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GayRomLit Con

Okay, so I am all paid up and ready to go to GayRomLit in October in Nawlins.  I am so excited!  In the spirit of the event, I am planning to get back to reviewing  – a lot –  and writing – a little.  I am particularly going to try to read and review many of the authors who have signed up to attend the conference.

If you’re planning to go, let me know!  Maybe I will see you in Nawlins?

Last Chance by Viki Lyn

On sale now from Loose-Id for $5.99!

Aric Christian is walking across campus, on his way to the science lab when he’s hit in the head with a wayward football.  He finds himself blinking up at Stu Hamilton, the school’s star football player, and that’s when things get interesting…

What I liked:  I liked the jock/nerd dynamic.  It never fails to get me every time.  Who doesn’t want to see the nerdy guy finish first?  Still, this novel is not the typcial nerd-meets-jock-and-they-fall-in-love story.  Viki intertwined the paranormal genre with the athletic one in this story.  Aric is battling a rare blood disorder of the paranormal variety and is using his consideral brain power (he’s a PhD student) to cure himself.  I loved the extra dose of mystery that the novel provided and the background characters, who almost take center stage a few times.

What I didn’t like:  I could have spent a lot more time in the build up and subsequent romance between Aric + Stu rather than on some of the back story, no that it wasn’t interesting.  I think a sequel following these characters could do nicely.

Overall: A great paranormal romance with an athletic twist.

Jaya Grade: B+

On sale now from Amber Quill Press for $4.50!

Quinn Delaney’s foster sister Stephanie has roped him into going on singles trip to Disney in Orlando.  On the plane, Quinn sets his eyes on Josh Hart and that’s when things get interesting.

What I liked: I loved Quinn’s insecurities.  I love an insecure man and Quinn has faced a lifetime of rejection and misunderstandings because of his size.  When he meets Josh, he’s certain that he doesn’t have a chance.

What I didn’t like: Both Quinn and Josh were only slightly two-dimensional.  There just wasn’t enough depth to the characters or situations to really make me love the story. I just felt like there could have been a lot more to this story, a lot more depth, a lot more sex and a lot more emotion.

Overall: I liked it.  I didn’t love it, but I don’t regret reading it.

Jaya Grade: B-

Force of Law by Jez Morrow

On sale now at Torquere Press for $3.95!

Tom Russell’s working at his thankless job at a quick lube oil change store, minding his own business when a priceless, classic Lamborghini Diablo pulls into his bay.  These aren’t the kind of cars that can be serviced at a quick lube auto shop and Tom’s instantly certain that his ex, the wealthy and selfish Wells, who walked out of his life without a word more than a year before has come back to gloat.

Only the man in the car isn’t Wells.  It’s Wells’ powerful cousin Law behind the wheel and that’s when things get interesting.

What I liked:  Can I say that this story was perfect?  There was nothing I would change!  Jez took me places and I wanted to go.  Tom is conflicted, confused and unhappy with his life.  Law sees right to the center of who Tom is and makes Tom stand up and face life.  Law is unapologetically…well, Law.  He’s a law unto himself.  He’s an alpha male.  He craves power without being completely selfish.  He’s gentle and rough, bold as brass, but vulnerable.  He is perfect!

There’s a scene in this – the first time that they have sex and all I can say is that Jez wrote her ass off in that scene.  I was right there with him and it was about more than smut or hot sex, even though it was smutty and hot.  Jez just tapped into the emotions and put them at the forefront of the scene and everything just fell into place.  This story is worth reading by anyone who reads the genre for this scene alone.

There’s a line at the end of the story that resonated with me.  “And from that day forward, everything between them just kept getting more and more perfect.”  Taken at it’s face, it’s as blase as ‘And they lived happily ever after’…but looked at with a more layered view, it just means so much more.  It means that every day, everything got better and better…a climb towards perfection. Which, I think we all aspire to, especially in matters of love.

What I didn’t like: The positives were so good that I can’t think of any negatives.

Overall: Gah!  Buy it today and make time to read it ASAP! I recommend this one!

Jaya Grade: A

 

On sale now from Extasy Books for only $3.49! 

Tony Kaven posted his resumé on monster.com and snagged a plum job as a personal assistant on the movie set of actor Rufus Roscoe’s latest action flick.  He steps off of a plan in Hawaii with dreams of snagging a cute Hawaiian guy on his mind.  What he finds is the kind of job you have nightmares about and a movie set on the brink of disaster thanks to the wrath of the Hawaiian goddess Pele.  In a downpour amid the chaotic movie set, he makes a desperate wish and that’s when things get interesting. 

What I liked: Everything! This was hilarious.  Tony is snarky and desperate and full of insecurities and I loved him on sight.  AJ wrote this one so well, with a cast of outlandish, fabulous characters that make you grin and laugh.  Frank is Tony’s dream guy (literally) and he also is a spirit being that falls completely, madly in love with Tony.  It’s filled with Hawaiian folklore and Hollywood shenanigans and family strife narrated in a perfectly comedic voice with just enough love and sex to keep things moving at a perfect pitch.  I loved this! 

What I didn’t like:  Nothing.  Can’t believe I let this one languish on my Kindle for so long! 

Overall:  This is worth the read for the comedy alone! But Tony + Frank are adorable and they make you root for their HEA. 

Jaya Grade: A

Available now from Dreamspinner Press for $6.99

Whew!  This one is something else, but I really liked it.

Crick is a troubled nine-year-old skipping Sunday school and traversing the neighborhood when he happens upon a ranch called The Pulpit – and on that ranch he meets Deacon, a 14-year-old rancher’s son and that’s when things get interesting.

What I liked:  It’s so long!  It’s like 325 pages of rollercoaster emotions, mistakes, and abiding love.  What’s not to like about that?  Crick loves Deacon the moment he sees him and Deacon takes Crick under his wing and loves him so much that he’s willing to set his life on edge to make things better for him, which fuels this story.  Crick’s insecurities abound and I love a vulnerable, insecure hero who finds his way in life, which is what happens for Crick throughout this story.  There was also a cast of engaging characters who really helped to make 320+ pages fly by.

What I didn’t like: The drama!  Well, I loved the drama, but I also had some very specific times when I hated the drama.  I mean, there is enough drama in this book for four novels.  The normal plot arc is twerked and repeated 3-4 times in this story, which is understandable as it spans the course of more than a decade in the lives of Crick and Deacon.  But there’s sickness, stupidity that makes you want to toss your eBook reader on to the ground or shake the characters, and there are mistakes (the collossal, pack-your-bags-and-get-out-of-my-house kind) and misunderstandings galore.  These help to move the story along, of course, but the angst goes up like two notches beyond the normally acceptable level.  It even got to a point where I had to take a moment to examine how I really felt about the characters, their roles shifted and twisted so much.  Normally, I know how I feel about a character after the first few pages – or chapter, at least.  In this one, those feelings mutated, transformed, shed their skin and then evolved.

These characters take a real beating and, subsequently, so does the reader.  I mean, just when I was getting over the floods and the sickness, a horse dying and IED explosions, entirely different obstacles popped up and took center stage. 

Also, a major squick for me is infidelity between characters…which happens in this story.  It is not subtle. It is stark and it happens and then the characters move on, even while I hadn’t necessarily moved on. 

Overall: This is not fluff, or a fantasy, idealized version of love between two men on a ranch.  This is gritty, hard-knuckled love full of mistakes, angst and drama. So, be prepared going in.  But go in.  I mean, it’s different.  It’s gripping and it’s well worth the read by anyone who loves books in this genre.

Jaya Grade: A-

For, more from the author visit Amy’s Blog!

If I Must by Amy Lane

On Sale Now at Dreamspinner Press for only $3.99

Amy Lane’s Blog

This was just what I needed. 

So, I know I’m late.  This was officially a holiday book offered by Dreamspinner Press some months ago, but my reading schedule is off-kilter, so bear with me.

I loved this.  I just bought Keeping Promise Rock  and it’s long and I haven’t read Amy Lane before, so I thought that this shorter book of hers would be a good introduction to her work before I delve into her longer work.  Suffice it to say, I am going to take the time out to enjoy her work this weekend.

Joel + Ian = Love!

Ian is an eccentric genius, bringing to mind the everyday oddities of an Albert Einstein, only with muscles and sexy, blue eyes instead of electricity-zapped hair.  Although, Ian’s hair is a bit messy. Joel is Ian’s roommate and a neat freak, an organizer and the perfect opposite to Ian.  Joel spends all of the time when he’s not working taking care of Ian and he’s worried that Ian will self-destruct when he has to leave Ian home alone while he visits family for the holidays.  He goes home and ends up gabbing to his sister about Ian and that’s when things get interesting.

What I Liked:  Ian!  Amy described him in all his hotness in great detail and he leaps off of the pages and into your heart with ease.  I was rooting for him from page one.  He’s just so endearingly innocent and tragic.  I loved the underlying panic that he feels in his inability to actually connect with the real world and Joel’s perfect responses to it.  I couldn’t wait for these two to hop into bed together and when they got there, it was lovely!

What I didn’t like: Nothing!  I could have read more about them for sure, but that’s the nature of the holiday short story. 

Overall: A great read!  If you haven’t read it, get it and read it.  It stands up past the boundaries of the holidays and is well worth the read.

Jaya Grade: A-

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