The One That Got Away by Rhianne Aile & Madeleine Urban

The One That Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban

Blurb:

When David Carmichael suffers a migraine and then a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie continues with no problems until David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is slowly falling in love. What he doesn’t know is that Trace is struggling with a similar discovery. 



Trace has never desired another man before. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David makes the emotion and arousal growing between them irresistible. Soothing David’s doubts, Trace makes it clear that he wants to know if they can make it work. Because Trace is sure he wouldn’t love another man — that’s not the issue. He just loves David.

 

A gay for you that mostly worked..

Primal Red by Nicole Kimberling

Primal Red by Nicole Kimberling

Blurb:

Peter Fontaine is a reporter writing for a free weekly newspaper in the quirky little town of Bellingham. Nick Olson is a reclusive painter with questionable past and a studio in the Vitamilk Building. Peter has a knack for choosing to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case that place is the Vitamilk Building and the time is the moment that Shelley Vine, local art professor and rising star of the art world, is stabbed to death.

Determined to understand why Vine was killed, and convinced that breaking the story could jumpstart his career as an investigative journalist, Peter begins his own investigation into her death. As Peter uncovers more information about Vine, Olson, and the interconnected lives of the rest of the artists at the Vitamilk Building, he finds himself falling in love with Nick.

Peter wants a story but he also wants Nick, and it looks like he’s going to have to make a choice before the two can paint the town Primal Red.

Quirky but not wholly satisfying..

Zachary Zangel’s On the Way to the Wedding

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Now, I don’t like to write bad or snarky reviews. I prefer to well, like, the books I’m reading and it’s rare I’ve come across a book so horrible I ask, is the author on crack? Sure I may not like this or that, but for almost every book I dislike I can usually understand why the book got published and usually even bad authors have big followings. However, putting that aside, I seriously questioned for hours after reading this spectacularly bad piece of … fiction…

Loose Id… what were you thinking? Seriously. No one stopped this and said "boy, this reads worse than a bad porno." Who edited this and thought "yanno, there IS a market for people with dicks described as small elephants."  

I’m so astonished at how bad this is. So…read on at your risk.


Zachary Zangel’s On the Way to the Wedding

Blurb:

If Erik and David were Tofutti, David would be vanilla swirled with pistachio and Erik would definitely be cherry vanilla — but not for long. Erik’s divorced with a six year-old son. He’s also gay and a gay sex virgin. He knows nothing about how men love each other…until he meets David.

Erik might be new, but he’s eager to learn. Top, bottom, it makes no difference; he loves it all. And David is more than happy to be his teacher, from the basics to the not so basic. Then they run across a flight attendant who entices them into their first three-way, for educational purposes, of course. Next comes a group of frolickers at a gay guesthouse whose activities convince Erik that joining in may be more fun than being monogamous.

Of course, there’s the proverbial monkey wrench. Erik’s ex-wife objects to their son being around a gay couple. But you never know what’s going to happen — on the way to a wedding.

[This is a deceptively good cover. But it's a lie.]

 

 

Review:

I thought about writing a complete review for this but really, I don’t want to put more effort in than the author did so I’m going to use his style and give an outline of the relationship with relevant quotes. I have tried as much as possible not to add additional commentary. I don’t think I’ve ever known on page 6 that I would loathe a book before.
 

Erik and David meet in a department store and decide to go to dinner with the upfront knowledge that there will be sex immediately after. They managed to make it through dinner by copiously groping each other, which then begins their relationship. They do make it back to the apartment before David begins to educate the closeted Erik.

“I pulled off the few almost-invisible hairs stuck to my lips, then stood, kissed him, and snowballed. And that’s how he discovered the taste appeal of cum.”


The next night after their first "date", Erik introduces David to his son as Erik’s boyfriend and they go on a family outing. By the end of the outing, David is in love with both father and son. Here’s an example of Erik’s son, ten year old Little Rik using his words at the movies when an older pair complained about a child at a Russian sub-titled film.

Disgusted, Little Rik turned around and said, “First of all, I’m not Chinese. I’m half Korean. I can so read, thank you very much. Probably better than you can. How dare you question my intelligence, you dolts? You’ve got a lot of nerve. And I was trained properly in good manners, so if I did get restless, you’d never know it. Humph. Stupid bitches, both of you.”

I looked around for somewhere to hide from embarrassment, but the women pretended to have heard not a word. Erik, meanwhile, gazing out into space, ignored it all. 

I knew it wasn’t up to me to correct him, but Erik hadn’t, and I felt uncomfortable. “Little Rik,” I admonished, “you shouldn’t…”


“But they started it, sir.”

I couldn’t argue with that, so I let it drop.

 

The parenting was overwhelming in this book. By the third hook up or "date", Erik and David openly grope each other at the opera and decide they are monogamous. Erik has also nicknamed their "meat" "bob and boing".

10 days from the start of their relationship and 2 days from becoming monogamous, Erik brings David home to meet the parents, who want David to call them Mom and Dad. Oh and Dad sits on the bed with his naked "sons" while they discuss how much they fucked the night before. Thankfully Dad didn’t mind the hyena braying that is his son in the throes of orgasm. He’s just glad the two are having a good time.

Thank god the Swedish have no hangups about sex like the ultra conservative Americans. But even though the men are declaring their undying love and so forth, David just can’t resist a married man’s “thick, piece of junk”. However, David displays some amnesia and rationalizes it because:

All I could think about Erik. But I told myself, I haven’t made any commitment to him. We’re dating, but neither of us has said anything about being exclusive. So why shouldn’t I? When opportunity knocks…

Moving on, less than a week after the cheating incident, David and Erik are engaged, wanting to move in together and have a ceremony to symbolize their lasting commitment. Good thing Erik doesn’t know David is enjoying snowballing with others.  But not to worry, David is there to teach our virgin but hairy gay boy about tea bagging with “giant hairy nads the size of freakin’ turkey balls” on the night of their engagement.


Now, this was all in the first 60 pages of the book, which totals 170 pages. I was starting to majorly fatigue on the abundance of bad writing but I persevered.


In the remainder of the book, David comes clean about cheating but Erik gets over it after a few days. They then regularly get together in a threesome with a nearby flight attendant because David clearly likes variety. The book has a lengthy aside were Erik’s shrew ex-wife forces both men to grovel at her feet for her approval of their marriage; they beg, months later she approves. But the stress of the marriage forces the men to run off to a gay resort where they meet Erik’s boss and have an orgy.

Here is when David drags Erik over to meet Charlie, Erik’s boss, at the gay resort thereby outing both Erik and Charlie to each other:

“But Charlie recovered quickly enough to smile, shake hands with me, and put his arm around Erik’s shoulder. And to introduce both of us to Mikey. 

“Mikey isn’t my boyfriend,” Charlie said, “but I wish he was. He’s a firecracker. Sucks dick like you wouldn’t believe and takes my big one up the ass like a pro.”

If only we all had bosses like that. But once again, don’t worry because gay guys on vacation have orgies and Bob and Boing, attached to our intrepid heroes who are ready to play. And play they do. However, as much fun as that was, the duo head back to New York to find out Erik’s ex-wife decides she can’t find any good men so she gets herself a girlfriend and the men skip their own wedding, calling an hour after they were supposed to show up and said it was too stressful, they eloped on the beach.

“Just as I was telling him how much I loved him, he delivered a massive load of cum, not onto my chest or face, not into my mouth, but over my head, going splat in the sand.”

 


This went splat a long time before that. I may have nightmares about some of it.

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I wavier between incredulity, laughter, and anger that this was published along side such books as St. Nacho’s, Ghost Who Wore Yellow Socks, Lovers Dreamers and Me and many other quality novels. This is marketed as an erotic contemporary and it is far from either. There are so many clichés, stereotypes, ignorance and flat out BAD writing, I want to laugh and then burn the book.

Do not buy it. This is a bad porno mockery.

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Collision Course by K. A. Mitchell


Once again, I simply fail. Newest and Brightest not exactly what I review, though I do get around to it eventually. When looking over my TBR list, I peered at the covers and what do my eyes spy? More man titty from the lickable Anne Cain. As if that alone is an indicator of greatness, I plucked a never read before author from the depths based on naked man chest. Shallow? Perhaps but read on for more depth than just hot surfer.

For true Marvin Gaye Fans..

The Good Thief by James Buchanan

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The Good Thief by James Buchanan

I thought I had read this book already but discovered I had in fact confused it with another book. So once again I’m reading off the backlist.

Blurb:


Working construction provides Caesar with a great way to cover up his real job; stealing whatever he can get his hands on. Which is why the guy he has a fling with could be really bad for business. Nate is a cop, and Caesar worries that he might be tempting fate if he sees Nate again, even if he wants to.

When Caesar discovers something far worse than some petty thievery on one of his jobs, though, he knows he has to report it to Nate, and the two of them try to find a way to keep Caesar safe until he can testify, even as the sparks fly between them. Can Nate protect Caesar and teach him that there are ways to be a good guy as well as a thief?

I seem to have rambled.

StarCrossed 2 1/2: Sangria and Seraphim by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine

StarCrossed 2 1/2: Sangria and Seraphim by Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod

Blurb:

Identical twin demons Jace and Konnor Barton run Tailz, a supernatural-friendly bar in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s the sort of place where things are never dull, but on the weekend of a full moon things can get even more interesting. When Jace encounters an angel in distress, he can hardly resist the urge to offer his own special brand of help.

Ariel is an angel with an itch to experience the darker side of earthly life, and he’s heard through the grapevine that Jace is the demon for the job. Much to Ariel’s surprise, he finds out he’ll be getting both brothers coming to his aid for the price of one.

We should take him home with us..

I have an opinion therefore I matter?

 A few days ago an author mentioned two comments that struck my interest. Leaving said author anonymous unless he wishes to be named his comments were something along the lines of…


I have a blog! Give me a free copy of your book, I R reviewer. Um, no.

There will soon be more erotic reviewers than writers. 

 

Both comments paraphrased of course, but the general idea is there. Now, interestingly it had never occurred to me that someone with a random blog, such as mine lets say, would have the audacity to ask for a free book giving the dubious offering of a review for however many people visit that site. Now, all publicity being good publicity in the realm of writing and authorship so even if the review is bad, the name and book are still getting Google hits; but wow, am I missing out on some hidden world of random reviewers? People not only do this, authors and publishers actually send them free books? 

Seriously?

Which, of course that dove tails into the second comment regarding the plethora of erotica romance reviewers of late. Once again, I seem to be living under a rock because for the most part, I could never find more than one or two reviews for any particular m/m book I choose at the moment. A lot of it was that I happen to read a number of author backlists and reviews tend to concentrate on the newest and shiniest of releases. But even then, there were several I simply couldn’t find reviews on – at all, anywhere. 

So thus began my search of trying to make a list of all the many review sites for romance, and since that list was omfg big, I’m going to narrow that down to particularly, m/m romance or erotica reviews. Why you ask? Because I’m curious and thus spent HOURS upon HOURS culminating in days, looking for this and the only way to make such a trivial, meaningless waste of time appropriate is to pretend it brings someone else a measure of entertainment, or saves them the time. 

So let’s start with the big names that everyone goes to more for the social aspect and drama than reviews. These all have a focus on het romance over m/m and tend to have entertaining, but snarky reviews. Overall, I don’t really visit them for informative, insightful m/m book reviews.

Smart Bitches

Dear Author

Teddy Pig

Karen Knows Best

Mrs. Giggles


Desert Island Keepers 
*Now I put this in its own category because it’s all about romance with a considerable hefty portion devoted to m/m erotica and romance but its focus is heavily on author interviews and likes of contributors. If you look back for the past two months, there is not a single book review beyond an “I loved this book” very short gush which is entertaining but not an informative book review site. The individual contributors’ blogs lean towards het romance and again, I’m focusing on m/m. 

So what about actual book review sites? Well, there are tons! Shall we? 

Joyfully Reviewed

Fallen Angel Reviews

Manic Readers Reviews

Rainbow Reviews

Dark Angel Reviews

Literary Nymph Reviews

Two Lips Reviews

Dark Diva Reviews

Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Uniquely Pleasurable Reviews

 

Now all of these review tons of different m/m books, yet, here is where I’m going to get into trouble but I’m going to say it, there are less than a dozen reviewers between those massive review sites that offer thoughtful, provocative, informative reviews. Ok, don’t kill me now because that’s not to say the quality is bad, per se. But the majority of reviews from the above review sites are incredibly short, mostly a paragraph, commenting more on the basic feeling the books left the reviewer with than an actual review of the book. 

Now before I’m flayed, I seriously challenge anyone to find more than 1 or 2 reviewers PER SITE that actually write complete reviews. Now that’s not to say reviews have to be so long you fall asleep during the middle of it or even that they have to be longer than a paragraph, but the review has to say something (IMO) more than you loved it or you hated it. 

One of the reasons I wanted to work for Rainbow Reviews was the quality of their reviews. Sure they have their share of short and emotion reviewers, but they have several reviewers who write about a book with intelligence and insight (shout out to Emily, Carole, Marame and of course JM Snyder). Those are the type of reviews I personally consult when considering a book. 

So with that problem established, I also tend to look at blog reviews so let’s go there for insightful and informative reviews:

 

The Good


Reviews by Jessewave

Elisa Rolle

Emerald Jaguar Thoughts

What am I reading?

Enigmatically Emily


The OK 
*either due to short/emotional reviews or very occasional reviews but good sites

Kris ‘n Good Books

Rain on Roof

Nose in a Book

The Ginger Kid’s Den of Iniquity


So while several of the above sites all have reviewed the biggest new releases getting word of mouth, I again ask you.. what about the others? What about Rick Reed, who I have found all of maybe one informative review (thank you Wave)? And so on for other authors. 

I don’t pretend I’m important nor do I pretend reviewing for my blog, Rainbow Reviews and Manic Readers makes me some sort of legitimate reviewer, nor does it any of the others listed either unfortunately. However, I’m still glad for those sites that continue to pump out their reviews into the nether.  Maybe they know the secret to free books, but I shall pay my own way and call myself a fan of literature. 

As for more reviewers than writers? Well, I think that is an easy argument – just as there are authors who publish less than award winning material, there are similar reviewers but I don’t think we’re in danger of being overrun just yet. 

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