Tag Archives: coming out

Beta Test (#gaymers, #2) by Annabeth Albert

Beta TestBeta Test (#gaymers, #2) by Annabeth Albert

Released: May 30th 2016

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 178 pages, 64,000 words

Sales link: Amazon

Blurb:

Player vs. Player. Fight!

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?

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Our thoughts:

 
Beta Test is the second book in the #gaymers series by Annabeth Albert. I thoroughly enjoyed Adrian and Noah in the first book so I had high hopes for another stellar installment. That’s exactly what Albert delivers with Beta Test.

Ravi and Tristan work for Christopher Exploration Industries. Hired the same day, Tristan and Ravi couldn’t be happier to be with the company, but they don’t leave a good impression on each other. It doesn’t take much time for Tristan to realize that Ravi is cool, popular, chic, flashy, and active in everything charitable. Ravi has a ‘fan club’ at work and Tristan refuses to fall into that group. Tristan is opposite of Ravi is every way. He’s reserved quiet, unassuming, and unpopular. He is good at his job though and loves the company so he really doesn’t want anything to harm that. Keeping his head down and trudging on is Tristan’s way. Alone at work and at home.

Tristan and Ravi are put on the same project, Space Villager. Events at a promotional party thrust Ravi and Tristan into traveling to the big reveal in Seattle for the game. Tension is thick to start but it doesn’t take long for Ravi to figure Tristan out and put him at ease. They bond over tough family issues they both navigate in their personal lives. They bond over not wanting any relationship or fling impacting their job.

Tristan’s closeted ways and Ravi’s fear of work knowing and it costing his job propel the two to keep their budding relationship a secret. However, after a week together they’re hooked on each other and find parting less than ideal. Tristan and Ravi are extremely connected. Emotionally they’re charged. From misconceptions, family troubles, to their antics in bed, they’re riding some intense waves of emotions. All they know is that they feel good together. Everything is right when they’re together. They want more with every day that passes. They want to go to bed and wake up together, to be there for each other. How did this fling become an intense relationship they can’t seem to break off?

My only complaint is the late strife. I know it makes sense with the progression of the story, but I really don’t like late black moments! I guess I just hate to see two guys that are obviously in love, hurt so much and spend time apart. Luckily, they get their acts together quickly so they can be the happy, passionate couple again.

The #gaymers series is not one to look past. The books, so far, can be standalones but the cameos from Adrian and Noah in Beta Test can be appreciated more after reading Status Update. I highly recommend this series.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Blog Tour: Come What May (All Saints #1) by A.M. Arthur

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Come What May by A.M. Arthur
Series: All Saints Book One
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Pages or Words: 70,000 words, 320 pages (print edition)
Publisher: Carina Press
Cover Artist: Carina Press
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Today we’re thrilled to be interviewing A.M. Arthur, author of Come What May for her tour stop with us.
Welcome! Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hello! I’m an m/m romance author, who mostly writes contemporary but occasionally delves into paranormal. I live in Hicksville, USA with two rambunctious cats and a large collection of horror film DVDs.

My newest release, Come What May, is the first in a new NA romance series with Carina Press. Jonas Ashcroft is suspended from college after a fraternity prank goes wrong, and he’s stuck working in his aunt’s thrift store—his very first job ever. Tate Dawson runs an LGBT homeless shelter nearby, and when their paths cross, sparks fly. So do insults, misunderstandings, and smexy times.

What genres do you enjoy writing in?

The bulk of my writing lately has been contemporary m/m romance. Sometimes I write New Adult, sometimes just plain adult. I’ve written paranormal and have a paranormal WIP (two, actually, come to think of it), so I like the freedom to play with ghosties and beasties. I’d like to write something historical one day, but my current list of projects is way too long.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

A very big part of this book is the issue of LBGT+ youth homelessness. Their numbers are disproportionately high, compared their cis-het counterparts. One of my heroes, Tate, is a co-director of a homeless shelter for LBGT teens. While Tate was never homeless, his best friend and co-director Marc was, so they both have a driving need to give these kids shelter—even if only for one night.

I think the hardest part about writing this particular book was striking a balance between being informative and lecturing. I don’t want the book to sound like a PSA, but I do want to show that there are very real teenagers out there living in awful circumstances, simply because they’re not straight. It’s heartbreaking. A parent’s greatest task in life to love their child, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. That any parent would turn their child out onto the streets for being themselves is appalling to me.

Sorry, rant mode off.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

Jonas. I loved writing him. He’s one of those characters who is snippy and rude, keeping people at arm’s length, because inside he’s such a tangled mess of insecurities. I really enjoyed showing him opening up to Tate, first in friendship, and then in a sexual relationship. Tate helped him learn what true intimacy is, and he gave Jonas the confidence to finally embrace himself.

What cultural value do you see in writing?

Human beings have been storytellers since the spoken word came about. First in solely oral storytelling, and later, the written word. In terms of value, the period when a book was written often reflects the values and traditions of the time period. And often, it’s the popular fiction of the past that is still alive today (Charles Dickens, even Shakespeare, wrote popular fiction). While I can’t imagine what people will think of Twilight a hundred years from now, but hopefully they’ll find something of value in Harry Potter.

What is your favorite positive saying?

I’ve only recently stumbled across this one, but I love it: She believed she could, and so she did.

Thank you so much for your time and thoughtful answers. We hope to host you again soon!

 

Blurb:

Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Or at least, he doesn’t want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He’s a straight, carefree frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn’t leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.

Enter Tate. He’s smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas’s surly exterior. Sure, he’s done things in life he’s not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he’s never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.

But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas’s old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn’t enough—and sometimes it’s exactly what you need.

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Excerpt:

“It’s small,” Jonas said.

“Better than a cardboard box or foster care.” The sharpness in Tate’s voice echoed in his frown.

Jonas had never known anyone before who’d been in foster care, and saying so would probably make him the biggest douche on the planet. It also took the edge off some of his irritation over the total mindfuck that was Tate Dawson. “It’s way better than both of those things. You worked hard for this place, Tate. I haven’t worked hard for anything in my life.”

“I disagree.”

He blinked. “You do?”

“Yes, I do. I think you work very, very hard to convince yourself and the world that you’re something you’re not. I think you work very, very hard to be perfect when no one is, and the only thing anyone should ever do is just be her or himself. Be true to you, not to what others want from you.”

Jonas’s throat squeezed tight. “I can’t.”

Tate took a step closer, bringing a gentle waft of sweat and something sweet. “Why not?”

He saw the barest reflection of himself in Tate’s glasses and he didn’t like it. He stepped back. Tate snagged his wrist and held him there. The touch sent awareness buzzing across his skin, down his spine and straight to his balls. H needed to pull away before this got out of control.

And then his rebel brain decided it was a good idea to glance at Tate’s pink lips. Lips that Tate, the asshole, licked with slow swipes of his tongue.

Jonas yanked away his hand away so hard Tate stumbled. “I’m not gay, so you can get that ‘fuck the frat boy’ fantasy out of your head right now.”

Instead of being cowed, Tate planted both hands on his hips and said, “Who are you trying to convince? Because it’s just you and me in this room, and I’m not the one who brought up your sexuality. You did.”

Damn him. “Why won’t you leave me alone?”

Tate’s gaze drifted over his face as he sought for words. “Because every time we’re together I can tell you’re struggling with something. You put up this lone wolf front to keep people at arm’s length so you don’t have to work so hard to pretend, but it’s exhausting you. Jonas, you can be yourself with me. Whoever that is.”

“I can’t.” Talking was getting harder around the lump in his throat. His heart was kicking too fast and his chest ached.

“Look me in the eye.” Tate closed the three strides between them, then curled a warm hand around the back of Jonas’s neck. “Look me in the eye and say you don’t want to kiss me right now.”

Meet the author:

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/A.M.Arthur.M.A

Twitter: http://twitter.com/am_arthur

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur

Website: http://amarthur.blogspot.com/

Our thoughts:

It’s a guarantee that I will read every book AM Arthur publishes. There’s something about her writing style, protagonists, and plots that greatly appeal to me. I consider her a tried and true author. She has an authentic voice through her characters and I thoroughly enjoy every novel I’ve read from her. So, if you’re looking for a hard ass review where I rip the book up, just walk away! Pure gushing will now ensue!

What did I loved about Come What May? Where to start! First, I’d have to say I liked Jonas. At first he comes across a bit of a spoiled brat, out-of-place in his new surroundings, but still feeling it out. He was more open than I expected him to be. He was really repentant for the past issue that put him in his current situation.

Being away from his parents pressures and those of the college and frat he was attending allow for Jonas to start some self discovery. He was able to reflect and also just be. Never in his life had he ever been able to just be himself. How suffocating. That would be exhausting as well. The more we get to know Jonas, the more I liked him. Rich kid, yes. Spoiled kid, not really. A kid struggling and looking for love and self-respect? Definitely!

I felt for him and the lack of concern shown by his parents for all his life and especially when he discovers his learning disability and he’s belittled for it. Heartbreaking.

Through all the struggles and self-reflection Jonas is enduring, we have Tate on the sidelines trying to be the most supportive new friend to Jonas. Tate has his act together. He raises his two sisters, runs a homeless shelter, and somehow manages to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. He doesn’t really have time for a relationship, but Jonas is just the guy to make him change that line of thinking. Tate is ‘adulting’ for real. Jonas is just finding himself. They’d appear to be opposites, but the attraction is too great to ignore. Once they get started there’s no stopping the runaway train that is their lust and affinity for each other. Tate is good about being firm with what he won’t do, like go back into the closet for Jonas, without pressuring him. He’s there if and when Jonas wants to come out to his aunt and uncle, and his parents.

I liked how Tate was the responsible, compassionate, mature one of the relationship. He balanced Jonas well and he wasn’t condescending or boastful. He was extremely patient and fell so hard for Jonas—I liked that. He wasn’t infallible and was willing to do what he needs to right things.

There were some background issues going on that help propel the story and cause some drama for our two heroes. Through it all, this was more a story of self discovery and finding true love. It stays an honest romance without a messy breakup or black moment. Just love, understanding, and growth. My favorites!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!!

Tour Dates & Stops:

23-May:

The Novel Approach, Gay Media Reviews, Gay Book Reviews, Man2ManTastic, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Mikky’s World of Books, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

24-May:

Oh My Shelves, MM Good Book Reviews, Attention Is Arbitrary, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

25-May:

Unquietly Me, Havan Fellows, Prism Book Alliance

26-May:

Love Bytes, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Sassygirl Books

27-May:

Hearts on Fire, 3 Chicks After Dark, Multitasking Mommas

30-May:

Happily Ever Chapter, Books A to Z, Joyfully Jay

31-May:

Dawn’s Reading Nook, Jessie G. Books, Book Lovers 4Ever

1-Jun: My Fiction Nook, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Making It Happen

2-Jun: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming

3-Jun: V’s Reads, As The Pages Turn

6-Jun: Outrageous Heroes, BFD Book Blog

7-Jun:

Cathy Brockman Romances, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy

8-Jun:

Three Books Over The Rainbow, Bayou Book Junkie

9-Jun:

Kirsty Loves Books, Divine Magazine

10-Jun:

Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly

 

 
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Out of Frame (In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson

out of frame coverRelease Date: March 15, 2016
Published by InterMix
Review Copy from NetGalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he’s bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams…

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OUR THOUGHTS:

The third book in the In Focus series takes romance to the high seas in this sweet, sexy tale. Readers will love everything from the fun, fresh setting to the current, pop-culture premise to the complex, dynamic characters.  Megan Erickson crafts a not-so-classic coming out story told with a healthy dose of wit, sass and seasickness.

It all begins quite innocently…Quinn and Jess taking off for the trip of a lifetime. They’re hard workers, scraping by and saving every cent to be able to enjoy this one last hurrah before graduating from college.  A cruise to the Caribbean with the cast of Trip League, a reality show chronicling the adventures of a colorful case of characters around the globe, sounds exciting, right? It’s the chance of a lifetime to meet and mingle with celebrities while enjoying some much deserved R&R.  If only things can really be that low key…

Several chance meetings put Quinn directly in the path of his secret celebrity crush, J.R. Butler. Quinn quickly learns just how much reality is in reality TV as he gets to know the “real” J.R.  A series of mixed signals paired with off-the-charts chemistry has Quinn confused and wanting to get to know J.R. a lot better.

The issue of homophobia in Hollywood and its effect on actors isn’t new or exclusive to this story, however, I enjoy the way Megan Erickson addresses it. Her presentation of the situation and circumstances is tangible; readers have no problem putting themselves in Jay’s place. As much as I hate to see his struggle, I find it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t make the same decision given his situation. I thoroughly enjoyed watching his character grow into one who’s strong enough to be true to himself.

RATING: STILETTOS

Selfie (Bluewater Bay) by Amy Lane

Selfie CoverRelease Date: April 16, 2016
Published by Riptide Press
Review Copy from NetGalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.

Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.

The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

Amy Lane hits it out of the park with the 13th installment in the Bluewater Bay series. This heartfelt, riveting tale grabs readers with an emotional hook and never lets go.  Lane expertly navigates the waters of grief and loss, emphasizing the change and complexity of the healing process at every stage while also planting the seed of hope and acceptance. That one seed is like a beacon in the dark at times when the stark reality of suffering threatens to swallow you whole.

Connor Montgomery is struggling to pick up the pieces of his personal and professional lives after the loss of the love of his life, Vinnie. Closeted and grieving, Connor’s not sure how to resume life in the Hollywood spotlight until an unwise, drunken YouTube confession thrusts him back into the public eye. Recognizing the early stages of self-destruction, his agent steps in to help get him back on track. His new role takes him to the set of Wolf’s Landing and beautiful Bluewater Bay, world’s away from the painful memories of all he’s lost.

What’s particularly great about Connor’s time in Bluewater Bay is that Amy Lane doesn’t sugarcoat it.  Her multi-faceted storytelling gives a clear view of how Connor’s coping with Vinnie’s loss and its impact on the world around him. Even as he’s presented with opportunity after opportunity to move on – including a new love interest he’s almost actually shocked to be interested in – he’s plagued by memories, missed opportunities and a slew of new issues that could impact his career. It’s refreshing to see such a bold, unadulterated look at the grieving process, something occasionally glossed over because, let’s face it, it’s not pretty. One kiss, landing a new role,  finding new love – none of these magically erases the pain. Sometimes trying to reconcile new feelings with old can be catastrophic mentally and emotionally, and the impact is never limited to just the person suffering. In this case Connor has a lot to work through before he’s healthy and stable enough to find his own reasons to keep going.

RATING: STILETTOS!