Dudleytown by L.B. Gregg

DudleytownDudleytown by L.B. Gregg

Blurb:
College sophomore Alexander Strauss has one rule: no messing around with straight guys. Especially not his mouthwatering roommate, Shannon. When their ride share drives off the side of a mountain, the two young men find themselves deep in an uninhabited forest searching for their missing friend. Wandering the famously cursed grounds of Dudleytown, Alex figures something truly unholy must be at play, because only insanity could tempt him to break his cardinal rule.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

dont be the guy who gets killed!

The Nest by GS Wiley

The Nest by GS Wiley

Blurb:

Jay McIntyre’s main goal in life is to keep his younger siblings together and away from Social Services, who he’s certain will separate them if they know his mother left two years ago. Juggling two jobs and the responsibility of caring for three children, the nineteen year old’s problems are compounded when Jess, his younger sister, begins to rebel and when an old enemy is released from prison and returns to his housing estate.

Overwhelmed and at the end of his rope, Jay is finally forced to seek for help from a surprising source: Police Constable Brendan Cuddy.

Review:

I’m a big fan of GS Wiley’s writing and this particular offering is perhaps my favorite of her books. It’s not perfect but the writing is evocative and there is so much potential in this story, I really wish this had turned into a meaty, in depth novel. Instead Wiley keeps the story light and almost too easy in spots, but the texture and character given to the story and writing are engaging and inviting. This more of a literary novella with gay characters than a gay romance and it’s not erotica at all. Wiley doesn’t really write erotica – I remember I actually blushed when she wrote “cock” in one of her books, I so don’t associate that with Wiley – and those that are expecting any sex scenes or a strong romance may be disappointed.

The plot revolves around a nineteen year old who has had to take care of his family for the past few years since his mom abandoned them. Forced to grow up at a young age, Jay works two jobs and struggles to provide for his family – 16 y/o Jess, 9 y/o Zoe, 5 y/o Nico – as he deals with the police and old rivals in a low income housing unit. Jay gets unexpected help from a new to the patrol Police Constable, Brendan.

The story itself is rather light even though it tackles some big issues with great potential. There is the main character of Jay who is struggling with two jobs, three kids, and no time for a life himself. Complicating matters is the oldest girl, Jess, who is rebelling in a heavy goth phase and getting into bad company. Both Jay and Jess get involved in some difficult situations involving drugs and violence. On a positive note, none of these issues are depressing or bring down the light, easy flow and pace to the book. On the negative side is that none of these issues are fully fleshed out. Each is hinted out briefly and eventually pseudo-resolved but none are really given the time, attention, and depth they deserve. Their potential is barely skimmed with the easy handed manner in which they are treated. This story is filled with enough material for a much longer book and it’s disappointing that the choice was made to keep the story light and short.

The characterization is similarly skimmed with much more waiting to be explored. The story is told in third person, alternating from Jay and Brendan’s point of views. Jay is a complicated mess from his determination to do right for his family to his elemental fear of failing, his distrust of the police and his neighborhood. All of this combines to give a complex, intricate character that is shown in his day to day life but skims over the emotional road bumps. Even the scene where Jay is explaining to Brendan why his mother left is oddly detached with an almost clinical information dump. This pivotal scene lacks an emotional connection between the men that shimmers beneath the surface. The chemistry between the two is there, but never given full attention. Part of this is that the book also focuses on Brendan’s failed relationship and finally accepting his attraction to the younger Jay. Since the two have so few scenes together, the connection exists in their minds more so than their action and the story ends as soon as the two show a possible future.

So while there are clearly some issues with the story, what shines so brightly is the tight writing, great setting, and true texture in the story. There are small choices such as prose or dialogue that truly immerse the reader in the setting and the cracked sidewalks, depressing jobs, and threads of hope. The secondary characters from the neighbors to the other constables, even Brendan’s mother are interesting and almost given too much space at the expense of the main characters. The book draws you in with the small details, such as the scene with Jay scared for his life contemplating a knife but knowing what it would mean for his family if he got caught. The word choice gives an authentic feel and tone to the story where unfamiliar words or phrases don’t feel awkward and misplaced as so often happens in books.

Although I think this novella has the potential to become a truly stunning book, the story is still well written with great characters, an authentic setting, and the thread of hope and romance. The focus on the characters and how Brendan and Jay meet could set this duo up for a sequel and if so, I hope the issues and characters are fully explored and developed to their limits. I’d recommend this book to those who are looking for a solid story about gay characters, but don’t expect any sex or a lot of romance. I don’t mind but others may so be sure to read this when you’re in the mood for something easy.

Get it HERE!

Divided Hearts by Terry O’Reilly

 Divided Hearts by Terry O’Reilly

Blurb:


When Jonathan and Nathaniel part ways, Nathaniel heads for the Ohio territory and a new life with Robert. Robert soon realizes his friend will never reciprocate his love fully. What can he do? Robert agrees to help the English translate in their negotiations with the Shawnee and in doing so meets Red Horse. Now there are two men living with Divided Hearts.

 

Sequel to Awakening…

Awakening by Terry O’Reilly

 Awakening by Terry O’Reilly

Blurb:

Jonathan Carver, a young Puritan school teacher, meets the handsome Nathaniel Morgan, master cooper. He comes to recognize the longings he has had all his life as desire for the love of another man. Nathaniel provides that love.

Their love must be carefully guarded as they live in Colonial America at the time of the call to Awakening of the Puritan spirit. Knowing that the penalty for their love is dire, they strive to keep their affair secret.

Another book ruined by the epilogue…

Walking in Two Worlds by Terry O’Reilly

 Walking in Two Worlds by Terry O’Reilly

Blurb:

Lee Masters is fired from his cattle drive when his sexual orientation is discovered. Frustrated and angry, he rides to a mountain lake where he meets Running Buffalo, Tatanka, who is also exiled from his tribe for refusing to adhere to tribal custom for braves who prefer men to women. They strike up a friendship, which readily turns to love. Their family is completed when a young Indian, Sleeps With Dogs, insists they take him with them on their search for a home. Where can they find the acceptance they seek? Will they always be Walking In Two Worlds?

 

 

Historical …

Finding the Words by Terry O’Reilly

Finding the Words by Terry O’Reilly

Blurb:

Ryan Phillips, a speech and language pathologist in the physical rehabilitation unit of a major university hospital, has recently ended a relationship due to his partner’s infidelity. He is called in to treat a patient who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. In the course of his treatments he begins to have feelings for the man. But is he ready to be healed, and will the patient heal enough to be able to return the love that appears to be growing between them?

 

More older men..

War Torn by JM Snyder

War Torn by JM Snyder

Blurb:

In a not too distant future, the island of Manhattan has been commandeered by rebels aided by terrorists who have set themselves against the U.S. government. The Brooklyn Bridge, now fallen into disuse, stands as a sort of "no-man’s land" between the island and the military that patrol the Hudson River. When the rebels bomb the Bridge, the nation is plunged into what might become a second Civil War.

Captain Jace Rickert is a grounded pilot whose Army lover, Second Lieutenant Tomas Tait, is sent on a routine reconnaissance mission. When Tait disappears and the military can’t stop the impending war to find one missing soldier, Rickert takes matters into his own hands.

 

My boy…