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Ok, I have a kink (only one I swear)... pairing between a tall man and a shorter partner. And if the tall man arrives with a kind streak, a gentle soul, well, you got me. So when I read the blurb of Canning the Center, I was totally sold to 6 feet 7 inches Jamal and his love at first sight for drag queen Trixie aka Trevor. But once I started reading, I also fell with in love with Trevor, mathematician genius who feels his love for cross-dressing is a shame, something he has to hide from his publica persona, that he will never find a man who is able to love Trixie knowing Trevor is behind the makeup. And instead Jamal was never once deceived, when he sees Trixie perform, he knows there is a man behind, and he loves both Trixie and Trevor, cause there is no Trixie without Trevor, and viceversa.

The story maybe is a little too much good feelings, knowing how bad the world could be, a family like the one Jamal has is a dream to me, but I really, really hope there are people like them, and that for 10 kids who are kicked out of home for being gay, there is at least 1 family who will cherish their son or daughter; and maybe, in time, the proportion will shift more and more and we will arrive to a time when the rejection will be the exception, or even better, a crime against law.

Anyway, Trevor and Jamal play my kink to perfection, Jamal is, like Trevor said, a big bunny, cause even a teddy bear is too hard a word to describe the tenderness he is able to display toward Trevor. And even if Jamal may take wrong decisions sometime, it's indeed a proof that he is still at the edge between youth and adult, still needing the guidance of his parents' wise words.

Really enjoyed this story, it warms your heart.

Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163216261X
ISBN-13: 978-1632162618
Amazon: Canning the Center (The Long Pass Chronicles)
Amazon Kindle: Canning the Center (The Long Pass Chronicles)

Series: The Long Pass Chronicles
1) Outing the Quarterback
2) Canning the Center

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews

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Only a novella, fast like the motorace theme of the story. I'm not really big expert or fan of this sport, but being it quite popular in Italy, we are used to hear about it on the news, and unfortunately I know it's indeed very dangerous, many young men lost their lives to it. This is the theme of the story, Brian is the foster brother of Varro, Varro's family has always been kind to Brian, and he fell in love with Varro, but considering nor Varro or his brother Nick were gays, Brian has always hidden his feelings. Varro has always considered Brian like his lucky token, the one who had to be with him for being able to reach his goals, but when Brian realizes there is no hope for his love, he realizes also that if he wants a life he needs to leave Varro. His purpose isn't to punish Varro, but apparently that is the effect, and Varro will have the chance to reconsider Brian's place in his life.

Quick but sweet, I'm not sure the story is 100% realistic, above all in Varro's turning gay for being the lover Brian needed, but, as I said, it was sweet, and so I'm satisfied. In a way, more than Varro and Brian's love story, I liked Brian and Varro's family relationship, how they all welcomed Brian in their lives, how they were able to share the love that was of their family with another person, apparently a stranger, but someone who will become a son as much as their blood ones.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (May 31, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Heart of the Race

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Considering that I'm not really a sport fan, I find odd to always like so much stories with a sport theme. Moreover this novella was interesting cause the love story wasn't center stage, but the spotlight was equally shared with the story of Tom, a runaway gay kid who finds shelter at Eddie's place, a old-fashioned diner, and soon after starts training at Bannon's Gym, owned by Eddie's former lover, Danny.

Danny and Eddie didn't really split, but a tragic even parted them. Plus, Eddie had a strictly catholic upbringing, arriving even to study in seminary to become a Catholic priest, and that isn't helping with the sense of guilt that haunts both of them. But Eddie and Danny will find a way to collaborate to help Tom, and in helping Tom they will find a way also to patch their hearts, not healing them completely, but enough to be able to admit there is still something between them.

The story didn't really have a closure, actually it was more like an appetizer, but it was a really good appetizer enticing the reader to go for the full meal.

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (April 1, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Black Dog (Bannon's Gym)

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews


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Having just read another novel by Mary Calmes, it was easy to recognize some of her themes, the young and pretty boy, Vincent, not sparkling beautiful but more sweet, big brown eyes, a little temperamental, but basically a good guy, and clever to both, who falls in love for the very beautiful poster boy, Carson. But on the contrary of the previous novel, where the poster boy will be a cheater and someone not to trust, here Carson is a dream comes true, and he is one to trust, one that will sweep Vince off to ride on a white horse towards the horizon (figuratively speaking of course).

The novel doesn't span for a long length of time, actually I think little more than one week, and so the feeling of being swept along with Vince is there. Carson comes out like a very intense character, solid and trustworthy, but also sexy. While he is going fast once he catches Vince, it's not something sudden for him, he was lusting after Vincent for a long time, and it's like, once he manages to get him, it's never enough, he needs more, sooner and faster.

The novel reads quickly but not for that less intense.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 4, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Steamroller

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I know this is only a novella, and that it was well played to make you dream without considering any realistic implication, but well, I really liked it. Isaac is so sweet and tender, like a big, very big teddy bear, that I almost felt bad for him when Rafi, even if rightly, was treating him with cold shoulders.

Rafi has every right to hate Isaac, but indeed, if you picked the innuendos, it was clear that Isaac was bullying him in high school cause he was denying his own homosexuality; Rafi was out and proud, no one has every questioned his coming out, and he had a supporting family. Isaac instead wasn't supposed to be gay, he was the sport hero, the high school jock, also for him there were expectations, and those expectations didn't allow him to be gay.

In a way, Isaac is more sensitive than Rafi, he is able to link with his emotions in a better way than Rafi; Rafi remained attached to his hate for high school Isaac, and he would not change, if not for Isaac's persistence in having him seeing the different side of the story. Yes, I like Rafi, but I love Isaac, and the only fault I find in this story is that it was too short.

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 10, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627984879
ISBN-13: 978-1627984874
Amazon: Home Again & A Shot at Forgiveness
Amazon Kindle: A Shot at Forgiveness

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I have never been an excerpt of Yaoi, cause, as for fanfiction, my background is not that but “classical” romances; I have read Yaoi at the beginning, cause, at the time there wasn’t much choice, but then truly Yaoi romances remained an exception in the majority of new releases. So take my saying on this novel with this preamble: I think this was a quite interesting Yaoi novel, where the author tried to mix western and eastern approaches without betraying one or the other side.

Michael Black represents the western side, a former foster kid with a juvie record, he was presented with an option: joining a dojo and learning martial arts or doing time in prison; of course the choice was obvious. Sure maybe his character was a little over the line, but again, from my experience that is pretty common in Yaoi novel, exaggerating the characteristics, both physical than not, is part of the package. Michael is, after all, a good boy, not a nerd, but neither a very impressive character.

Kiyoshi Kimura aka Hikaru Nakamura is a 19 years old Japanese-korean boy too old for his own age; a past involving abuse and psychological issues, he has a split personality, the cute dancer Kiyoshi and the tough fighter Hikaru. Both personality have a distinct behavior and they cohabit inside the same body. Both agree they want Michael, and perhaps that is the only thing which they agree.

Maybe the point where this novel withdraws the most from an ordinary Yaoi novel is that there are no distincitive seme or uke, or perhaps, seme and uke are molten together inside Kiyoshi/ Hikaru.

Big warning to the reader, as clearly stated this is volume 1 in a 2 books series, and it’s likely recommended to read both books to be able to close the cycle of the story.

Publisher: Ai Press (August 21, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Dragon and Crow Vol. 1 (Dojo Boys)

Series: Dojo Boys
1) The First Misunderstanding: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1576944.html
2) Dragon and Crow 1

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I have already told in the past, Kindle Alexander knows the rules of romance and she applies them good. The sport themed romance is one classical, and even if I’m not a sport fan in real life, I don’t know why but it’s a story I have always liked to read and see in movie. So much that, if I have to find a fault in this novel, is that there isn’t much sport action (and please, believe me, I’m that woman who always change channel when the sport is on, and has probably seen an entire soccer game only when my country was winning the World Championship). The story is instead more intimate, almost all played within four walls, far from the big city and the loud that can distract these two men from what is important, their love.

When the story starts, both Colt than Jace are young, and in a way, naïve; Colt is like a teenager with first love, looking from afar the object of his desires, but when he had the chance to catch him, he is thirsty for love, wanting everything, in every place and in every way. He doesn’t think, he doesn’t plan, and it will hit back hard. He is not ready to react, as I said, they are young, not hardened enough from life.

10 years later, they are changed, but their love is still there and Colt takes a wild chance. In a way, I saw the younger Colt in that move, the one who pounced on Jace in the locker room. It was like he went in hibernation for 10 years, and only now he has come back.

I really love the surprise Dr Knox has in side for Jace and Colt (cannot say much to not spoil the book), it was a truly sweet and romantic touch.

Series: A Nice Guys Novel
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Kindle Alexander LLC. (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989117375
ISBN-13: 978-0989117371
Amazon: Double Full (A Nice Guys Novel)
Amazon Kindle: Double Full (A Nice Guys Novel)

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b

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Divisions is another little step into the life of tiger Dev and fox Lee. They are now a couple, together in front of their respective families and the public. Dev’s football team is backing him, new friends are helping them settle into the life of a committed couple and some old friends are creating troubles. This new installment in a series that I loved since book 1 is confirming my idea that this is a very ordinary love story, a nice romance, with that just touch of sexy to make it good, about anthropomorphic characters, but that is like saying the guy had black hair and blue eyes, or the girl had long hair and brown eyes, only that here you have a guy with long stripes and big paws or the other guy with a fluffy tail…

It’s also about football, and for me who is not an expert, the feeling is that Kyell Gold knows about the stuff, and so, if you are a fan of that sport, I suppose this is definitely a book you wanted to read; from my external point of view, I suppose there are more men fan of the sport than women, so I would say this is quite a manly romance, but hands up, I’m pretty sure there are also women who love the sport (and the players!).

Other than football the main theme is Lee’s struggle with his mother, who has joined an ultra-conservative group that is supposedly helping the families remained united when a kid comes out. Unfortunately the group is moistly trying to “pray out” the gayness from the kid, often with tragic outcomes. Even if in an anthropomorphic setting, unfortunately this side of the story rang very true, and it’s saddening to think that this is really happening somewhere, especially in small town where the abused kid (because this is abusing) has no one else helping him out of that trap.

Kyell Gold started the book advising the readers that, once he finished the first draft of the story, it was too long to fit only 1 book, and so he split it into two separate novels. So you will reach the end knowing that not everything will be wrapped up here, but also with the good news that soon enough you will have the chance to spend another pleasant day reading about Dev and Lee.

Amazon: Divisions
Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: Sofawolf Press (January 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936689278
ISBN-13: 978-1936689279

Series:
1) Out of Position: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/503147.html
2) Isolation Play: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1204289.html
3) Divisions

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


Cover Art by Blotch

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Rowan McBride has a series of stories about the "growing muscle" event: one or both main characters change their looks to suit the taste of their beloved.

Joel is the perfect guy: six foot six of football player, he is not the usual jock, he has also a thinking brain. But he is too used to be adored by everyone, he can have all the girls he wants and all the friends he likes. At 19 yd he is the raising star of his college.

But everyone around him continue to warn him against his college roommate, Walker Cain, a creepy geek, always with a book in hand and that everyone seems to avoid. Walker is a skinny guy, five foot four, all bones and big eyes. But he has a costant perfume around him that appeals a lot to Joel, and told be truth, Joel likes to be around Walker. Obviously not in a sexual way, Joel has never had a second though on Walker in that way, but still he is comfortable around him.

Walker is cursed. He is the last descendent of the biblical Cain, and he now belong to a long line of wizard. All the Cain has the chance to cast a big spell in their life and Walker chooses to use it to bond Joel to him forever: through the bond he can make Joel doing everything he wants, and he forces Joel to have sex with him. Everytime Joel reaches a climax, he passes to Walker some of his strenght and physical appereance.

Both Walker and Joel think that the spell will stop when both of what Joel was will be pass to Walker, but they are wrong. And things seem to spiral down to a unthinkable end.

Joel is a character in travel: during the book he will experiment many lifes and different perspective and he will learn to deal with them. You can think that Joel is a victim, but truly he "needs" this experience to see the world in the right perspective. All the things he gives granted to his physical strenght, could be not so granted if you are weaker, but you can also learn that your attitude can represent you more than your look.

Walker is a sociopathic, no doubt in that. And he is also very selfish and without regrets. Even when he could see all the wrong things he has done, still he is not repentant: maybe, he says, he would do something different, but still he would cast the spell to bond Joel. Cause he wants Joel. Walker is not a good person: I think he can play the role of a good person if he has by his side Joel, but left alone, he can be a lethal weapon. He has not conscience by himself, his conscience and his good behaviour are given by Joel.

For this reason, the bond between Joel and Walker is almost a sickly one. But it is also a very powerful and enthralling one. Want Me is a very original and powerful book, a pretty long story which will take you bond to the book till the last page.

http://www.loose-id.com/want-me.html

Amazon: Want Me
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Wheatmark (February 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1587369346
ISBN-13: 978-1587369346

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading+list&view=elisa.rolle
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I have to confess that I underestimated this novel due to the title, Homosapien; without even opening it (and this is an important detail), I thought it was some of that brainic novels about some obscure theory… but when I finally (and I regret it took me so long) opened the book I was soon corrected: “a fantasy about pro wrestling”! this surely cannot be too brainic. And actually it was not, without loosing it’s worth to be a “classy” novel, probably a step or two above the ordinary production of this time.

Homosapien is the nickname of Adam, a pro-wrestling athlete who is also gay; this is a bit of a coming out/outing story in the sport field, but it’s not the dramatic story that I’m used to read. Adam is gay and of course he is not flaunting it around with his coworkers and boss, but he is not even in the closet; his best friend, a female wrestler, knows about it and probably some other of his colleague as well.

In any case Adam arrives to a point when he probably wants, or needs, to have a social life, and of course he searches “contact” in a gay bookstore… all right, Adam is true to his nickname, “Homosapien”. David is the owner of the bookstore and he is not really welcoming with Adam, mistaking his professional figure (a wrestler) with the man; Patrick, David’s friend and employee, will help him to understand his mistake, and Adam and David will slowly start a relationship, not overtly erotic, but really romantic.

Advice to the readers: if you are searching for a smushy novel, with your heroes that can’t get enough of each other, well, this is not exactly your book; Adam and David have indeed an active sexual relationship, but what you read is their “public” life, what Patrick (the narrator) can actually see or know through Adam or David’s words. So not, no behind closed door narration, and when David takes Adam home, what happens between them is their own business. You can imagine since David comes back to work with dark circles under his eyes, or maybe since he has a different sprint on his steps… but nothing more.

As I told Adam and David’s love story starts slowly but goes deep; I really like for once to not read about sudden passion that deflates soon after; I had the impression that both Adam than David are quite reserved men and as such, they don’t jump into a relationship, but once they do, that relationship is fated to be long-term.

I also like the approach the author had with the “outing” of Adam to the public opinion; true, it was not an easy one, and for sure it had consequences for Adam both with his fans than colleagues, but that was to be expected and in the end it was the only logical solution for Adam.

Good subplot for Patrick, narrator and supporting characting, that I wouldn't mind to see having his own story.

http://s317925213.e-shop.info/shop/category_7-6-3/Homosapien-by-Julie-Bozza.html?shop_param=cid%3D%26

Reading List:



http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Faceoff (Playing The Field 1) by J.M. Snyder

This short story by J.M. Snyder it's all a question of "play": the hockey game Christian and Ronnie are playing on the ice, for the first time in opposite team after being fellow players the years before; the play of glances they are doing, Christian trying to catch Ronnie's look, and Ronnie trying with all his own to avoid him; the secret game they were conducting, playing the role of teammate and being instead lovers. The book lasts the time of the game, during which Christian replays his story with Ronnie and more the game goes on, more the time is near the actual one, and the final move will be played here and now.

Usually in a sports romance there is always the big issue of being gay in a uber-manly world, a world that seems to deny that gay men can also be good players (no pun intended). Instead in this short story, this issue is down-played; it's not denied, but it's not the main problem Christian and Ronnie had. When their relationship started, they probably recognized a fellow soul in the other man, the necessity to hide the relationship was common understanding, and the things seemed to develop nice and easy. But Christian is a young professional players, with still big dreams and stars in his eyes: he wants to hit the big game, and the little league where Ronnie and him are playing is not his final target. Ronnie instead is content with his life, with his steady role in a small town league that probably allows him more freedom, always with discretion. And so it's not the "gay" issue that torn them apart, but more Christian's ambition.

Now three months later, Christian wants to "play" their problem on the field, and instead Ronnie seems to prefer to avoid all of it. It's really ended between them? Actually there was not a break point, Christian simply left and Ronnie didn't stop him... the final confrontation will prove if their love (if love was, since no one said the big word), was real or was only another game.

As I said the book last only the space of a game, so it doesn't want to be all-inclusive of all the possible strand of the story; it's more a moment in life, but both characters are quite nice. Christian maybe is more developed, but Ronnie has potential: his reasons are not quite explained, I can only imagine them, like my idea that he prefers to "play" in a small field to avoid the judgment of the big media, but I believe this is a bonus; I have enough hint to fill the void that a short story usually leaves.

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=32&products_id=175

Amazon Kindle: Playing the Field: Faceoff
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 11, 2010)

Tee'd Off (Playing The Field 2) by J.M. Snyder

The second in the theme sports series by J.M. Snyder, Playing the Field, is a bittersweet story which is perfectly set in the golf course world. I don't know, but I always link golf with quiet and also a bit of sadness, maybe since ofthen the movie industry influence that idea.

And so here we start along the memory lane with Greg, a man that has always dreamed to live of golf and that he has always felt more at home in a golf club than everywhere else. He has now the perfect life, he lives and works for a golf club and he can enjoy its atmosphere every single moment of his life... but maybe the golden cage is more like a real cage, above all when prevents Greg to meet and seriously set down with a man. He has plenty of opportunity to meet willing men, but Greg has a point to not have relationship with customers, and the people who work for the club like him, are mostly temporary worker, today here, tomorrow perhaps.

Greg has never realized as the life is fast flowing through his fingers till the moment he meets again Trey. Trey was the son of the first man for whom Greg was a caddie, the man who helped Greg to realize his dream. Trey was four years younger, and Greg has never seen him as nothing more than an annoying kid. Not even when Greg started to have feelings for other men, he thought twice to Trey. But now Trey is back again in his life, all grown up and willing... where all those years went? Is it possible that, while Greg was living in his golden cage, the world outside move one? The meeting of the two men should be a nice chance for Greg to have some fun, and instead it starts a chain in Greg's mind that will lead him to wonder if what he has is what he really wants, and if Trey could be something more of a weekend fling. At the same time, the thought to having a relationship with Trey means, in a way, to close a chapter of his life that probably Greg is not yet ready to do, if Trey remains the little annoyng kid of his memories, Greg will remain forever the young man with great expectation.

For a 40 pages long short story, Tee'd Off has two round characters and a nice set, and it's really an enjoyable story, above all, as I said, for the setting in an exclusive golf club, and for the taste of a life that not all people can have.

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=32&products_id=176

Amazon Kindle: Playing the Field: Tee'd Off
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 26, 2010)

Play On (Playing The Field 3) by J.M. Snyder

Play On is another short story by J.M. Snyder sets around some sport field, this time soccer played by college guys. Sean is a junior at College and also in the soccer team. He is one of the best player but then Cordero joins the team; it's not the competition that distracts Sean from the game, it's the man: Cordero, with his African American look and his cool behavior is like fire for a moth, Sean can't resist to be near the man.

Quite daring for someone you don't know well, Sean makes clear his preferences with Cordero the first day, and good for him, Cordero returns the interest. It's hot, fast and often sex till first day, but only after practice; it seems that, other than a great sexual agreement, there is nothing much else between them: they have different friends, different interests... The mood of the story is exactly like that, it's not a romantic love between Sean and Cordero, and I'm not saying that they will have no chance to an happily ever after, it's only that, in this moment, no one of them is searching something more. Now the only problem is to have enough sex to satisfy the initial hunger so that they can also play on the field, instead of playing only out of it. Or the other possibility, is to find the time to meet also out of the practice day, so that when it's time to start the game, they are not horny like two teenagers who have just discovered sex.

Another hint that basically this is an erotic romp, and not a sweet romance (if sex in the shower, on the couch, on the kitchen table is not enough...), is that Sean's attraction for Cordero is very much physical; Sean doesn't even know what Cordero is studying, what he likes, what he wants, he at first doesn't even know if Cordero is gay, but despite all of this, Sean knows that he wants the man; Sean likes African American men, he even tries to melt with the slang, that is not his own, to have better chances at success. So Sean is more attracted to what Cordero represents than to who really Cordero is. But as I said before, for a sexy romp without expectation to be more, this is more than enough and leads to very naughty and enjoyable sex scenes.

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=32&products_id=179

Amazon Kindle: Playing the Field: Play On
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (December 16, 2010)

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=201 (print book)

Amazon: Playing the Field: Volume 1
Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (February 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456521535
ISBN-13: 978-1456521530

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Keegan is a 43 years old man who spent the last 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When he was 18 years old, openly gay and totally bad boy, he was the sore eye of the small town where he lived, and so, when he was framed for a murder of another young man, no one, from the judge to the police to his lawyer to his same parents believed in his innocence and he was sentenced to life. The only one who believed in him was his grandfather, a very wealthy man, who apparently couldn’t do anything for him if not preserve his inheritance. Now 25 years later Keegan is out on parole, and he is also rich, but the only thing he wants is to go back to his ranch, and live in peace, as far as possible to the folks who convicted him.

Jaxon was an orphan two years younger than Keegan; to his teenager eyes, Keegan was a forbidden fruit, someone he desperately wanted. Jaxon was also in the same gang who killed the boy Keegan was accused to, and he knew the true. Only that at the time, Jaxon was too scared to loose the only family he had, the gang, and so he said nothing. Growing up, Jaxon managed to become a famous professional baseball player, but almost as a penance, off season he is back home, and helping Keegan’s grandfather to preserve the ranch for his grandson. Even now that the old man is dead, Jaxon is going home to do his work, but this time it’s Keegan who opens the door, of both his home than all the forbidden desires Jaxon tried to forget. Jaxon is openly gay, but it’s not the gay thing that is forbidden, it’s the love he has for an ex con and also the guilty that weights on his shoulder: how can he fall in love with Keegan knowing that he stole 25 years of his life?

Even if both men deny the feelings they are having for each other, the desire is stronger, and they always end in each other arms. It’s like a play of pull and push, but in the end, it’s more Jaxon who is trying to reach out for Keegan: even if 25 years later, even if more experienced and successful, Jaxon probably is still that boy who was looking upon Keegan, waiting for the bad boy of the town to notice him, Mr Nobody; and yes, maybe it’s also a way for him to re-pay Keegan of his lost years, Jaxon for sure will do everything to make the man happy.

Overall I liked the story even if sometime it was “too much”: Keegan’s grandfather who dying left him multimillionaire? If he had so much money, probably he would have been able to help his grandson before that; it’s more believable that he asked Jaxon to help him out, since, even if it’s not said, maybe he noticed Jaxon’s interest in his grandson; a little less believable is that a professional baseball player is able to live as a rancher during off-season, and even less that he can be openly gay without the media give a fit. It’s instead quite understandable that Keegan doesn’t want to be involved with Jaxon, there are many reason for that: Keegan wants to be left alone and in peace, and a relationship with a public persona will not help; Keegan’s imagine is not help for Jaxon’s professional career; at a time the author hinted also to the interracial issue, Jaxon is Afro-American, but sincerely this was the last of their problem.

The mystery side of the story is pretty simple and the most enjoyable part is probably the hot sexual relationship between the two men, both of them well out the inexperience age, and quite aware of what they like and want.

http://www.loose-id.com/Redemption.aspx

Amazon Kindle: Redemption

Reading List:

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Kristair is a very ancient vampire who needs to find a human vessel to survive, and since he lives in the United States, who is the perfect candidate? Who is young, strong and handsome more than a college football player? Jacob is the chosen one and from the meeting of an ancient warrior with a modern one, the result is a very balanced couple: where Kris is brooding and too much serious, Jake has all the energy and joy of life of a young college student whose primary purpose is to be a number one athlete and secondary to enjoy as much as possible the frat life.

When Kris picks Jake among the crowd, he decides to give to the young man a bit of space and a slowly but effective courtship starts, with Kris letting Jake know that he is there, ready for him when Jake will decide it’s time, and Jake who enjoys a little bit of teasing of the older man. Yes, even if Kris appears to be the same age or just a little older than Jake, it’s clear that he has a very much older soul, and Jake plays a bit the role of the twink with a sugar daddy; he likes to be wooed, to be cherished like a treasure, and he likes to tease Kris. But when in the end, Jake will welcome Kris in his bed, and body (and not only in the sexual meaning of the word), Jake will reveal a strong core, that is not easily commanded, not even by a powerful and ancient vampire; in bed, between them, it’s not easy to understand who is the Dominant and who is the submissive.

The mood of the story is really dark and gothic, a mood that I would dare to compare to the Anne Rice’s Vampire tales; Kris has a lot weighting on his shoulders, above all knowledge, dangerous knowledge that he has no way to share if not finding his true mate. The bond between Kris and Jake will allow the first to lighten his burden, but nevertheless the story will not loose its darken mood. Even when having sex, even considering Jake’s young age and his previous almost coquettish behaviour, there is always the feeling that something tragic will happen, that these two lovers will not have an easy life together… enough to say that in the end, I’m happy to know that this is only the first book in a series of three with the same characters.

Even if the story is set in Pittsburgh, there is a strange feeling, like a hot and bothered atmosphere, the same thing you experience during hot summer nights. The darkness I told before is not a cold one, as I said it’s like during a summer night, and probably this is due to the two main characters, way different from the usual lean and emaciated vampires: nor Kris or Jake are like that, they are more like football players, hunky and hot, tattoed and strong. So strong is their presence that they affect all the story, spreading their hotness around. And maybe it helps also Jake’s Southern origin, like the author describes him “drawl and quick temper, filled with boldness, strutting around like the cock of the morning”.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1513

Amazon: My Heart is Within You

Amazon Kindle: My Heart is Within You

Reading List:

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


Cover Art by Dan Skinner
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Probably from a novel set in the Race Cars Circuit you expect it to be more glamour, more “under the spotlight”, and obviously, being not exactly a gay friendly environment, you expect the usual trouble from a relationship that has to remain in the closet. But instead Chasing Victory has more a “homey” feeling. It’s strange, maybe the reason is that, after all, the Stock Car Racing is more a like a small town in comparison to a metropolis, it has its fans, but the money around it are less than the bigger international circuits. And so, also the drivers are more small town boy than big shot international champion.

At 35 years old Mitchell is in the middle: he is too young to retire but he is not more the young prodigy that makes the media talk. But since Mitchell is there not for the media, but for the joy he has from racing, it’s not that he is questioning: racing has lost its fascination on Mitchell, he is probably tired to be always in motion, to not have a really home and someone to go back to. Mitchell has an old father and nice home in Georgia, but both are getting old, and Mitchell is always too far away to be with them.

One thing that I like is that Mitchell doesn’t make a drama of his need to be discreet; Mitchell is gay and he knows that it’s not good for sponsors and all, and so he lives his relationship always far from the spotlight. I didn’t feel like Mitchell is denying himself, it’s not that he craves male companionship since he was deprived of it for too long, Mitchell wants a relationship since, I believe, he is ready for it. When he meets Pacey on the circuit (he is an ER doctor), it’s only natural for them to live the relationship with the timing of the Car Racing circuit. Pacey seems also to understand the need to be discreet.

The relationship between them is nice and quite, they are good together and they know that. Mitchell is always really open, taking Pacey to meet his family almost from moment one, and not playing the “scared in the closet” gay man with his friends. Again, Mitchell is not making a public statement, but he is not even denying his lover.

Everything actually has a “comfort zone” feeling in this novel, there are no excesses, even when Mitchell brings Pacey in Paris for a short trip, a situation that usually is described in “big words” in most of the books, here is like they are having a week-end trip on the neighbourhood town, yes, it’s nice, but nothing special. It’s strange, but in the end, I have the feeling that this is almost a family story, and that Mitchell and Pacey will have a good life together, an happily ever after without firecrackers, but for sure with high chances to be a forever type of thing.

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2186

Amazon: Chasing Victory

Amazon Kindle: Chasing Victory

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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I usually don't read reviews of book I have in mind to read myself since I don't like to be influenced in my judgment. But the eyes sometime caught something, and I'm true, I look out with more attention when it's a new author. So as soon as this book was out, I read a very negative review for Horizons by Mickie B. Ashling and I was a bit surprise, since from the blurb and the quality of the publisher, I was really interesting in reading it. What last more to me of that review was the critique on the lack of research in the specific matter, the College Football environment, and the too emotional behavior of the main heroes. I will give mine own opinion in both matters further on in this post.

Jody is a 33 years emergency doctor in an Oakland hospital. He is out and proud to be and he was helped in being so by a supporting family, which not only accepted him when he came out but also helped with good advice and love all around. So Jody had the easy way and the only bump in his gay life was a fated love story with Rick, a man Jody met when Rick was already HIV positive and who died three years after their relationship started. But despite the heartbreak, it was nevertheless a good and fond memory, since Rick was a good man, a man who helped Jody in the transition from sheltered gay teen at home to gay man exposed to the big bad world. Again, Jody had it easy, Rick was a wealthy and respected personality of the San Francisco society, and Jody was not exposed to the harshness usually reserved to a young man coming out. So even if Jody is 33 years old, I have the feeling that he is a bit "naive", a bit pampered from life: it's easy for him to be out and proud, he has never witnessed the negative implication of it.

Clark is a 23 years old college student and gay in the closet. He came from a very conservative family, the fifth of five sons. His father is a jailor at Folsom, and he is the worst homophobic man you can imagine. He brought up all his sons in an homophobic environment where he described gays like the worst sinner and perverted people. When Clark realized that he has different feelings towards men, sexual feelings, he was not easy for him to reconnect it with what he was listening at home. He was still at that stage in life where you are too young to question your parents words and so he really believed that he himself was wrong in his desires. To add shame to shame, he has Attention Deficit Disorder and his father dealt with it with the same obtrusive way, ignoring it. Since Clark was good at football, the fact that he was not good at school was not a problem, it was all right to have a dumb son, if that son had the change to bring home a lot of money using his body instead of his mind. Again Clark has not courage to question his father's beliefs, and his ADD problem is another proof that he is wrong, in more way than one.

When Clark meets Jody, the young man has big behavioral problem. He has not self-esteem, he thinks that his only worth lies in his body strength, any possible damage to it is a damage to his future. The smallest injury is a drama, taking drugs to help him concentrate is not to be discussed. Plus for Clark is the first time he has the chance to meet a gay man, and for him it's like meeting with an alien. All right, at the beginning, and maybe even during their relationship, Clark comes out with some sentences that make me cringe for how homophobic they are, but I believe in that moment his Clark's father speaking, not the boy. Both men sometime ring wrong, like they are out of this world, but I believe that, in Jody's case, it's the way he has always had it easy in life, and for Clark's it's that I'm not used to speak with homophobic people... and I'm not saying that Clark is homophobic, I'm saying that he talks like one because he was taught to be like that.

It's true, both men are quite emotional, but it's not like they are crying every page or so. For Clark then I believe it's a way to react to his inner struggle; he has always to behave like this big and strong jock, he has a lot of turmoil inside, and he doesn't know how to come out from the trap he is in. On the other side, Jody only comes to tears when he has a very personal involvement, when he thinks that his story is slipping away from him; again I think it's only a natural way to react to the situation.

And then the big trouble, the fallacy on the timing of the Football season. First of all, I'm not an excerpt so I can use only the few I collect on the web. From what I read, the College Football season starts the Labor Day and ends at the beginning of December. The book didn't exactly says what time it is when the story starts, but Clark has a bone injury during a game (he is in full uniform) and he is stopped for a month; than there is a period he visits Jody after that month, then they starts to meet once/twice a week since Jody is tutoring Clark, and more or less at the third meetings it's Thanksgiving (end of November) and Clark says that his season is over. I don't believe there is a so big fallacy in the timing, it's possible that Clark was injured during an official game, he was out for a month, then started again but his team didn't make the finals, if so, it's possible that at the end of November the season is over for him. What probably it's not so believable, it's that being stopped for a month during the game season didn't worried so much nor Clark or his father. But truth be told, all the aspects related to Clark's life as football player, games, trainings and so one, are not so much detailed, not in comparison to other sports themed novel I read. Only once we witness to a game and never once to a training. So yes, maybe all the sports side of the novel could have been better, but I think it doesn't matter so much since it is not so essential to the story: the essential point is Clark's desire to be a professional player in a big money sport, the sport itself in this case is football, but it could have been baseball or basket or something else for that matter.

What instead I found unsettling at the beginning, but that then I think it makes the book even more original, it's the different point of view of the heroes. The book is not a total first point of view, it's like that only when it's Clark's time to think and speak, for all the rest of the characters it's a third point of view. As I said, at the beginning it's strange, also since I found that Clark was way more too overanalyzing. He spoke of himself as if he was another person, like he was the third point of view narrator describing the main hero. Since I started with an idea of Clark and a dumb jock, it was strange to "hear" him speak like that. But more on the story, I understood that Clark was in a coming out process, that he was analyzing his life and his beliefs to find the courage to do the right think.

All in all I think this is quite a particular novel, since it's not following the "normal" standard. To like it you have to put yourself inside the characters, trying to judge their action not by your standards but by their own. For example, Clark being a 23 years old student and Jody a 33 established doctor, it's something that lead you to believe them being at distance, in expectation and behavior; but as I said, Jody is almost "naive", and Clark is in a growing process, and so the distance is not so big, and it's almost a non existent factor. For normal standard this is wrong, but if you think like the characters it's not.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/currenttitles/horizons/horizonsbuynow.htm

Amazon: Horizons

Amazon Kindle: Horizons

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Dumb Jock is a coming of age book aimed to an adult target... or maybe I'm too old fashioned, and I really don't know how teenagers are these days. I would really like to be able to go back of 20 years and have the chance to read thise book with a 14 years old mind. Would I be really shocked to read about sex between a 14 years old boy and a 16 years old one? Truth be told there is sex, but it's a mid core level of detailed sex, there is no doubt what is happening between the two, but actually the author doesn't give us very much details. It's not a "behind closed door" type of sex, we are there in the room with the characters, but we have to cover with our imagination where the author doesn't describe something. For example there are blow-jobs, and even an anal sex scene, but actually I believe to have never found the word penis or some equivalent word. I have a clear physical impression of Jeff, small and lithe, a bit on the skinny side, and Brett, tall and muscular, and how Jeff feels protected when he is in Brett's arms, but actually that physical impression never deepens to intimate details (no description under the belt). Soooooo... I'm telling all these since I believe that the novel lacks in something? Not at all. For me it's a merit, since the book, without lacking of the sexy part, it's still innocent enough to be read by a young adult target.

Jeff is the classical nerd, a linguistic nerd: he loves to read, he likes books and musics, he is a good student, but all in all he is a pretty ordinary boy. Then all of sudden his life changes: he is asked to tutor in English another student, Brett, the football star of his high school. Jeff is almost blackmailed in doing so from the Physical Education teacher, who clearly tells him that, if he doesn't help Brett, he will not pass his class, and Jeff can't have it, since he needs all good grades to obtain a future full scholarship at College. What the PE teacher doesn't know, is that probably Jeff would have helped Brett anyway, since he has a crush on the other boy. Actually Jeff is not aware of the real nature of his feelings for Brett since in the small town where he lives, there is not hint of such a thing like gay or lesbian.

And now we arrived to the other interesting side of the book, the setting: the novel is set at the beginning of the '80 in a small town USA, this means before AIDS and probably before the rekindling of a string of bashing crimes in the USA. The author clearly stated that he chose to set the story in a ante-AIDS era to not focus on this aspect, Jeff and Brett's trouble are just enough without adding to them also the AIDS plague. But in a way, AIDS also unblocked the conscience of a lot of people, and also thier awareness that being different was not a condition so far from them. AIDS killed a lot of people and changed forever the life of the rest of them, but AIDS also revealed the biggest secret, that gay people are everywhere, even in the small town USA. Without this conscience, we can read of Jeff who, at 14 years old, is still not aware that the wet dreams he is having of Brett are due to his unrequited love for him. And when they fall in love, and it's real love, still Jeff tolerates that Brett treats him like a submissive, like if Brett was the man and Jeff the "fag"; I'm not saying that Brett doesn't love Jeff, but I'm saying that Brett has still big preconceptions on what is straight and what is gay, and those preconceptions can ruin their life.

Where Jeff is an easy character to like, also since he has to go through a lot of sad things so soon in his life, Brett is a bit harder to love. But truth be told, I think he is coherent with himself; he is not a bad guy, but he is for sure a spoiled brat. He has always had an easy life, an only child of a wealthy family, and thanks to his body and his average mind, he would probably have had not any problem in excel in his life, if he chose to live forever in that small town USA. But Brett happens to be gay and being gay in the '80 and living in a small town was not a choice. On the other hand, Brett being gay doesn't immediately makes him a perfect poster boy for gay guys: he still remains a spoiled brat. He still remains the classical jock who likes to be worshiped by his fans and pointed out at school. It's not an easy choice to renounce to all of this in the name of love... and don't forget that we are talking of a 16 years old guy, someone who is still living with his parents and still dependent from them.

Brett's immaturity balanced the even too much maturity of Jeff, that sometime made me wonder if he was really a 14 years old boy. But it's not uncommon that a boy has to grew before his time facing such events, and Jeff went through all the range, from being bullied at school, to having trouble at home, and so on. There are very sad events in the book, but there is also hope in the end... this is not like those gay novels that, to be truth, has to be hard and without romance. Dumb Jock is a nice romance, in the style of Bobby Michaels, but maybe with a little less smelly sex.

Amazon: Dumb Jock

Reading List:

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

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