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Snow Balls was a good mix of erotica and romantic comedy; the character of JJ, a flaming queen hiding inside the body of an alpha male, was original and sweet, and he gave a push to the usual scripts. Being big and sturdy doesn't mean you have to be a macho man, and that is exactly how it is for JJ; he fought all his life with the preconception he has to be a dominant top, while instead he would like to find a dominant lover for himself. While Ryan has the attitude of a dominant, he isn't reflecting it on his looks, Ryan is smaller than JJ, so much that, if they want to kiss standing, he has to stretch to reach him. But never once he gave me the impression he wasn't the one in command.

Another original side of this story is that, the romance was almost sweet, as I said, very much romantic comedy, but when we arrive to the intimate moments, the heroes go down to hot and dirty, reaching level of erotica. It was a little disconcerting, unexpected, but a nice surprise, like finding cream inside what you believe was a plain brioche.

Nice addition to a funny series, I'm not reading them in order, but now I really want to go back and read about David and his two young lovers.

Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Etopia Press (November 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940223571
ISBN-13: 978-1940223575
Amazon: Snow Balls
Amazon Kindle: Snow Balls

Series: Balls to the Wall
1) Volley Balls
2) Fire Balls: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1528380.html
3) Beach Balls
4) Snow Balls

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Not having the time to read much lately, I read the first book in this series, and so I know who Elliott Smith is and his background, and who is Steve, Elliott's partner, the whys and whens of their relationship. At book 4, Elliott and Steve are a steady couple, and I have to say I enjoyed reading about their "ordinary" relationship; they were extraordinary in being an ordinary couple in a romance thriller setting. Elliott, playing PI, isn't ultra-charming, uber-hot or any other superlative adjective. Maybe Steve, from what I gather, is on the handsome side of beauty, but even him, althought an artist, is struggling with a day job and with an uncertain future as newby gallery owner.

Another interesting plot device was having the victim, still alive for a good part of the book; that gave the reader the chance to know him, and in a way hating and loving him at the same time. Dante is very handsome, very talented and a total prissy diva. He is unpolite, egoist, a liar... but in the end, when he is killed, I felt pity for him, like he didn't have a chance to prove he was better than what he appeared. And then, it was a waste of talent and beauty.

Beside, all the possible culprits were nice characters, and I didn't want for anyone of them to be the murderer. And yes, when I found out who they were, again, I was sad for them, till the end I wanted a turn of the tables telling me I was wrong, but that didn't happen.

How it was possible to like both the victim than the murder? to want for both of them an impossible happy ending? that is probably the best achievement of this book and author.

Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Zumaya Boundless (July 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612710654
ISBN-13: 978-1612710655
Amazon: Dante's Circle: An Elliott Smith and John Mystery (Volume 4)
Amazon Kindle: Dante's Circle: An Elliott Smith and John Mystery (Volume 4)

Series: Elliott Smith and John Mystery
1) His Name Is John: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/639320.html
2) Aaron's Wait
3) Caesar's Fall
4) Dante's Circle

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I liked the incipit of the novel; this is my first book by this author, and I admit there were some points of the story I found a little over the line, but maybe it’s due to the almost debut factor, or maybe it’s the age of the author (not really sure how old she is).

In any case, the straight American movie star falling in love for the gay skittish sculptor, considering he has never once felt attraction to men was a good start. Truth be told, even if Jaxon, the movie star, was insisting, even to himself, that he wasn’t stalking Liam, he did come out a little scaring. I think Jaxon was ready for a change, he was basically stalling in a life that he wasn’t feeling his own, and Liam gave him the push for the change. He juxtaposed his need of change in Liam, and that, sincerely, is not really healthy, but well, at least he was not dangerous. Jaxon tries to change his life in a way that it becomes attractive for Liam, it’s Jaxon’s way to court the man, and he succeeds.

When I said that sometime it was over the line, it’s, for example, in Jaxon doing charity in a field related to Liam’s interests… I would have probably preferred if he did that for his own satisfaction, even if, the satisfaction came nevertheless. And one point that really was too odd, was Garrett, just meeting Jaxon, who reveals all Liam’s past, with the excuse to protect him from Jaxon… sincerely it rung wrong, considering that, Liam does the same further in the story, so there was no need for the reader to read it at that point.

The story is not really a “show business” theme as the plot could lead; Jaxon and Liam most live their love story far from society, hidden in Liam’s mountain home, with few friends around them. In a way, when they are in the big city, it’s when misunderstandings come, like interferences in their relationship: they need the open air of the mountainside to be able to see the true in each other.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3894

Amazon: Same Page
Amazon Kindle: Same Page
Publisher Dreamspinner Press (June 14, 2013)
Language English
ISBN-10 1623806151
ISBN-13 978-1623806156

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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The story starts in the best possible way since it gives the reader a perfect idea of the environment in which Dieter grew up, so that you don’t find it strange he became a man who is a mix of innocence and coquettish. Dieter is really young, pampered and very sheltered; orphaned at 4 years old, he is raised by his grandmother and by her housekeeper, a woman old enough to be his great-grandmother. But Dieter was also very loved, and when he came out to the old housekeeper, he received only support and more love. So much love that maybe he didn’t need to find any outside, at least not until the day both women die and Dieter is suddenly alone, in a big empty house.

This is the man Gerald meets, an adult for ordinary standard, but very much like the Sleeping Beauty of the fairy tales, someone who is more than ready to be plucked, but who will let it go only to a very high price, that is love. Dieter doesn’t ask, it’s not that he set out to find his Prince Charming and only in that case he will let the Prince kiss him, it’s only that he doesn’t expect nothing else. Dieter has always received love and for him it’s natural that things will continue like that. Dieter is also a very lucky man since he meets Gerald, who is basically a gentleman, a little older than him, and so ready to take the challenge that is courting Dieter, someone who doesn’t need immediate satisfaction and that is able to understand that, if he is able to wait, what he will gain will be much more than what he can immediately obtain.

Gerald and Dieter are also moving in a middle class environment, made of art collectors, art gallery owners, artists, lawyers, and many other upper middle class jobs; nor Gerald or Dieter have to worry about things like paying a rent or finding a job; they are not extremely wealthy but they are for sure well-off. This gives a certain atmosphere to the novel, a mix of old-fashioned romance and European flavour. This is first book in a new series, but it's also the spin off the Bottled Up series by the same author, so that some of the supporting characters will be familiar.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2527

Amazon: Legal Artistry
Amazon Kindle: Legal Artistry
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613721137
ISBN-13: 978-1613721131

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain
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It’s strange since I didn’t usually like too much thriller, especially not when there are a lot of killings and blood, but I have to say that I quite enjoyed Dirty Kiss. Maybe since the love story was oddly sweet, oddly since you don’t expect sweetness among all that blood, but Cole and Jae managed to maintain their love story, in a way, innocent. Now the innocent is not about the lack of sex, on the contrary the sex is there, and it’s good, but it was more about their feelings, and their expectations, they were mostly behaving like teenager with their first love, tentative and sometime even stupid, but nevertheless in love.

Cole is still mourning is lost lover; I think it was a good choice for the author to not give a right, neat closure to Cole about Rick’s death, in this way it was understandable that 3 years later the scar is still fresh (figuratively speaking but not only). Cole is not searching for a new lover, he is not yet to the point when the need is pressing, but when he meets Jae there is nothing he can do, he knows he has fallen in love again. And even if Jae is more cool about it, his actions speak loudly, and it’s clear the interest is mutual. As I said, their love story is not emotional than physical, and even if they are not so good in speaking the L word, it’s clear that is what they are feeling.

There is a very good ensemble of supporting characters, including the ones without words, like “Mad Dog” Madeline, that is not a dog, but Cole’s sister-in-love, without words since she is never on the scene, but always referred to, and nevertheless her character is strong, and Neko the Cat, who is indeed a cat, but with a personality bigger than most supporting character usually have. And then Bobby, Cole’s friend, Scarlet, Jae’s ladyboy best friend, Mike, Cole’s brother, and Claudia, the goddess, or elsewhere knows as Cole’s personal assistant.

This is a thriller, and I know it’s abused to say that I didn’t catch who was the killer, but well, I didn’t; I had my suspicious on the right direction but I didn’t quite centred the target. So kudos to the author, and I think with the above cast of supporting characters, she has still a lot to write about these two and their friends.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2408

Amazon: Dirty Kiss
Amazon Kindle: Dirty Kiss
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615819584
ISBN-13: 978-1615819584

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain
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Fire Balls put together two men that are at the opposite, hot firefighter Hunter and flamboyant artist Rodney. But their being at the opposite is only appearance and that is the main theme of the novel, to not let you being fooled by the looks.

Hunter has a troubled relationship with his father who is accepting of his son being gay only since he is a “straight” gay, i.e. he doesn’t look like one. Plus Hunter’s dream was to be a literature teacher, but that was not manly enough for his father who instead dreamed for his son to be a firefighter, something he was not able to become due to his disability. Hunter is behaving like a straight guy, even arriving to pose as a top in his relationship, when instead he would prefer to bottom, only to please his father, to be as much as straight he can be even if he is indeed gay. The false reason that he would be harassed at his workplace is only something more he add to his justification, but it’s not really the most important, as instead Hunter repeat and repeat to himself when trying to avoid Rodney.

Rodney on the other hand would be more “man” than Hunter, if not for his diminutive body. Rodney is small and pretty, even if he is a karate black belt. Since the world is already assuming he is gay, and a pipsqueak, than he will display to the world he can be even more gay and even more flamboyant. It’s Rodney’s way to say to the world he doesn’t care, that he has not to prove to them that he is a better man then they think.

I like this play of contraposition between Hunter and Rodney, and their characters were good and original. What maybe I didn’t like 100% was how often, and how harsh, both Hunter and Rodney were on regard of being gay, like both of them were ashamed of it, even if there was no way for them to be anything else. Even Rodney, flaunting his gayness in the face of everyone, when was alone was almost complaining, like if he wanted to be someone else, someone not gay. Maybe that was only my feeling, maybe it was generated by the harsh words both Rodney than Hunter were using, derogatory words, but it’s also true that I have heard more than once the position that, if you are gay, you are allow to use that words, if you are not, then it’s an offense.

Fire Balls was a first good experience with this author, and I think I will read more by her.

Amazon Kindle: Fire Balls
Publisher: Etopia Press (January 31, 2012)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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The story of 28 years old Sean awakening to his gay self was nice and well-plotted. Sean didn’t jump out of bed one day saying, I’m gay, be right with that, but he went through a self-questioning process, whose output could have been also his falling into depression. Sean knew there was something not right in his relationship with his girlfriend, he knew he didn’t want to end law school and enter the family firm, but he needed a push towards the right direction, or better, to be pushed out of the common track.

A weekend at Miami Beach and the meeting with Adam is more than a push. Adam is a dream man, model-beauty, nice and friendly, good upbringing and with a nice income. Aside from being a man, he would be the perfect fiancé for Sean’s conservative family, but being gay Sean thinks is not an option for him. And so when he realizes that all his discontent could be solved by acknowledging his desire for Adam AND his artistic side (and so a more creative chosen career), he also thinks that he has to break his connections with his previous life. He will have a surprise from his family, maybe not all of them, but it will be a good surprise.

My feeling for this story is mostly good, maybe I feel like the author was a little rushed with the real ending, i.e. when she dealt with Sean’s relationship with his family and their reaction to Sean’s news and then with Sean and Adam’s relationship start-up, wherelse she decided to give a further look into their future life. The last 3 chapters of the novels (50 pages out of 276 total) are almost a story of their own, like one of those novellas authors write about some of their favourite characters, to give the fans something more about them. It’s an original choice, and for sure it gives a sure stamp to the love story, but as I said, I would have not minded for Sean to deal a little more with his family after they found out about him, and instead he let the bomb drop and took away… probably a wise choice, considering it was not an easy situation to deal with, and maybe give it “space” will serve also to dilute the tension, but I feel like there are open questions there.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2704

Amazon: Awakenings
Amazon Kindle: Awakenings
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613723253
ISBN-13: 978-1613723258

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This was quite an unsettling novel, sometime bordering almost on the horror rather than the mystery; in any case, even if there is a romance in it, actually one former romance and a romance to be, I would classify it more mystery than romance genre.

When Charles Garrett finds the dead body of Paolo in a pool of blood in his gallery and his crying brother Joseph near it, at first he thinks at the beauty of the plateau they represent. This was the first time I stopped and re-read the sentence, I was thinking, “be careful, Charles, don’t stop into the pool of blood, don’t contaminate the crime scene”, that was my rational mind; and instead Charles was freezed in the moment since he was cataloguing all the macabre details like he was assessing an artwork.

Other than Charles, there are other three men in the novel and the relationships among them, and between them and Charles, are not clearly explained to the reader that has to build them step by step. At first, due to his interest in Paolo, and the regret for his sudden death, I thought there was more than a working relationship between Charles and Paolo. But then I realized that Charles had only an artistic interest in Paolo, and in a way, I classified it as a bit selfish, even if, indead, Charles was strongly denying that he was glad Paolo’s art was selling better after his death.

Joseph is the second man in the first scene, and the one alive; for how Charles deals with him, that night and after, I thought their relationship was superficial, more on the friendship side. Charles is concerned for Joseph, he worries for him, but I felt as he was a bit detached, as his concern was more for the well-being of a friend, not a lover. And instead Joseph is, or was, Charles’s lover.

Last to enter the scene is Antony, supposedly Paolo’s lover, but even that it’s not clear. Charles suspects Antony to be the one who killed Paolo, for different reasons. But when he meets the man, again for an artistic fascination more than for a sexual interest, Charles changes idea. I think the reasoning in Charles’s mind was, since Antony is a good artist, able to create beauty, he cannot be the killer. Strange reasoning indead, since there is not direct connection between the two things, if not in Charles’s mind and, at this point, his morbid fascination with everything is beauty.

Now from all of above someone could think I didn’t like Charles, and it’s wrong; I think Charles was a complex character, and I did like the author didn’t write him like an umpteenth wanna-be private investigator. Sincerely I think Charles was interested in finding the murderer more since the murderer killed a potential great artist than for a love of justice: that made him original, and even his obsession for beauty was something that gave him deepness.

http://ebooks.carinapress.com/244C41B8-5D01-46A2-9EA6-021B14D99E70/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=DBAA46A8-0436-4464-911E-3872333BB972

Amazon Kindle: Blinded By Our Eyes

Reading List:

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Jordan Castillo Price is probably the only author I can read who presents me with needles, syringes and blood, and I find it sexy. I'm quite the squirmy type, I don't think how being punctured and bleeding can be sexy, but if it's done by an alluring pale and long dark haired artist, well maybe I can make an exception. As probably would do Mark, the man who is lucky enough to find that man.

In an alternative near future, where the vampirism virus exceed the HIV one, becoming more common and lethal, there are still few cities that allow vampire to live within their limit. Chicago is one of them, and it's here that Jonathan found his shelter; he is an artist, an Hungarian refugee, and a vampire. He is also handsome and wealthy, but a bit strange. Not artist "strange", more like he is a son of some alien planet who fell on Earth by accident. He doesn't talk of his "illness" (drinking blood is something you do in private), he is more than reclusive, even when it's night and he can go out, and he drinks only cat's blood. And before you ask, no, he doesn't kill the cats, he pays one of those old ladies with more cats than fleas to dry a bit her kittens in exchange of money. Obviously all these ordinary tasks are not brought on by Jonathan himself, he has a dogsboy for that, even if Mark is maybe a bit too old for the task.

Almost forty years old, Mark is the classical manquè artist turned art critic turned artist valet. Plus Mark is also gay, something that now maybe it's no more the crime it was, being a vampire is worst, but still it's not exactly cheered upon. Where Jonathan is reclusive and aloof, Mark is always complaining for something: he has not enough time to do everything (even if everything is only do some errands for Jonathan), he has not a boyfriend, he is not as handsome as a vampire... he is probably the only man that, while being followed by a killer and running for his life, can be disappointed by how the jeans he picked up in a store doesn't fit well. And maybe he is not the only one, but one of the best merit he finds in being a vampire, is the chance to be skinny and fabulous.

It's strange, usually in a pair there is always a leader and a follower, and here the obvious conclusion is that Mark should be the second, but neither of them have really the aurea to be leader. Don't get me wrong, they are not weak or submissive, it's only that they are almost alike, at the same level. Maybe Jonathan is the more experienced, but he has not the streak to be on the spotlight, more the people don't notice him and more he is happy. On the other hand Mark can be a primadonna, but he is too squirmy to be an adventurer; and it's strange since at 6 and half feet he is a bit too macho man to be flamboyant... I was almost expecting here and there for him to cry on his broken nails.

Then there is the love story. Again not what you will expect. As I said, probably the most romantic encounter they have is when they share blood, obviously with the aid of a needle, don't let happen that such a vulgar action happens with the use of real teeth and spit. One of the most romantic thing Mark said to Jonathan is that, if it wasn't for the virus, he would have swallowed... enough clues to frame our heroes? But despite it all, I really feel the love between Mark and Jonathan, not always sex and sex and sex is the only way to convey that feeling. I really think that Jonathan is a really reserved man, and it's not easy for him to express his feelings; and Mark is probably the same, and even if a little bitchy, he is always ready to help Jonathan, even if it means the last sacrifice, his blood... but only with a needles between them!

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/hemovore

Amazon: Hemovore

Amazon Kindle: Hemovore

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Cover Art by Kanaxa
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Bound to Please perfectly explains one of the reasons why I understand the existence of a ménages a trois, while I usually am a monogamy supporter.

Benny is in love with his boss Jason, a Dom and the owner of a BDSM private club (he is one of the character in Phoenix Rising, the previous book by Kimberly Gardner set in the same community). With his body and heart Benny is willing to give anything to Jason, but with his mind he is scared by all the different layers a BDSM relationship can have. Jason knows that, if he pushes the boy, Benny would probably agree to a Master / slave relationship, but deep inside it’s not what he wants.

Enter Rain, former porn actor and now fetish model; he is one of the models Jason is using for his exhibition, and he is more than willing to be the guinea pig for the most extreme of Jason’s pictorial fantasies. Rain is a happy to go guy, sex is something good and full of joy, and he lives it like that, willing to share his body with a freedom that Benny envies. But Rain is not selfish, obviously, and he finds in both Jason than Benny something he needs: Jason is the authoritative figure he needs to have an appearance of stability in his life, and Benny is the buddy friend he wants to not forget that, indeed, life is a good thing.

There is a complex work of balance in the trio: Jason needs both Rain than Benny, since the two together fulfil all his desires, his sweet and his hard side; Rain needs both Jason than Benny; and Benny needs both Rain than Jason, Rain to help him understand that there is not to be feared in the type of relationship the darker side of Jason needs. No one of them is complete without both of his lovers, missing one of them would be the end of the whole relationship.

I like all the characters, but for sure the boys, Benny and Rain, are the best; Jason is good but he fades on the background when the boys are around, something that is strange considering he is the Dom. Benny and Rain, purple and blue hair, are like boys at play, I have always the feeling to hear someone laughing when they are in a room. Jason is not their puppeteer, he is the one who is fallen in their net; I have this image of Benny and Rain building a net with colourful rope, and Jason totally caught in the middle.

There is a lot of sex, some of it also quite extreme, but above all I have this feeling of esthetical beauty: each scene is like a carefully planned painting, with full and deep colour, it’s a very visual feeling. On this matter, at the beginning the cover led me in the wrong direction: it gave me the idea of a futuristic / fantasy romance, and so I didn’t realize that indeed, this is a totally contemporary novel, and moreover, the sequel of Phoenix Rising.

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=BOUNDPL1

Buy Here

Amazon: Bound to Please

Amazon Kindle: Bound to Please

Series:
1) Phoenix Rising: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/358022.html
2) Bound to Please

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Cover Art by Anne Cain
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This book is different from the usual novels I was used to read by this author. First, it's shorter, a novella instead of a long novel; and second it has a bittersweet undertone that runs throughout from beginning to end, something that makes the novella less lighter, not sad, on the contrary there is even sometime when a smile spontaneously blossom on your face, but it's not a full laughter, it's more a warm slight rise up of the corner of the mouth. The main theme of the book is the research of the perfect blue, the same blue you can see in the inside of the flames, something you don't expect to see among all those reds; it's the same perfect blue of a mountain lake, and like the mountain lake, the book transpire peace and comfort, more than thrill and chaos, like the mountain streams that suddenly die in the peaceful water of the lake. The story is like that, a sudden moment of peace among the chaos that is the life of both characters.

Adam is a firefighter and he saves Jared from the fire that destroys his house. He is not able to save also the house, he is impotent since a big fire is roaring around and they are out of water. In a way, the impotence Adam is feeling is not heightened by Jared's reaction to the loss of his house: Jared is like fallen into a trance, in few words he explains to Adam that the house was the last project of his husband, a famous architecture, and losing the house is like losing once again his husband, died few months ago of cancer.

As easily as the water flows, the story moves up of some weeks, and we find Adam visiting Jared in a private clinic; Jared is depressed and he has not found a reason to come out of his trance. Adam understands that Jared needs a shock, and practically forces the man to come with him in Colorado, in the mountain cabin his family own there. The main reason is to show Jared the mountain lake with the perfect blue water the same color apparently Jared is searching. The real reason is that Adam is fallen in love with the man and wants to shake him off from the prison of his memories.

Even if Adam has all the good intentions of this life, unfortunately he is not doing the right thing. Jared fell in love with his very much older husband when he was still a teenager, and from that moment on he lived in the shadow of the bigger than life man beside him. Even if Jared was talented, his light was obscured by his husband's genius and little by little, Jared disappeared. When his husband died, apparently also Jared died. The fire was not a trauma, probably instead was a way to freedom. Inside the fire and in the eyes of the man who saved him, Jared finds something that pushed him a little more out from his self-imposed prison. The journey in Colorado helped some more, but if Jared accepts the love offered by Adam, it would be only like falling in another prison: where his husband was older and genius, Adam is younger and full of life, but both of them are men that can obscure Jared if he first doesn't find his way in the world. To be happy with Adam, Jared has to finish his growing process, the one that was interrupted by his husband when he took Jared with him. Even if Jared is 37 years old, he is still more or less a teenager if compared to Adam.

http://www.loose-id.com/prod-Blue_Fire-980.aspx

Amazon Kindle: Blue Fire

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Cover Art by Anne Cain
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Tim is a country boy at heart. He is from a small town USA, farm county, but on the contrary of most young people like him, he loves to live there, he loves the warm atmosphere and that everyone knows everyone else and you care for your neighbor. Maybe most of this attitude is due to the fact that Tim grew up in an accepting family, orphan when he was few years old he was brought up by his aunt and her husband, a couple that had lost hope to have a son for their own. Being older than ordinary parents and old fashioned, they never spoke loudly of the nephew's sexual preferences, but they neither made him feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed. Problem is that the small town didn't do the same and Tim ended up in an abusive relationship with a same age man. Being alone and desperate for love, Tim mistook his relationship with Aaron for love and it took him 10 years to understand the truth. And it was never his own understanding, but he was forced to face the reality: Aaron got married with a woman and wanted for Tim to continue being his little dirty secret as always.

Despite loving his family and the place where he lives, Tim understands that it's time to leave. He takes the first bus out of town, without real destination. Three days later he is in a diner just out of Austin, waiting for the next bus to leave. The place is like a mirror of his own life, only at the contrary: the nephew of the owner of the diner, a young gay man, living in an accepting environment and with a boyfriend who is not ashamed to openly love him, wants something different for his life; he wants the glittering of the big city, and suddenly leaves the place and the job. Tim is just there to take his place and his life: he has now a job in a place where more or less, everyone else is gay or gay friendly; it's a bit an utopical place, above all in Texas, but it's a small place in the world. The secret is to not leave the border of the diner, and life can be good.

In few days Tim has a new life, a new job, a new place where to live and also a possible new boyfriend, Bernie. Bernie is a long haul truck driver, who periodically stops at the diner before going home in Austin. Even if he has the body of a trucker, big, strong and reserved, Bernie is odd around the edges; he is very gentle and very cultured, he lives in a good neighborhood, he has his own property and drives expensive cars... there is something strange in him, but it's not a "bad" strange, more another fairy tale piece to the dreamy atmosphere of the diner.

The story is sweet and simple, as I said almost fairy tale. Everything for Tim clicks in the right way if he lives inside the protective shield of the diner; and if he has to leave, it's enough for him to bring along someone like Bernie, that is part of that dream. The story is not a paranormal tale, but more a contemporary tale with a lot of optimism; the bad big world is out there, and it's not that is not acknowledge, the author only prefers to cover it up with a veil that soothe off the sharpness of it.

As always, both in contemporary stories than fantasy than paranormal, T.A. Chase adds the right dose of sex, good, healthy and with just enough details to satisfy.

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/NowhereDinerFindingLove.html

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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When I started this book I wasn't expecting to find romance in it, since it was presented as an old classic sleuthing novel, and so you can imagine my surprise when the hero, Elliott, not only has a romance, he has THREE romance, two of them at the same time, and he is not even a slut ;-)

But I will try to start from the beginning. Elliott is a very wealthy man without attitude, who chose to work not for necessity but for pleasure. He loves the olf fashioned buildings of Chicago (a thing Chicago is famous for and I can say since I wandered for the city centre searching for them when i was there) and he made a work of them: he buys a building at time, gives it new life to then selling it to trusted hands. And sometime he falls in love for a building so much that he doesn't have the heart to sell it, and so Elliott has a strange collection: where other people collect miniatures, he collects real buildings. If you find strange that I spend so much time talking of Elliott's hobby, it is since most of Elliott's passion is reserved to his love for those old buildings, on a personal level he is quite aloof, almost detached. Elliott is a real nice guy, he seems to have no problem to find a guy when he wants it, and all his past lovers are still in nice terms with him... also since Elliott is so good that he is never the one to dump, they dumped him, always pleading forgiveness... mmm, I believe that Elliott is real good to not become involved when he doesn't want it.

When the story starts, Elliott is in hospital recovering from an accident and he "feels" that someone else is in the room. Elliott, practical guy he is, soon realizes that the presence is a ghost, and it doesn't take him much to link the ghost, whose first words were, My name is John, to the John Doe who was admitted in the ER at his same time, and who unfortunately died. The ghost is not actually your usual ghost, he is as I said, a presence, he talks in Elliott's mind when said mind is free from any other thought (means when Elliott is asleep), and makes clear his presence giving strange feelings to Elliott regarding objects and pictures. The ghost apparently is suffering from amnesia, and Elliott's quest to find who he is goes pace to pace with his ability to recall little pieces of his past life. So the main mystery, the core of the book, is to find out who was John, and the author is very good in letting the reader catches only little clues here and there. I pretty much soon suspected who John was, but I had an advantage that not many of you will have. Anyway I don't want to say more on it, since as I always say, you can't summarize a mystery without risking to give up the mystery itself.

Let us instead talk of Elliott's personal life, that is for me almost as interest as the mystery itself. At the beginning of the book, Elliott is in an on / off relationship with Rick; Rick is a nice guy, but sincerely I don't feel like Elliott was really involved; and so I was not surprise when Elliott manages to be dumped again... Rick also took the guilty on himself, and Elliott told him to not worry. I was not so disappointed that the first romance in the book ended in such a cold way, since I was already planning the romance between Elliott and John, the ghost. But no, even if I'm sure to have read something more between Elliott and John than a simple utilitarian bond aimed to discover John's identity, the author has someone else in mind for Elliott. Enter Steve, a young, hot and nice latin american guy who Elliott meets in a club and the same night takes to bed. The relationship between Elliott and Steve is more interesting than the one with Rick, but still I feel like Elliott is not entirely involved, I always feel as if he is taking back something. It's strange Elliott is quite a "physical" man, he has sex both with Rick than with Steve (but not at the same time!), even if the author adopts the the "behind closed door"'s rule, the reader knows that Elliott is not shy or antisocial, but truth be told, I felt a real emotional involvement only with John, and John is not even corporeal!

In the end, maybe I'm wrong but for me the real couple here are Elliott and John; Steve is a really nice guy, even John tells so to Elliott, and the reader can't really resent him, since being John a ghost, and an incorporeal ghost, you can't pretend for Elliott to be a monk. And so here my idea that Elliott has two relationship at the same time, one with Steve involving his mind and body, and one with Elliott involving his heart; till the day mind, heart and body will devoted to the same man, Elliott for me remains an on the edge man, still waiting for something.

http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=54

Amazon: His Name Is John

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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