John Sun is the A/V Tech guy at university and also best friend to Robin Lessing. Robin works at university in the library acquiring rare collections as the university archivist. What Robin would really like to procure is a Dom! She’s been scouring BDSM sights looking for the perfect Dom and is only attracting creeps. She’s deemed herself The Picky Submissive and is beginning to think she might have to settle for less than perfect.

One short conversation with a dropped word, contract, and John begins to wonder if his best friend for over a decade just might have a taste for the lifestyle that he dominates. John is six feet of steamy dominant Asian man! Add on some kick ass tattoos and a ripped body and… SWOON! John actually works as a Dom at a private club and also has subs who pay him for specific scenes at his home or theirs. Putting their friendship on the line, John tempts Robin with everything she’s always desired.

Of course since these two are friends, they try to keep to fetishes only and no touching. John doesn’t touch her at all. Not even to ease, caress, hug or arouse. This works at first but then the attraction is just too much! Talk about steaming up your windows! John is always in control but he is very respectful and is never crude. Robin was able to learn what she liked and disliked in the BDSM world through John’s practiced hand. I felt that when they were in a scene Robin was always so aroused just submitting and knowing it was John that he barely had to do much to send her flying into subspace. Once they really connected the chemistry was turned up significantly and they made beautiful art together.

I loved that John is of Asian decent. We see so little ethnicity in books so this was a huge positive for me. I liked his family dynamics and what that brought to his character. He’s very self-assured but very laid back. I loved how thoughtful and caring he was with Robin. On Robin’s side we see her interactions with her coworkers in her job. She is very particular and driven. Smart but also a bit unsure because of her petite stature she isn’t always taken seriously. Very strong character development that had me invested in the outcome of this book.

A great read for a seasoned or unseasoned BDSM reader. Nothing will make a newbie uncomfortable and still enough hard BDSM elements to entertain BDSM fans.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

His Roommate’s Pleasure by Lana McGregor

HisRoommate'sPleasurePublished 1 July 2013
Published by Carina Press
Review copy received from publisher

Outside of rockers, college boys are some of my favorite characters in books. They can be so sweet and naive it is endearing. When I discovered His Roommate’s Pleasure was about two college roommates I was ecstatic!

Let’s meet Adam first. Adam is a quiet, philosophy major who is an openly gay boy who keeps to himself. Even though his parents are accepting, some of his prior jock high school attendees were not so understanding. He was harassed and isn’t a big fan of jocks. He seems to be living in his brothers shadow and although a bit resentful of it doesn’t seems to be one to cause a rift over it with his parents. His hand-me-down, unreliable laptop becomes the best gift ever. *wink*

Josh. Sigh. Josh is a mass of muscle. He plays multiple sports but is currently playing baseball. His friends come to the dorm room and play video games and basically totally ignore Adam at all costs. Josh is the guy everyone wants to friend because he is nice, good natured and personality plus. Josh and Adam have been coexisting as roommates for almost a year and barely speak to each other.

As Adam sits there waiting for his crashed computer to come alive again, Josh’s laptop is sitting there mocking him! Adam takes a chance and uses Josh’s laptop to submit a paper. When he is finished, Adam stumbles onto some pornographic photos on Josh’s laptop. Not only is Adam intrigued but he is totally turned on. Then to make matters more awkward Josh catches Adam on his laptop in his porn file! Total blessing in disguise!

Josh and Adam embark on a journey of self discovery into the world of domination and submission. All this time coexisting and they didn’t realize they have similar interests, kinks and desires. Those that make them a perfect match! At this point in the book we get reenactments of photos that turn up their lust and make them hard for each other. They begin to dabble in the BDSM scene with spanking, collaring, minor bondage and domination. That might sound intense but it was more sexy and mild than other BDSM books I’ve encountered. I was cheering on these boys in hope they would take their fun further into an actual relationship.

Just to be clear this is a not a gay for you story. Josh is actually closeted and his coming out is set-up and executed really well. The outting gives Adam a chance to be strong and stand up to bullies (and overcome what he endured in high school) while giving Josh a moment to falter but then be the total man he is and set everything right. Overall, I totally enjoyed this book. It was sweet, sassy and sexy as hell! I read this in one sitting because I was invested in these boys and what their future would bring. The book as neatly tied up and I don’t know if the author intends to expand on Adam and Josh’s story at a later date but if she does I will be marking the calendar and stalking the release date!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS ON A COLLARED AND LEASHED SUB COLLEGE BOY!