I’m bored.

I’m not sure about other readers but I have to say – I’m bored.  Is this a trend in m/m fiction that most of the books coming out are boring? I’m not sure what it is but I’m just sick of the same tropes without ANY invention.

Now granted, being that I am a fan of genre fiction that the same themes and ideas will pop up over and over. That is the inherent point of genre fiction and not only do I get that, I clearly enjoy it. What I enjoy about it is the author introducing a twist, a fun aspect, something new, or something interesting. I’m bored with the thing over and over.

KZ Snow mentioned how boring some of the blogs are lately with reviewing the same books ad nausea and since I’m bored with everything I read – I’m throwing this out there to my four dedicated (and blackmailed) readers.

What would YOU suggest for new books to read/review?

This can be anything within m/m fiction but it doesn’t have to be romance. Any subgenre, any author – basically anything at all.



New Rainbow Reviews

 It’s that time again – new Rainbow Reviews. In keeping with the “Mask” theme I started last week with Masks 1 and Masks 2, Masks 3 is up over on RR. I originally had to read 1 & 2 just to review 3 so you all get to read the same basic review (sorry!). But it’s still a fabulous series. If only I can do inclusive reviews of a whole series. There are a couple of shorts plus a solid vampire story by the great AM Riley plus the utterly hysterical SubSurdity. Eric Arvin could be my new comic god. Just saying…

Check them out!


Immortality is the Suck by A.M. Riley

Masks: Ordinary Champions by Hayden Thorne

Overtime by M. Durango  

Safe House by M. King

Subsurdity by Eric Arvin

Boys of Summer by Cooper Davis

Boys of Summer by Cooper Davis


I thought I knew what love was…

My name is Hunter Willis and I’ve found love. The problem? I’m not sure I’m ready for the rest of the world to know I’ve fallen for my best friend. Everyone knows Max is gay. Me? They think I’m straight as an arrow. So did I, until Max and I shared a kiss three months ago that blew that theory right out of the water.

Now, by the ocean in Florida, thousands of miles away from prying eyes, I’m finally ready to admit to myself that Max and I have something special. Max has been ready for a long time—and he’s been waiting for me.Really waiting. As in…he’s still a virgin.

There’s nothing I want more than to be Max’s first lover. But I know when Max gives away that part of himself, it won’t be just a summer fling. It’ll be for keeps. Max deserves the best. I’m just not sure, when it comes right down to it, that I won’t break his heart.

Did I mention I’m scared as hell?


[The cover is fitting – just the same stock used so many times.]


A truly lovely short novella about the fear of coming out overweighed with an incredible love found, regardless of gender. Sometimes in romance the simplicity of finding and holding onto love is overlooked for the drama, tension, and flash of problems, issues, and miscommunications. Conversely when the romance itself is the center point, the story is often too sweet and easy. Here the author has delivered a beautiful story showing the complexity of emotion and the ease of romance. However the path to acceptance is not always accomplished with a mild mannered announcement and here two great men struggle but focus on what is ultimately the most important element – their love.

Told in first person from Hunter’s point of view, the story follows a brief time period at the end of summer as Hunter struggles with coming out of the closet to friends. A confirmed heterosexual, Hunter has never really questioned his lackluster sexual response to women until he meets Max through mutual friends. The seeds of a crush are laid but both men seem to dance around the idea, ignoring it in favor of a slow building friendship. Finally one summer after they’ve been friends for years Max slowly opens Hunter’s eyes to the emotion between them. Although Hunter dives into the relationship with both feet, he can’t help a one step forward, two steps back attitude. He wants Max desperately yet is afraid of the stigma and label attached to admitting he may be gay.

The characters are really rich in detail and complexity. Hunter’s struggle with accepting his sexuality is layered and he stumbles several times along the way. Without Max’s patient understanding, the relationship would never have worked and Hunter recognizes this important fact. However that doesn’t stop Hunter from lashing out, running away, and inadvertently hurting Max in his fear. Hunter slowly accepts that Max wants an open relationship and won’t accept hiding for too much longer, that Max’s endless patience does indeed have a limit. What’s really touching about the emotional journey is that Hunter’s feelings for Max are never in doubt. Hunter is incredibly proud to be with Max and loves the man completely and totally. Even that deep well of emotion struggles to overcome Hunter’s resistance to accepting he is gay and facing possible repercussions from friends and family.

This short story is surprisingly well written and deeply emotional, given the smaller length. Thus the characterization and journey of the men are never wasted on small details or banal conversation. The tentative exploration into sex includes missteps and unfolding desire which combine to create an intimate look at a relationship as it turns from casual into serious and potentially life long.  The romance and sensuality of the relationship comes through, showing the care and love Max has shown Hunter over the course of the summer. Hunter’s slow emergence from fearful “friend” into proud lover is a lovely transformation and epitomizes the classic genre of romance.

If I had any qualms it would only be I didn’t appreciate the scene in the kitchen with Max and Hunter’s ex-girlfriends. While I understand the dynamic and the importance of the women in the men’s lives and close, supportive relationships – I felt the entire conversation is awkward and uncomfortable. I connected with Hunter on such a level, I felt his embarrassment and unease about the situation just as acutely. I didn’t feel the women’s reactions were explained or justified and thus they were somewhat odd and ill fitting to the story. However, this is a small scene in the story and the ending is beautiful and moving.

If you’re looking for a lovely summer romance story – this certainly satisfies. 

Get it HERE!

Masks: Evolution by Hayden Thorne

Masks: Evolution by Hayden Thorne


While his friends continue to develop their newfound powers, Eric begins to feel the effects of being the odd man out. Around him, things go from bad to worse for Vintage City as the Shadow Puppet, a new super-villain, steps into the Devil’s Trill’s shoes and wreaks havoc with his army of killer mannequins. Magnifiman, Calais, and Spirit Wire have their hands full, with the Puppet proving to be much more slippery than the Trill and leaving the good guys scrambling for clues. Work-related stress begins to creep into Eric’s relationship with Peter, which reaches the breaking point when Peter takes a new superhero under his wing, a fire-wielding teenage girl, whose awesome powers could make her a better match for Peter.

To make matters worse, there are the strange headaches, sleepwalking, and nightmares that haunt Eric, as well as the Devil’s Trill’s call for him to take his place as a super-villain sidekick. There’s also Brenda Whitaker, her mysterious past, and her sudden desire to help Eric as he struggles to figure himself out and make the right choice before his parents ask him again about his awful Geometry and Chemistry grades. Can Eric handle the stress? Find out in this second book of the Masks trilogy.


In the second installment of the Masks series, Eric’s stress level is reaching new heights. He’s worried about his perpetually broke financial state, his problematic relationship with Peter, the new villain taking his friends’ time and the fact that no matter what he can’t seem to raise his grades in certain subjects. Convinced his headaches are the physical manifestation of all his stress, Eric struggles with inferiority and emotional outbursts as the normal one out. Although Peter tells Eric he loves him, the busy life of a superhero keeps Peter away and often edgy. When a new hero emerges and seems to have a deep connection with Peter, Eric’s insecurities and fears reach new heights.

The first book in the series is very light and pokes fun at the characters and situations in a youthful and often disaffected way. This story is darker and more emotional as the teenage angst and emo Eric experiences plays out for the majority of the book. Now Eric’s internal struggles and dramas are more evident and present as the main focus versus the action and excitement of crime fighting. Here Eric’s deepest fears and issues are examined. Imagine being back in high school and if that angst isn’t enough on its own, add an openly gay sexuality to the mix and then as the cherry – your boyfriend and fag hag both are super heroes while you’re stuck taking the garbage out and watching the latest news for updates. Eric struggles with his feelings and problems even as the growing chasm between he and his friends echoes wider. The often tumultuous youth is highlighted wonderfully as Eric jumps between despair over Peter and true love at the first sign of reconciliation. Eric’s narrative voice is intimate and engaging, allowing the reader to really connect with him, his emotions, and choices. This extends to allow the reader to sympathize and even agree with his choices, however difficult they may be.

The wonderful pacing and story is designed in such a way as to isolate Eric. Although some of the writing is inconsistent with the previous book, it’s difficult to focus on such an error when the entertaining and wonderfully engaging voice of the narrator pulls the reader into the story whenever slight errors may occur.  In this particular story, Eric is more alone and often by himself. He has more internal musings and conversations, lending more emotion and drama to the teenager, but at the same time creating a setting that will be the climax to the series in part three. Therefore this book is very important as the bridge between books one and three and doesn’t stand-alone. It allows the reader to delve more deeply into Eric’s personality and the reasons for his choices and thought process. There’s a bit of a twist at the end that segways into the next book but I won’t spoil it for readers. However, this twist is important and Eric’s internal arguments and feelings of isolation become important in a larger scheme.

It’s hard to say if this book is better than the previous offering as this story is less about non-stop action and more character driven from Eric’s standpoint. Although the atmosphere deepens and the good versus evil battle still rages on between new villains and the heroes, Eric’s place in the battle starts to become clear. The wonderful voice of Eric shows his desire to be more than he is, whatever that means, and his desire to be closer and understand his place and future. Feelings and desires readers can easily and infinitely relate to at any age. The wonderful writing is rich and realistic, never talking down but instead giving life to the positive and negative drawbacks of teenagers. The self acknowledged emo angst and desire to stand out while desperately hoping that it’s not too far out. The humorous elements are expertly woven into the story once again with Eric’s none too subtle hormones, sexuality, and the running joke about a superhero handbook.

It’s difficult to talk too much due to the inherent spoilers, but this story is well worth reading and only enhances the already great series. The development of Eric and the various other characters as well as the city itself lends such a rich texture to the story that immediately sets this apart from other books. The comic book themes and fresh, evocative narrator vault this young adult story well above a particular genre or narrow definition. The often hilarious dialogue and descriptions lighten the more somber mood of the tale and fitting it perfectly in the continuation of the series. It’s not able to be read on its own, but don’t skip this offering in the series.

Get it HERE!

Masks: Rise of Heroes by Hayden Thorne

Masks: Rise of Heroes by Hayden Thorne

Strange things are happening in Vintage City, and high school goth boy Eric seems to be right in the middle of them. There’s a new villain in town, one with super powers, and he’s wreaking havoc on the town and on Eric’s life. The new superhero who springs up to defend Vintage City is almost as bad, making Eric all hot and bothered, enough so that he almost misses the love that’s right under his nose.

Peter is Eric’s best friend, and even if he does seem to be hiding something most of the time, he finds a way to show Eric how he feels in between attacks. The two boys decide to start dating, much to the chagrin of their other best buddy, Althea, who has a terrible crush on Peter, and a secret or two of her own to keep.

As the fight between the villain, known as the Devil’s Trill, and superhero Magnifiman picks up, Eric’s relationship with Peter almost ends before it begins. When the Trill takes an interest in Eric, can he and his friends figure out the villain’s plan in time?



This is easily a brilliant beginning to a great new series. The first in a planned trilogy, the non-stop action and fabulous characters immediately immerse the reader into a comic book world filled with wit, charm, and adventure. The theme of superheroes and super villains is not necessarily new, but Thorne delivers a fresh and thoroughly entertaining voice in Eric as an average, almost boring outsider to the action. Although technically a young adult book as Eric is only sixteen, the themes presented and wonderful writing will engage readers of all ages. The quintessential teenage voice of the narrator will have readers sympathizing and empathizing with his trials and tribulations. This is definitely an incredibly strong start to a wonderful series.

Eric is an everyday sixteen-year-old teenager. He has trouble in Chemistry and Geometry, forgets to take out the trash every night and has a deep fascination with the color blue. He is openly gay but has yet to have a boyfriend. His two best friends consist of a shy, insecure, be speckled Peter and the outspoken fag-hag Althea. What starts as being in the wrong place at the wrong time sends all three into a new world as superheroes and villains emerge in the tiny, sleepy town of Vintage City. Unfortunately Eric seems to be the sole outsider in the small trio without any interesting powers even as his friendship with Peter takes a decidedly romantic turn. With a new threat on the horizon and his determination to use Eric as a pawn, the average, boring life of a typical teenager is about to change.

The story is narrated in first person from Eric’s perspective and is a totally delightful voice. The humor and wit of an acerbic teenager comes through brilliantly. Eric is sometimes sarcastic, defiant, pouting, moping, upbeat, energized, bored, and sick. He has a common every day life with parents and a bratty older sister, who keep the young man grounded when his thoughts run off to angst ridden haikus and blue food dye. He is hormonal and often lusty, coming of age in a time where his imagination gets more action than anything. Although there is nothing graphic, Eric is still a teenage male with all the associated dreams, wants, and desires. The fun humor and lighthearted manner this is handled add another layer of texture and flavor to the highly enriched tale.

The various other characters from Magnifiman, Peter, Althea, to the Devil’s Trill and even Eric’s parents are all less developed but no less essential to the story. Each has an important part to play, even Bambi Bailey and the RPG community. Although the driving motivations for each of these characters are deeply seated in a comic book atmosphere, Eric’s fresh voice and reactions give a unique and delightful spin on the classic tale. Eric is often in the wrong time and place, but struggles with being the outsider with no purpose and no special attributes. His family’s reactions and Eric’s own internal musings are often hilarious as he views the world with a slightly sarcastic and irreverent eye.

The writing itself is tight and solid with fast paced action and truly stunning dialogue. There are numerous laugh out loud comments mixed with a lyrical quality to the descriptions that come alive in the prose. The plot itself has some holes but these are placed on purpose to no doubt meld in with future books (having read the entire series back to back I can say this works incredibly well if you also read it similarly). This book sets up the characters, their relationships, and the setting perfectly while entertaining and leaving you wanting more. The humanity of the narrator and the heroes and villains comes through poignantly at times, showing the allure and awe of those able to do the impossible. However, the story also hints at the possible downside of such power and responsibility, especially for those that are still growing and maturing themselves.

Some great examples of the humor woven throughout the story:

Okay, that’s it,” Mom blurted out, throwing her hands up. “No more trains for you and anyone else in this household. Take the bus. I don’t care if slugs on Valium outpace those things, just take them!”

“Mom, buses could be the next ones to be sabotaged.”

“Well, what do you want? We can’t be held hostage by terrorists!” She glowered at me from where she sat, digging her fork into the skinny and rather dry-looking sausages on her plate. “Take the bus, Eric, and don’t argue.”


I slunk back into my room, my heart aching for my idol. I scribbled a couple of verses before I went to bed—sonnets, that time—yearning, outrage, and an empathic connection in iambic pentameter. Then I dreamed of him “arresting” me and taking me into custody. Not once did I demand to see my lawyer, and, yes, I came willingly. It was also during my Golden Age of Haiku when I grew to loathe the dawn hours and their murderous effects on dreams, and I think I messed with Mom’s mind when I insisted on washing my own clothes and sheets.


I couldn’t put down this page turning, exciting, and entertaining romp in a comic book. The tone is clearly meant to gently mock that very setting and through the eyes of a humorous and often sarcastic teenager – the book certainly delivers that well.  The real test is that the next two are equally enjoyable and only deepen the creative and unique voice of Eric. Be sure to start the series with this first book, you won’t regret it.

Get it HERE!

Tokoyo Ink by Ann Vremont

Tokoyo Ink by Ann Vremont

Shimizu ~ the once-glittering glass pyramid in the middle of Tokyo Bay that housed a million people ~ is now a crumbling super-prison owned by Iyashii Corporation. Tetsu Hogosha’s mother was caught in the city’s conversion. In a criminal system where the care and feeding of a child adds time to the mother’s crime, she signed him away to be an Iyashii bond employee as her only chance at freedom.

Now Tetsu is a free man and head of Iyashii’s security forces for the country. But he has a secret sideline that might one day break Iyashii’s hold on Shimizu. For months, he has watched the male dancer serving Iyashii’s executive tea room. Tetsu knows every flawless movement the male geisha will make, from tea ceremony, to fan dance, to the slow revelation of his naked, tattooed flesh before he takes the executives, alone or in pairs, into the bedroom suite adjoining the tea room to satisfy their every desire.

For just as long, Tetsu has tried to convince himself he watches his unwitting accomplice only to record the secret messages embedded in the tattoos’ design. But when Iyashii sends its top assassin after the male geisha, Tetsu is faced with the cold hard choice of protecting the message and its secret language at all costs or rescuing the one man capable of challenging his loyalties.




This short novella (only 60 pages) opened my eyes to a potential new author. The story itself is too complex and filled with possibility to really develop in the short space allotted but the great world building and fascinating urban fantasy setting caught my attention and held it throughout the book. Tight writing and intriguing characters keep the action moving swiftly, allowing the quick paced industrial intrigue to shine over the few sex scenes. The relationship development is sacrificed for the storyline and in this case, helped the tale. Although I would have liked this to be a longer, more fully realized story – as a short offering, this entertains.

Set in Japan in a time when industry has taken over the government and imposed some odd laws, Tetsu is struggling to mount a revolution. The world building is very intricate and offers a lot of detail, yet there still seems to be so much more that was omitted and not included. The companies ruling the country are only loosely identified beyond the main culprit of Iyashii. The revolutionaries are equally mysterious as Tetsu is the only character introduced. While this does help in not overwhelming the story with too many unimportant characters, it leaves one essential theme of the book (the revolution) very under defined. The vast network and computer resources included are hinted at and often included in between lulls in action, but there is little understanding offered.

For example, how Tetsu hacked into so many companies and their computer systems as well as how he amassed the seeming underground army he has. Was he recruited or did he start the revolution himself? Other than the downfall of the corporation responsible for enslaving his mother, what were his goals and motivations? What did Tetsu envision once this revolution had occurred? If the twist with Gabe, the male geisha, had not occurred – what was Tetsu planning? All of these questions and so many more are raised in the short story. Although none of these are answered, the engaging quality of writing and fascinating world drew me into the tale nonetheless.

The characters are briefly outlined and given hints here and there as their instant relationship develops. The story is told mostly from Tetsu’s point of view in third person until the very end where Gabe’s point of view is shown in the last few scenes. Unfortunately this doesn’t give much more depth to either character but shows the actions both men take. Their relationship is based on mutual lust and later, shared goals, which doesn’t account for the supposed heavy emotion displayed. However, this is a small quibble as the story is a romance so the connection is expected, even if not quite successful. The erotic scenes between the two are brief and interesting but the action scenes are the most dynamic of the short story.

Some of the writing is slightly disjointed as there are leaps in time and story line that aren’t well described. The story moves incredibly quick and helps with dialogue and descriptions that engage and entertain, but there are some definite holes. However, even with those problems this is a fun, interesting new world with characters that show the dark side very well. The ending leaves so much room for more I can only hope the author will revisit this story line in the future. For fans of hard hitting urban fantasy, this is worth looking into.

Get it HERE


Entanglements by Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe

Entanglements by Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe

Friends. Lovers. Realists. Up-and-coming rocker Ben Copeland and struggling actor John Calder have an unspoken understanding. Mutual pleasure, no strings attached, no demands made, not to mention chemistry so scorching it needs a warning label. For more than a year they’ve sexed their way from one coast to the other, and Ben’s beginning to think he might just have found the key to a perfect “relationship.”

Except now John’s gone and fallen in love. Ben’s career is finally skyrocketing and the last thing he wants or needs is the complication of too many dangerous emotions. John’s not one to take no for an answer, though, and when the “Scottish Don Juan” puts his mind to something, even a man like Ben had better look out.




This is a hot novella filled with aggressive masculine men who are stubborn to a fault. Although they are moody men, most especially Ben, this is light on the angst. The story tends to use stubborn anger as the most pervasive emotion over drawn out emotional turmoil. The focus on sex almost overwhelms the story to its detriment, but overall this is an enjoyable, easy read using some well known and loved themes. This will appeal most to fans of the authors as there is very little variation on the rock star theme found in numerous stories.

The premise is based on two celebrities, an actor and a rock star, that are friends with benefits. John and Ben met a year ago in a bar and have an easy no strings attached relationship. Both are in the entertainment industry and they enjoy the side benefits of their work (aka sleeping with fans) while seeing each other whenever possible. Their easy companionship slides to a halt when John wants more and Ben panics. However, neither is willing to completely let go so John takes a risky gamble on a happy ending.

The story is told in third person, alternating point of view with some significant pronoun confusion. There are a few editing errors but mostly the writing is rather clean. The characters are decent and three dimensional, yet the focus on the sexual relationship leaves the emotional connection and depth of personality wanting. The two men are easy together and engage in rough, mind-blowing sex often. Neither questions nor examines why the sex is so much better together versus with others but simply indulge in the rush. Other than one or two conversations, the reader is never shown their companionship – only the hot sex and sarcastic dialogue. Supposedly the men are friends beyond the sex but that’s debatable as there is very little context shown to establish that. There are hints, such as the phone calls, but very little in comparison to the sex scenes. The depth of emotion comes almost entirely from great sex and mutual satisfaction.

This makes for a fun and hot story to read but doesn’t develop the relationship or characters beyond their charm and stubborn superficial nature. Ben’s fear of commitment is not adequately explained, merely used to keep the tension high and the two apart until he can come to grips with his feelings for John. John’s surprise at his own willingness to commit is also not well explained as John spends the entire story trying to first tell Ben about his feelings and then to convince Ben to admit to the same. The carefree no strings aspect of his personality never really presents itself.

For all these flaws, the mostly clean writing and hot sex scenes carry off an enjoyable story. This is primarily due to the plethora of erotica because frankly these authors can write some scorching sex. The biting dialogue and banter between the two – again mostly during sex (see a theme yet?) – is enjoyable and entertaining as the big, bold personality of the physically smaller Ben comes out dynamically. The theme of reluctant celebrities is tried and true and these authors offer very little in the way of a fresh, innovative take but still deliver an engaging story.. Even if the emotional connection between the two men suffered in the face of so much sex, the dialogue and characters are fun with a fast pace and quick read. It’s not a story that I’d read again but Ben as a moody, mouthy dominating bottom is worth the price for this story.

Get it HERE!