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The book was really short, maybe in a way even too short. The plot was nice and catching right from the beginning, high school student new in town from an loving and adjusted family meets the school paria, the anorexic, self-imposed mute kid who everyone avoids. Jayden is a romantic at heart, believing in true and forever love, but he is in a way more immature than Liam, above all from an emotional point of view: he doesn't understand that what he feels for Liam is love, and that is funny, cause his parents not only understand it, but are also so good people that aren't against those feelings. Liam too probably understand that he is in love, but he also understand his troubled past can harm Jayden.

As I said, I loved the plot, above all cause, while dramatic, I never felt as it was impossible for these boys to find happiness, probably thank to Jayden's parents who were really perfect. And maybe that was another common feeling throughtout all the book, everything moved really fast and sometime usually overwhelming obstacles were in this case almost null. Instead of a whole story it felt like an appetizer, and I strongly suggest to the author to cultivate these two boys, not only giving them more time together after these current events (college perhaps?) but also maybe revisiting this story and make it a little longer.

And, by the way, catching cover too.

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle: Secrets and Demons

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Quick and fast, but indeed nice. Even if Tony is doing something that, at most external eyes, is heroic, he doesn't see it like that. He is a good guy who started with a misstep, a troubled teenagehood that landed him in prison, but at mid-twenties he is trying to go back in track. Tony is also gay, but that is not really something that is characterizing him, it is who he is, just like if he had blue eyes, or brown hair. Sure being gay makes him the perfect match for Alec, the closeted cop who is put in charge of his security while he is the main witness on a mafia trial. Alec has always avoided temptation, but now temptation is there, at hand reach, in a very small, secluded mountain cabin.

I will not say more, just that, when it happen, it's a mix of hot and dirty, but somewhat there was also romance beneath it; Alec is like a big strong baby not realizing he can hurt people if he is not careful, but a baby isn't able to be careful, it's like emotion are boiling inside him, and then erupt, and there is not way to stop them.

Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (May 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Witness Protection

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While Slow Burn is a cop themed novel like the old classics, I was pleasently surprised the author gave more focus to the love story than the mystery plot. Sure Brody wants to solve the case he is following since he was a new recruit, but he will realize that is not his whole life, like it is not the fake persona he is presenting to the world, to safe the imagine he was taught was that of a real man. Contrary to most novel where the one in the closet comes from a difficult childhood, where he was taught more with fear than love, Brody's father was a good man, a cop as well, but he was old fashioned, and he had his idea on gay men. I'm not sure Brody wasn't giving him credit, and maybe if told about Brody, he was to surprise him, but we will never know, he is dead now, and as a dead man, he is even more difficult to compare with.

While Brody is a classical case study, cop in the closet and all, Zack is another as well: out and proud, he apparently has a tendency to pick them in the closet and straight acting. Maybe that is his type, why not? only that this type is sure to bring him more pain than happiness, unless, like Brody, even if in the closet, he is still a good man, and what they said? a good man is hard to find (that goes with the pair, a hard man is good to find as well).

I liked the author didn't underestimate Brody's issues and Zack's requests for not being pushed back in the closet with Brody, but that, at the same time, they always tried to make it work, and, after all, there wasn't a moment when they didn't consider their relationship something good to fight for.

Publisher: Loose Id LLC (January 7, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Slow Burn

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When the story started with best friends Asher and Oliver discussing Asher's passion for BDSM, to an almost hard core level, I thought, uhmm, not sure this is my cup of tea (not really a fan of BDSM stories...); but I'm used to Cardeno C.'s stories, and I know this author is very romantic, sometime to a level of being sweet, just bordering on too sweet... so how was it possible to concile these two side of the story? that kept me reading, and I was glad I did, cause, and yes, this is maybe a spoiler, the story is far from being BDSM, the most kinky these two men arrive to be is a good spanking session.

Daniel is at the opposite of the twinks Asher is used to trick with, and that is the reason why he stands out; while he looks barely legal, Daniel is 33 years old, he has a past, and his own secrets; he may be easily distracted, to a level someone can consider him light-headed, but that is far from being true. Daniel has hidden talents, some of them so hidden even him isn't able to see. He isn't a "plain" character, and while I caught there was something behind the looks of a drifter, the sudden revelation at the end of the story left me sort of disoriented, maybe I would have liked some more story span between the two of them, to be able to adapt to the new evolution.

But one thing was confirmed, this author knows how to write a full romance; someone might consider it unrealistic, but that is, indeed, the basis of romance, giving people the bread, a basic reality, BUT also the butter, the plush romance dreams.

Series: Family
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 25, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162380535X
ISBN-13: 978-1623805357
Amazon: Something in the Way He Needs (Family)
Amazon Kindle: Something in the Way He Needs (Family)

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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:
3) Beach Balls
4) Snow Balls

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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:
2) Aaron's Wait
3) Caesar's Fall
4) Dante's Circle

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The title, Crazy from the Heat, is quite right for the story, cause, more or less, no one in this story is "normal", but they are all out of the ordinary, with a more than troubled past. The story of undercover cop, Paul, passing as a teenager student at the high school where Grey is a teacher is maybe a little far-stretched (32 years old passing for 17), but at least is original, probably more than having a really young cop in the same role. In this way, Paul is even older than Grey, that at 28 years old is a very young teacher, but not impossible. I think the author chose to have Paul older than Grey to avoid the usually pet/teacher scheme, and even if Paul and Grey "play" that game, it's only a game.

There is even another reason, even if it's something the author only hints and doesn't develop much, the submissive nature of Grey. It's downplayed cause Paul isn't your ordinary dominant, and in a way he is more interested in enjoying his time with Grey more than domineering him around, but in any way, the Dom/sub relationship is there.

There is a huge turnaround just at the end, even if, thinking back, the author was giving hint here and there on the final turn. To me it was unexpected, but it was also the logical solution, a big change was needed in Paul and Grey's life to be able for them to find a common path.

Publisher: MJC Press (April 17, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Crazy from the Heat

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This installment in the Assassin/Shifter series by Sandrine Gasq-Dion is like a glue piece in the series, in a way, most of Tucker Storm & Austin Jacobson and Kurt Maguire & Wesley Foster's story is already told in the previous book, and with their book, Reflash, the author is simply giving them the time to consolidate their relationships. Tucker and Wesley seem to be joined at the hips, they were changed together, they found shelter in Wayne's home and they both became cops. They are not twin but it's like they were, and it was fitting that, not only they find their soul mate at the same time, but also that Austin and Kurt are friends and with very similar upbringing.

Austin and Kurt are from very conservative families, Kurt's family even arriving to host a anti-gay camp for "troubled" kids. No wonder that, even if they are probably both gays, they weren't able to live their sexual orientation freely while living at home. Austin and Kurt moved from different places to Seattle, to work at the local fire department, and it was logical they became roommate. Like there isn't a sexual relationship between Tucker and Wesley, so is for Austin and Kurt, they are all really good friends with each other. And so, when both find their pairing, there isn't jealousy but actually support, a support that is also emotional, helping each other to come to term with their feelings, feelings they were taught are wrong, but that to them, didn't feel wrong at all.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Skull Blaster Publishing LLC (September 30, 2013); 10 edition (October 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480156744
ISBN-13: 978-1480156746
Amazon: Reflash (Assassin/Shifter)
Amazon Kindle: Reflash (Assassin/Shifter)

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man:
2) Alaska, with Love:
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey:
9) An Ignited Passion:
10) Reflash

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I was puzzled by this book, reading the blurb I had the wrond impression this was a paranormal story, but indeed the paranormal elements are so feeble, that, in a way, even if they weren't there the story was working good as well. Considering this is book 1 of a series of 3, all with the same release date, is it possible those elements will acquire importance in a later book, maybe.

Anyway, the relationship between Jon, a former US marshall with PTS disorder, and Ellis, a kind man who is devoting his life to taking care of his mentally disabled brother, was not easy, but masterfully managed. I think the author didn't underestimate the issue, Ellis's brother, Rudy, felt realistic, a 5 years child in the body of a 42 years old man. The love story between Jon and Ellis, while sudden, wasn't easy; sure they fell in few days, and maybe the reason why they fell is more dependency than love, but nevertheless, it was strong. Strange enough, it's not Ellis who needs Jon, but viceversa: Jon needs a reason to live, and Ellis and Rudy represent it.

I'm true, this lately I cannot read three books of the same author one after the other, but well, if there is an author who enticed me in doing so, it's Adrienne Wilder with this series.

Publisher: Adrienne Wilder (March 25, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: My Brother's Keeper (Book One): The First Three Rules

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I decided to read this mystery/thriller as soon as I received it cause I plan to visit Charleston in less than one month, and the chance to read a novel set in the town was too good to let it pass. And I’m glad I did, cause Charleston is as much as a protagonist as Cole Mouzon. The Trees Beyond the Grass is a thriller with a subtheme of romance, and, at least in this novel, the love interest of Cole, Cash Calhoun, will appear well into the plot, even if he is related to Cole since the day he was born. As you can learn in the blurb, the author is planning a series, and I suppose Cole and Cash’s personal story will develop more in the next novels.

Truth be told, not Cole or Cash appear to be the typical thriller heroes, they are more “professor” like than “cop” (Cole is a civil defense counsel, Cash is an Assistant Professor of History), and even their love story is quiet and subdue, played more inside private homes than public venues; nothing is actually typical in this thriller, not even the killer, who the reader knows being a woman. Now, I don’t want to fall into stereotypes, but actually there is always this idea that the very bad ones are men, women tend to be this maternal figure who loves unconditionally; and indeed this figure is present in the novel, in the character of Cole’s older sister and a local police officer in the Town of Mount Pleasant, Jackie. Again a contraposition, a woman is the one with the fitting stereotype of a thriller novel main character.

Even if, until the last few pages, the reader knows the killer is a woman, but they don’t know who she is, knowing the name wasn’t really important; the author gives you plenty of opportunities to know her, her motives, and her actions. Plus, the weaving of the net that slowly entraps Cole is more interesting than knowing that name, more than the apex, what I enjoyed is the mounting of the anticipation.

Paperback: 402 pages
Publisher: Spartina Company Ltd The (September 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989854906
ISBN-13: 978-0989854900
Amazon: The Trees Beyond the Grass
Amazon Kindle: The Trees Beyond the Grass

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Not being able to read all Mary Calmes' books at first I was a little confused, cause there were so many characters, and apparently so many interesting subplot, that it was like one of those romances where you meet couples from previous books, huddling all together to enjoy some festivity together. But that went away quickly and actually I was able to catch what the author was doing, introducing a new "world" and any possible future books (even if I know want the story of Matt and Eric).

Anyway, our man, Tracy, is coming out (no pun intended) from a break-up with Breckin, and even if Breckin is basically perfect, I have never liked the perfect ones, so I was all for Tracy to forget him and see the fine candidate boyfriend he has in Cord, his brother's best friend. Cord was a player, but that was years ago, and if Tracy wasn't distracted by Breckin, maybe he would have noticed it before.

Tracy is a little crazy, seeing things at his own way, able to see the good in his business partner (Dimah), when everyone else tells him to leave him and the danger he represents; but Tracy is also precious, to his friends and family, precious cause he is like a treasure, and they know it; you can see in how much fiercely protective they are of Tracy, how they will do everything for him. Cord wants a little of that, he wants Tracy, but he wants also to be part of the circle of love that is around Tracy, to finally be part of something, not alone anymore.

I have to say that, as for as mystery goes, I understood who was the villain first shot, it wasn't really that difficult, but truth be told, this wasn't really a plot focused around the mystery, but more around the romance between Tracy and Cord, and that was good.

Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627987371
ISBN-13: 978-1627987370
Amazon: Floodgates
Amazon Kindle: Floodgates

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The strength of this series lies on its main characters, Ben and Gavin, but also, odd considering they are the villains, the bad ones, the ones the good-boys, like Gavin, are supposed to oppose, but that, in the end, have their reasons, for how much twisted they are, to behave in that way. Like in Power Exchange, also in Safeword, I didn’t feel “happy” the bad one was “stopped”, or at least, it wasn’t a feeling of complete satisfaction, but more like an unavoidable event.

Going back to the main characters, they were beautifully drawn and deep, but there is a big warning, this is not a BDSM novel playing the theme, this is a full immersion in the life, and Ben and Gavin have probably what a real Dom/sub relationship is in reality; Ben, who is not playing to be a Dom, and so he has not the typical physique du role, not only is a Dom, he is a counselor for other Doms, and he has a difficult case in Gavin, who has a PTS syndrome due to their past experience, told in the first novel; Ben, of course, isn’t Gavin’s therapist, Gavin is a sub and he is a patient of Ben’s business partner, a submissive. But Ben will have to work with Gavin in reestablishing their relationship and dynamics.

Aside from some small typos, mostly due, probably, to the fact this is a self-published work, the writing is as beautiful as the characters, dry but, again, deep, able to involve the reader even without the WOW effects sometime mystery/thriller novels are used to display.

Series: Power Exchange
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 26, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492119237
ISBN-13: 978-1492119234
Amazon: Safeword
Amazon Kindle: Safeword

Series: Power Exchange
1) Power Exchange:
2) Safeword

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A solid good mystery plot with just that touch of romance to make it enjoyable for a wider public. An unusual time set, the early 1950s, at the aftermath of a famous was, WWII, but also a not so “famous” one, the Korean War: usually you are used to the loss of young souls that was the WWI or the drama of the WWII, or the tragedy of Vietnam, but the Korean War? That is more for who really was there or knew someone who was there. People don’t talk about it much. Here the setting is outstanding, the feeling is that or the author did a deep research, or he was somehow involved (maybe a relative was there?).

The book is very well written, form the 1st point of view of one of the two main character, Dan. When the story starts he is already in a clandestine relationship with Bud (clandestine not cause they are married to someone else, but since Bud is in the closet, and neither Dan is very much out, homosexuality in 1950s is still a crime, and you can very well lose everything if you are found out). The previous book, It Takes Two, is about how Dan and Bud met, but I didn’t feel I was losing something about this current novel without having read that one.

In a way, the mystery had even some fun element, trying maybe to enlighten the plot, but there is a strong core represented by the political climate, and the dangerous of being gay in those times. The two men know it, and Dan is also not at his first experience, having lost a previous lover. He is now clearly in love with Bud, but that is not a reason to lose perception with the reality they are living in. That is, there aren’t really trouble between Dan and Bud, but the external world is against them.

The romance wasn’t sexy, but it was for sure warm and sweet, despite all. Like many of the real life romances I read about, love was always love, and in a way, finding happiness at that time was so difficult, that once you found it, you grasp and cling and never let it go.

Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (August 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590212924
ISBN-13: 978-1590212929
Amazon: Only Make Believe
Amazon Kindle: Only Make Believe

1) It Takes Two
2) Only Make Believe

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I haven’t read all the books in the series, but one thing I noticed, this series is more mainstream than genre fiction, actually I think the whole series is one of the best example of urban fantasy out there right now. The writing style is unique, the main and supporting characters are original, in their being heroic without being heroes, and the storyline is tragic and engaging, always leaving the reader with the feeling of wanting more, and more will be delivered.

As the same Dylan says, they will be always in three, Roan, him and the ghost of Paris, who basically has never left Roan, living in his skin, lingering on his needs. Roan loves Dylan, I can feel it, but I also feel like Roan doesn’t believe there is a future for Dylan and me, and in a way, would prefer for Dylan to be as much as possible detached from him. I’m not sure if Roan hates the shifter in him, or if, deep down, he feels like he is that shifter, and that denying him he is denying his own self. Dylan represent normalcy, and if he wants to be with Dylan he has to refuse his lion; in a way, Roan is rejecting the lion while, in the end, I had this lingering sensation that Dylan wouldn’t be against the idea to accept it, cause, better than Roan, Dylan understand the lion is not the bad side of Roan, it’s just another side of him.

Yes, that is, after 6 books, my conclusion is that Roan hasn’t to fight the lion, but instead he has to find a way to have it coming out and being a part of him, and both of them need to “know” Dylan to love him completely (well, this is the romance reader speaking).

Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623800129
ISBN-13: 978-1623800123
Amazon: Infected: Lesser Evils
Amazon Kindle: Infected: Lesser Evils

Series: Infected
1) Prey
2) Bloodlines
3) Life After Death
4) Freefall:
5) Shift
6) Lesser Evils

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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:
2) Dragon and Crow 1

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If you want to break some taboos, The Bacchi is probably your choice. First of all, this is not a gay or bisexual or even transgender novel, both Lefi, a Somian, than Afton, a Valoran, are in some way hermaphrodites, so basically they have no gender, or better they have both gender. They are not humans, but an alien breed, and the Somians have lost their hermaphroditism to basically mutate on a female or on a male, but in a way, they still preserve the double characteristic cause they are always twins at birth, and if they are a male and a female, they are a mated pair. Only that Lefi’s twin sister has died, and now for Lefi is like he has lost his heart and doesn’t believe he is capable of loving again.

The Valorans instead are fully hermaphrodites, but since young age, they lean toward a gender, and so, even if they have both genitalia, they identify as a male or female; moreover, they are very private regarding sexuality and homosexuality is basically nonexistent; to Afton, who was raised as a male, the attraction he feels toward Lefi, a male, is unsettling, and to add trouble to his worries, Somians are very sexual people, exactly the opposite of Valorans, and Lefi is a sex worker, a Bacchi (basically a high paid and recognized prostitute).

There is a second, parallel plot about a slave black market where Valorans are sold to brothels, and Afton, as a police inspector, is required to investigate, and Lefi is his “liason”. But truth be told, this wasn’t the plot I was interested in, more interesting was the slow seduction of Lefi towards Afton, and Afton questioning not only his sexuality, but the entire emotional structure of his own people. This is a sensitive matter and I don’t want to approach it in a way that is indelicate, but my feeling was that, even if Afton start to consider his female genitalia (while instead, previously, he completely ignored them), in no way he changes his male attitude to life; for example, Afton can bear children, but he has never considered the option, as a male, and still doesn’t consider it even when he falls in love for another men.

Paperback: 404 pages
Publisher: (September 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1304499812
ISBN-13: 978-1304499813
Amazon: The Bacchi
Amazon Kindle: The Bacchi

Series: An Uncommon Whore
1) An Uncommon Whore:
2) The Bacchi

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I had completely the wrong assumptions on this novel, I was expecting for it to be more a mystery/thriller, lot of actions and well, not so romantic, but I was completely wrong. Not only this is an hot and sexy romance, it has even a comedy undertone that I loved, romantic comedy are my favorites, and when the main characters are able to make me smile, that is a big bonus for me.

Now, I don’t think the purpose of Bradley and Tony was to be cute, and funny, but that is how they arrived to me. Bradley is a British special agent for an agency specialized in locating and retrieving stolen arts; his last case has a personal core, someone has taken a family heirloom, a Faberge egg. Due to the personal connection, Bradley allowed to go abroad, tracing the egg till New York City and a group of people who is trying to place the egg with a Mafia boss’s son, believing the egg to be fake. Mistaken for a high-paid hustler due to his good looks, Bradley is hired as a bait for the Mafia kid, who apparently is gay.

At this point, you have already imagined in your mind Bradley in the role of the cute submissive character who will fall for the Mafia man, a dark handsome Dom… and you are wrong! The Dom here, but sincerely without taking himself too seriously, is fair-looking Bradley, who is btw taller and broader than Tony; Tony is a submissive by nature, someone who likes to be ordered around, even if he has way more money and power than Bradley. It’s an easy bait the one they put in front of Tony, and Bradley will follow his cover all the way around, arriving to “sacrifice” his body to the altar of the mission (but sincerely, it wasn’t a big sacrifice for him…)

Forget the tension, forget the worries, the story of Bradley and Tony, even with the turn of events they will have, is basically hot and fun, and I have never had a worry that they were really in danger.

Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (September 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611189659
ISBN-13: 978-1611189650
Amazon: The Long Con
Amazon Kindle: The Long Con

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Very nice small town mystery with an heavy English flavor, so much that you could almost “smell” it (and no pun intended with Tom’s job as a plumber).

Tom and Phil were in school together but they weren’t friend, actually Phil was bullying Tom for being gay after Tom eyed Phil in the locker room. Now that is not a from enemies to lovers story, Tom pretty much forget about Phil until the day Phil decides to come back home. Sure, Tom has a permanent memento of the man, the slightly limping he has got as a consequence of a car accident he was in while trying to run away from yet another pestering from Phil and his friends, but Tom doesn’t bear any grudge on Phil; not the same for Phil that apparently feels guilty.

The mystery was a good one, small as the small village in which it unravels, not so difficult to figure it out, cause, well, Tom likes or dislikes of people were pretty clear. But the good thing was that every single character, guilty or not, had its own personal story and it was fleshed out enough to have the reader care for them.

Tom was a very nice hero, and yes, even a plumber could be an hero, and his humor in facing everything was refreshing and cute; I really loved that the author didn’t push too much on the psychic ability of Tom, she used them just for what it was needed in the story, but she didn’t center the plot around it. Tom wasn’t his special gift, he was just another English bloke, living in a small town and searching for love.

Just a note on two of the most important supporting characters of all the story, Merlin and Arthur… Tom’s cats! I may be wrong, but I saw a reflection of Tom and Phil in the two, Merlin a feline version of Tom, and Arthur of Phil, not only in their physical characteristics, but also in the attitude.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (August 6, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619213621
ISBN-13: 978-1619213623
Amazon: Pressure Head
Amazon Kindle: Pressure Head

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So I’m working my backlog (finally!) and this is another of those novels I had in my reading list for a long time. Coincidences wanted I read this one soon after a completely different plot but with the same tune, cute character meets knight in shining armor. Michael is a little nerd young gay man, completely unaware of how attractive he is to other men probably exactly for that reason, that he is unassuming; other men can react to him in different ways, wanting to own him like he is a pretty object to display or wanting to protect him. In Michael’s past there is the first type, Gregory, his future maybe has in store the second one, Cash. Even if there is hypothetically a mystery/thriller subplot, this is not actually that type of novel, cause the author pushes more on the satiric/cute factor, making all the adventures Michael undertakes more like comic sketches than really dangerous situation. Kudos to the author to have one specific characters turning from best friend to villain in a turn of event that had me quite surprised, it was the first time I was feeling good for a character that in the end was the worst enemy of the main character.

As soon as I finished this one, I remember the polemic it raised when it was released and I think the major mistake of who read this one, and didn’t like it, was the wrong expectation; as I said this is not a mystery/thriller novel, this is a satire of one. Do you want an example (that will not spoil the story)? In which mystery/thriller/romance novel the hero (knight in shining armor) while rescuing his beloved one stumbles on his feet giving time to the villain to almost killing the one to be rescued? That is what happened to Michael, threatened by Gregory, almost rescued by Cash, who isn’t able to prevent Gregory from stabbing Michael. If this was a real mystery/thriller, and I was in Michael’s shoes, I would have been very pissed with Cash.

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (August 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984021590
ISBN-13: 978-0984021598
Amazon: Dammit!
Amazon Kindle: Dammit!

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First of all, let start with the point that I liked this novel, sex scenes and all, and this was odd for two reasons, one that I usually don’t care much for the sex, unless is good, and second, the sex happens between two men who aren’t the intended romance of the story. Miles is in a dying relationship with Itai, and that is clear, and he meets Nic, who could be the right man. But Miles is not a cheater, and so, while he is still committed to Itai, he will not betray him, if not with the feelings that he is starting to develop for Nic. But Miles and Itai are also young, and they like sex, Miles in particular, and they are healthy young men, and so, during the development of the story, there are intercourses between them, and as I said, they are good, even if unfulfilling from an emotional point of view. Here the odd, I usually don’t care for unemotional sex, but this time it was so natural, that I did, saving sharing the same disappointment as Miles, when, in the aftermath of the sex, he realized that good sex wasn’t enough to satisfy him.

Sweet & Sour is an Hanukkah story, and the Jewish heritage of Miles is an important element of the story, from the more evident aspect, being Miles the owner of a kosher deli, to the little details like the tradition of lighting a candle for each night of the Hanukkah and sharing little gifts with your beloved.

I have always enjoyed these seasonal romances by Astrid Amara, they are now a longed for yearly appointment.
Expected publication: November 26th 2013 by Loose Id

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Good sexy story, maybe I was a little sad to see it end so soon, it’s a novella length and it’s basically all developed around 3 encounters between short-tempered Irish-American cop Brendan, and naïve and inexperienced doctor Stephen.

Brendan is hot, but not exactly a dream-date and indeed his current boyfriend dumps him; doesn’t matter Brendan was thinking to do the same, when that happens he needs to prove a point and he decides to kidnap Kent in a closet and teach him a lesson. But the one kidnapped is not Kent, but Stephen. This is an erotic romance bordering in erotica, and so the focus is the sex; it will not be a one night stands for Brendan and Stephen, but the authors didn’t indulge in the details of how they plan to date or the anticipation of their meetings, and instead focus on what they do when they are alone, i.e., sex!

For me it’s a first time of both authors, and there is definitely a lot I like in their styles, Brendan is a faulted hero, the one I preferred. There is no drama in this story, but you understand that Brendan has the potential to be a beautiful troubled romance hero. If I have to find a fault in him, and in the story, is the hint of threesome (m/m/m) at the end of the novel: I didn’t know enough the characters, and the evolution of their story, to be able to understand if they were ready for that.

Amazon Kindle: Manhandled
Publisher: Lyonnesse (April 26, 2012)


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I really enjoyed the third, and for now, last installment in this series, Xavi comes out like this hedonistic, but so cute, top from the bottom character that is able to conquer Andreas’s heart completely and unavoidably.

It can appear that there is no balance between them, like Xavi is almost “forced” to be with Andreas, a feeling that you could have in the previous book, but with this one, you understand that Xavi has chosen to be with Andreas, moreover, he is happy and content; he is like a cat, who has find his home and has always a saucer full of milk cream… why in heaven should he leave all this? And like a content cat, he is more than willing to “purr” for his lover.

I did enjoy the introduction of new myths in the vampire tradition, like the fact that they could bear sunlight, but only to a moderate level: the scene in which Xavi cannot renounce to his tan, willingly subjecting himself to the pain of being under the sun is perfect for his hedonistic character.

Picking Barcellona has setting for the novel is again a perfect choice, the Barrio Antico and the Ramblas are a mix of modern and ancient, that well reflect the development of the story: the time is a near future, 2042, but the theme is a classical gothic one, vampires.

I would dare to say that, while you will for sure enjoying reading the whole series, Fool’s Rush has all the merits to be also a perfect standalone novel.

Amazon Kindle: Fool's Rush (Fool's Odyssey)
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 10, 2013)

Series: Fool's Odyssey Trilogy
1) Fool's Errand:
2) Fool's Oath:
3) Fool's Rush

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Once you understand this is not a realistic cop/thriller novel but a comedy, then you are ready to read it, and as comedy goes, it’s pretty good.

Usually undercover cops, especially the young ones, believe, or pretend, to know what they are doing. Here Jamie is totally honest in saying, he is not, and he doesn’t even particularly want to. Son and grandson of police officers, he entered the academy more following a trend than for real attitude; as a patrol officer he is not bad, but the job is boring and so he happily accepts to go undercover to gather evidence against a mafia boss. And here the first hint this is more a comedy, cause, for what little I know, it’s probably naïve to think that an undercover cop will use his real name, and real ID, for the job; that is the reason why Dmitri, the supposedly mafia boss, is well aware that Jamie is a cop. And here the second hint: despite knowing Jamie is on the other side of the barricades, Dmitri falls in love with him 2 minutes flat after meeting him.

Jamie and Dmitri are more lovesick puppies that grown men; actually I did wonder how these two are living alone from their families, cause sometime they remembered me more teenagers than adults. To a sex experience level, Jamie is indeed little more than a teen, having being together with his very Irish Catholic boyfriend since the age of 15, and that means his boyfriend didn’t want to bring them to the next stage of sexual knowledge (being the first oral sex). Just months before, the boyfriend in question decided he was not gay and dumped Jamie, who is now on the rebound with Dmitri, only that the rebound is way more intense than the previous love.

An assortment of mostly female supporting characters (3 sisters from Jamie’s side, 5 from Dmitri’s, Jamie’s best friend, Dmitri’s best friend and fake fiancé) make a perfect corollary for the comedy plot: Jamie and Dmitri are like dolls all the females use to play, dressing them and playing home. They are mostly harmless, and indeed, both Jamie than Dmitri enjoy more their company than that of the big boys.

This was a funny, uncomplicated and cute reading, very light but good.

Amazon: Way Off Plan (Firsts and Forever) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Way Off Plan (Firsts and Forever) (Volume 1)
Series: Firsts and Forever
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (January 25, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482027402
ISBN-13: 978-1482027402


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In perfect harmony with all the series that is now a classic among the gay romance fans, The Red Zone plays again the card of the hot cop falling in love for the younger college student who needs to be reined (a little like the story of Preston and Wyatt). Actually Sebastian Price is Wyatt’s former boyfriend, the one that in Wyatt’s story doesn’t make a really good impression on the readers: he is abusive, prone to shifts in moods that make him unreliable. Only that now Sebastian is trying to make amend, and he is involved in various supporting groups for LGBT youths, plus he is the quarterback of his college football team. Being him on the spotlight as poster gay boy is also making him an easy target for homophobic pranks that escalate in danger, until the time police is involved and Nicholas Stevens enters the scene. A werewolf, he soon recognizes Sebastian as his mate.

I like the unexpected role play the author picked for her character: while Nicholas is a werewolf, a cop, and older than Sebastian, he is also someone who doesn’t believe in no strings attached relationships, and so he is basically almost a virgin, basically waiting for his own mate to show up to build a 2.5 kid white fence house in the suburbs scenario. That doesn’t make him weak, or in need of an alpha male beside him, it’s more a choice of mind, a life attitude that he has decided to take. On the other side Sebastian may be a little more reckless in love, not to the level to make him a slut, only more “friendly”, but at the same time he is young, so he hasn’t had really the time to become disillusioned by love; he is ripe to be picked, and ready to commit. This matching of state of mind make the meeting of Nicholas and Sebastian perfect in time, plus it shortens their difference in age, making it almost nonexistent.

I’m not reading this series in order, so I’m the good example that it’s not necessary to engage for the whole series, but for sure this is a choral series, and all the characters from the previous and future books make appearances here and there, so to entice reader to go back or to continue in reading it.

Amazon: The Red Zone (Volume 11)
Amazon Kindle: The Red Zone (Volume 11)
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480156760
ISBN-13: 978-1480156760

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man:
2) Alaska, with Love:
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey:
9) An Ignited Passion:
10) Reflash:
11) The Red Zone

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

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At first I wasn’t sure about the novel, usually cop novels are more gritty, almost dry; this one was light and funny, more like a college frat boys story. Indeed State trooper Ethan Brandt has to go undercover as a college student, and he was picked for the job basically cause he is 24 years old and looking younger, and fit and hot, that is another must if you have to bust a pay-per-view website.

The funny thing is that, the pay-per-view website is basically a reality about straight frat boys living and getting “dirty” together; so Ethan, who is straight, is perfect for the role… isn’t that right? Ethan is straight, right? Mmm, that is, Ethan seems to be a little too much interested in the guys, and while he is at it, also his partner Gabriel Donnelly is starting to become more and more attractive to his eyes, even if both Ethan than Gabriel continue to claim they are straight… perhaps they are trying too much, and the reader doesn’t believe them, like most of the other supporting characters around.

Once I entered the mood of the story, I understood this was more a satire than a mystery/thriller plot; nor Ethan or Gabriel were ever in danger, if not of losing their clothes and falling in love at the same time. Ethan and Gabriel are all around good boys, big bodies and even bigger hearts; there is hesitance in them about embracing their discovery of being in love with another man, but not since they have prejudices, but simply since they haven’t never really considered the possibility. Actually, even if there are only a man to man relationships in the story, I would consider both Ethan than Gabriel bisexual more than gay: they happen to be in love with a man and they decided to follow that pull.

That is basically what I liked of the story, and odd as it sound, what I feel was used too much: not only Ethan and Gabriel, but also Nick and Pete and then Will and Lucas, all of them, while in different circumstances, followed the same path. Nevertheless, I think I would be interested to read their stories, to see if the same path could be developed in different ways.

Amazon: Frat House Troopers
Amazon Kindle: Frat House Troopers
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162380132X
ISBN-13: 978-1623801328

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Hill Valley is like a town without time, like one of those Christmas villages insider a crystal bowl, perfect and beautiful, but tiny and fragile. This was my feeling reading this story, that Zach ended in a fairy tale place, but the story is not a fantasy and maybe these small towns still exist. Place where people care for each other, where the town cop really works for the community.

Ben is that town cop, when he finds 17 years old Zach sleeping on a bench in a cold winter night, he doesn’t think twice to bring the boy at his mother’s home for Christmas Eve, and then for the following week, and then for the rest of his life. They don’t have much in this small town, but what they have, they share. Plus Zach is gay like Ben, and Ben’s mom has never once rejected his son, unlike Zach’s parents who threw him out when it was clear he was not cured from homosexuality despite all the reprogramming therapy, the blows and what it hurt more, the completely lack of love.

Yes, this is a Christmas tale and as such, it’s positive, pink glasses perspective, everything clicking in the right way. This is how a Christmas tale is supposed to be, and so you haven’t to question if that is possible, if it’s realistic… sometime Christmas miracles happen, and if not, well, at least you can read about them.

Zach is cute, Ben is perfect, Ben’s family is even more perfect than him, the villain will disappear without much trouble, almost doing everything by himself, like a magic that with a touch of wand made him just puff away. Just like a miracle.

Amazon: The Christmas Throwaway
Amazon Kindle: The Christmas Throwaway
Publisher     CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Second Edition, new cover, editing changes edition (March 8, 2013)
Language     English
ISBN-10     1482731428
ISBN-13     978-1482731422

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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If I’m not wrong, More is the first book I read by Sloan Parker, long back ago, and so, sincerely, when I started this one, How to Save a Life, I didn’t remember of Walter Simon. It didn’t ring something, but admittedly, I avoid to read reviews and co, and in the blurb there was no connection; I was well into the story when we meet Matthew and Luke and suddenly everything was clear. Also was clear why I was enjoying this so much, indeed I liked a lot More, one of the first ménages a trois that rang true to my ears.

Anyway, I’m not really huge on the Romantic Suspense genre, I prefer my romance to be more about the relationship than some mystery plot, but as soon as I opened the book and entered Kevin and Walter, I was ready to change my position: there is plenty of Kevin and Walter as a couple that you don’t feel at all the mystery plot is stealing them space or spotlight. And then, they are representing a theme I like a lot, the May/December, Kevin is around thirty, Walter is almost fifty; sure Kevin looks younger, and above all, from an experience point of view he is totally naïve, so the age gap seems even broader, especially to Walter. But what is a trouble for Walter is also probably the reason why Kevin is perfect for him: Walter needs a boost of self-confidence, he needs to feel like he is taking care of someone else, because not taking care of someone younger and helpless is at the basis of his disillusion with life. Helping Kevin, and all the other young men who were kidnapped will give Walter his life back. Taking Kevin, will give him the chance to love again.

Kevin on the other hand needs someone older and more experienced than him; a trauma in his past basically blocked his development as a gay guy, so, even if he is thirty, to an experience point of view he is more or less barely legal. Sure, you can think, go with someone who is really barely legal, but well, you cannot learn if you need to teach. So yes, Kevin needs Walter as much as Walter needs Kevin, from this point of view their difference in age is not important.

And while the story can be dark and cruel in some point, it is also sweet: Kevin’s clumsiness, Charlie the dog, Seth’s pink and unicorn’s décor… are all elements sweetening the darkness of the suspense plot.

Amazon Kindle: How to Save a Life (The Haven)
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (January 14, 2013)

Series: The Haven
prequel) More:
1) How to Save a Life

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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What I admired most of this story is how the author managed to mix mystery/thriller with erotic romance, having both side strong in equal measure. When we are not reading about the relationship between Gavin and Ben, the tone is dry and clean, and the plot developed in a smooth way; when the story starts, Gavin is married, and sincerely I wasn’t able to see how the author could make his interest for Ben legit without falling in a cheating husband situation. I will not give out the story, but enough to say that my worries were not only completely dispelled, she also managed to have Gavin out as a winner with flaming colors.

Second strong impression is how all characters have their positive and negative side; sincerely there is no full good or bad people, even the villain had their reason, how much twisted they could be, but nevertheless they were there. Maybe that is the reason why it was not so difficult to understand who he was.

The relationship between Gavin and Ben is a classic of BDSM, so much that you can read this as good example of this type of stories. I may be wrong, but I don’t have the impression that Gavin is gay, or better, he is gay cause he wants to be in a relationship with Ben, who is a man, but more than that, he wants to be with Ben since he is a Dom. Gavin needs a Dom, and it’s easier for a man to find him in another man. Not impossible that, if Gavin found a good Dom in a woman, he was willing to go that way too, Gavin needs more the D/s relationship than the same-sex one. In any case, he feels attraction to Ben also as a man, not only as a Dom, and indeed, even before knowing the other man is a Dom, that attraction is evident. Gavin has an high stress job, with plenty of responsibility, a job he likes and wants to do in the best way, but when he comes home, he wants to be able to give up the control to someone else, he wants someone who gives him structures and rules, the strong support that enables him to let it go. Ben is that one for Gavin.

I’m not really an expert of D/s relationships, but I found this one to be clean cut, with clear basis, clear understanding, and no black zones. Gavin enters in the relationship with a full understanding of what he will have to give and take.

Amazon Kindle: Power Exchange
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press; First Edition edition (September 15, 2012)

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews
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A very nice reverse cinderfella theme, meaning that, the Prince Charming here is the one needing to be rescue by the “peasant”. Gavin Montgomery is the middle son of a very wealthy family; his older brother is already presenting the good boy façade for the society, and his younger sisters are one the rebel and the second the social/political climber… no stereotype remains for Gavin who is basically living in the shadow. Sure he is gay, but in today modern “good” society, that is no more a scandal, above all when his father decided that could be a good promo and became a supporter of Marriage Equality.

And then Gavin meets Jamie, the police rescue diver coming to drag Gavin and his friend Beau out of the river; now don’t think Gavin did some tragic mistake, but truth be told, he was not far from it. Gavin did not have stability in his life, aside from trying to patch together his dismantled family. On the other hand, Jamie doesn’t have a real family, but he is building it with friends, problem is they are all couples, and they would like for him to follow on the same path.

The story is a classic with a touch of sexy, or maybe even a little more than a touch. Both Gavin than Jamie are quite free when coming to sex, and when they are still consider themselves unattached, they are not against the idea of group sex or exhibitionism, of course always considering that they are not doing a wrong to anyone.

The cinderfella theme was always a favorite of mine, and I quite enjoyed this new twist of having the rescued becoming the rescuer. Not that Gavin has to be really rescued, more he needs love, plenty of love, and above all he needs something real, basic, something that money is not able to buy. Jamie has plenty of what Gavin needs, and aside from some initial misunderstanding, Jamie is also able to not judge Gavin from the appearance, to read behind the bored brat to see the simple guy who would like a suburban white fenced house with a back yard and a dog into it.

Amazon Kindle: Bad Attitude (Bad in Baltimore)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (April 23, 2013)

Series: Bad in Baltimore
1) Bad Company
2) Bad Boyfriend
3) Bad Attitude

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Nice and easy romance, went down smoothly like a drink of fresh water in summer; yes, that was the feeling, something good, not exotic, but nevertheless satisfying; Justin is a cop, but just an ordinary one, not an hero, even if, most of the things he does are hero stuff, like saving a school bus full of children, or assisting people injured in a car accident: those acts can make the first page of the local paper, but they are soon forgotten to the bigger audience, but not to whom those acts saved the life.

Anyway, out of work Justin is painfully shy, so much that he was never able to talk to the guy he likes, Rock, the local firefighter, near to him Justin isn’t able to speech a word, giving Rock all the wrong impression. Until the day Justin finds a way to communicate not involving words…

There isn’t really much to say on the plot, but as I said, is not much the story but more the feeling that makes this romance so good; it’s romantic, sweet, sometime even cute. It’s about living in a small community, with the goods and the bads. It’s about two ordinary guys sharing beers and pizzas, and then sharing kisses and sex, more or less with the same easiness.

I have to say, ordinary sometime is good, it’s good to read about the next door guy, it warms your heart and it comforts and cuddles you in a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Amazon Kindle: Heat Under Fire
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (March 26, 2013)

Series: By Fire
1) Redemption by Fire:
2) Strengthened by Fire
3) Burnished by Fire
4) Heat Under Fire

Reading List:
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This is the second book centering on the same characters, Roan McKichan and Dylan, in a series that is at its fourth chapter, so yes, I paused before deciding to directly read this one skipping the others. Sincerely I don’t have the feeling I missed anything in the story, maybe I would have liked to read how Roan and Dylan met, I suppose that is in the previous book, but nevertheless the story plot in this one is complete.

In the blurb the author alerts that Roan is still mourning, and supposedly in love, with his late husband Paris. That is for sure true, but I think that Roan is also angry with Paris (who committed suicide). Not sure if the reason is that Roan wanted to follow Paris, or maybe exactly the opposite, that he doesn’t approve Paris’s choice; or maybe there is even another reason, Roan is worried he will not have the same courage Paris had, when it will be his time. Against, pro, for sure Roan feelings are a boiling pot, and in the middle of that there is Dylan.

Dylan is like a balsam to Roan’s soul; you can think Roan sees Dylan more like someone he has to protect more than a lover, but this feeling will change with the story, more or less at the same time when Dylan will prove he is not those head on the clouds artist type he seems at first. Dylan is way stronger than what you think, and probably this strength is allowed also by his stability, all his living healthy and spiritual seems to do good to him.

This is not the first book I read by this author, but truth be told I didn’t have a strong opinion about her. Now I think she managed a worn theme, the paranormal shifter romance, in something new; true, this is not your classical romance, and the intimate scene between the main characters is not what you will remember of it (in a positive way, meaning that the story is not focused on sex), this is more a psychological urban fantasy than a paranormal romance and I suggest to the more selective reader to give it a shot. Maybe you will be more diligent than me and start with the first book in the series…

Amazon: Infected: Freefall
Amazon Kindle: Infected: Freefall
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722494
ISBN-13: 978-1613722497

Series: Infected
1) Prey
2) Bloodlines
3) Life After Death
4) Freefall

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain

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Romance in full swing. That is probably the entire review in 4 words, but I will add more, don’t worry. Christie (that despite the name and the looks is a man) is the unexpectedly single father of Frankie, unexpected since a) Christie is completely gay and b) he was supposed to be only the biological father, a favour he was doing to his best friend Caro and her partner Liss. But then Caro and Liss died in a car accident and Christie is the father of Frankie, and of course he has to take care of her, doesn’t matter Christie is a career soldier soon to be deployed. He strikes the lottery when he meets State Trooper Robert Lindstrom, that not only is the Norwegian god the name suggests, he is also ready to be part of an already made family and has a lot of relatives ready to give an hand if necessary.

That between Robert and Christie is love and lust at first sight, and Christie doesn’t really need much wooing to allow Robert into his life and above all bed, 2 steaks and a bottle of wine and he was ready to open the door (no pun intended). Truth be told, Christie was probably on a too long dry spell, and Robert is the answer to many prayers, he is the oddity among the gay guys, someone who is not scared by commitment and a toddler.

I liked the full romance mood of the story, I liked the happy ending and I also liked they had some trouble but nothing major they couldn’t face and manage. I think the army setting was good and realistic, maybe I wondered of the chance of an openly gay man like Christie, that apparently is screaming “gay” as soon as you see him, to be a career soldier with apparently no trouble from his fellow soldiers and commanding officers. True the story is set in the period when gay marriage is becoming legal in some of the United States, but still I think the Don’t ask Don’t tell was still strong inside the army. Anyway, as I often said, this is a romance, and if happily ever after are not in the romance, where should they be?

Despite all the romance and pink glasses perspective, and the flaming gay attitude of Charlie, the author didn’t forget she was dealing with two men, something you can clearly see in their interaction, especially that first night, when basically Robert is trying to score from moment one without knowing that Charlie has already decided to let him win; while Charlie can desire a long-term partner, he has also his “needs”, and there is nothing bad in having Robert help with that.

Amazon: The Soldier and the State Trooper
Amazon Kindle: The Soldier and the State Trooper
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (August 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608204022
ISBN-13: 978-1608204021

Reading List:
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This novel is dark and gritty, very hard to digest, and it’s more a cop novel than a romance, and that is probably an advice I’m passing to many readers: if you want something real, something that, even if it’s giving you a romance, it’s not forgetting this is real life you are reading about, than Latin Boyz is the novel. It’s not making no discount, and it’s targeting you heart, for good and bad.

That between Alejandro and Gabriel is love at first sight, but it’s also a modern Romeo and Jules; Alejandro is a cop and he is also from a very influent Latin family, one that is “American” for the last three generation, arrived to America with money and not though an illegal border trespassing. Gabriel is from the wrong side of the city, actually from the other side of the river; a place so far away from your reality that, even if he is living in Los Angeles, he has never seen the Ocean, since he has never once left his neighbourhood.

Gabriel’s uncle is a former criminal, his brother is in prison to life and his mother was killed in a drive-by attack that left his 14 years old sister with a bullet in the head and the mind of a 5 years child. But this is the only world Gabriel knows, he has really no chance to escape, not even if he wants to go straight (no pun intended). And he for sure cannot trust a policeman, since cops have never done anything to help him and people like him.

I’m true, I think Alejandro takes Gabe’s case at heart since he has his own agenda on the boy. True, Alejandro is a different type of cop, someone who really believes in helping people, and for whom career doesn’t mean nothing, he want to stay on the streets since it’s there that he can help. But he was already like that, and until Gabe, he limited himself during his office hours. Now he is like a Guardian Angel, patrolling the places where Gabe and his sisters are, bringing people to help, being there in and out his official role. And he is no playing fair, making friends with Gabe’s sister to be able to reach her brother’s heart. Gabe knows he cannot raise Nattie alone, that he needs help, and with his uncle Tio’s health declining, he will soon need someone.

There is no chance for Gabe to escape once Alejandro starts the crusade to Gabe’s heart, but it was nice to read about him trying, even if, truth be told, he is not putting much resistance in the end.

Amazon: Latin Boyz
Amazon Kindle: Latin Boyz
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Amber Quill Press, LLC (March 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1611249244
ISBN-13: 978-1611249248

Reading List:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
A light historical romp on a Gentleman Thief, the 1930s prototype of a twink and an handsome detective… and no, don’t worry, this is not a ménages a trois.

When Detective Hawk is taking the case about a break-in in an antiquities shop, he doesn’t expect to find love. Hawk is homosexual, but while in the 1920s it was easier to be gay in New York (for reference please read the fabulous Gay New York), in the 1930s people are starting the witch hunt, and so Hawk prefers to take for himself his preferences in bed companions. But when he meets Remington Trueblood, Englishman transplanted in New York and fashionable owner of a tea house, he knows he has met his destiny.

Remi is very young and despite his role as successful businessman, very innocent. He had a bad break-up with an older man, someone who is still holding a place in his heart, and he was not believing possible to fall in love again. But as for Hawk, it’s love at first sight, and the little detail he is on the focus of a thief is not so important like the task to know better Hawk.

Despite Remi’s young age, 23 years old, and being the 1930s (or maybe right since it’s the 1930s and so when you see a chance it’s better not to let it go), Remi and Hawk move very quickly and in the blink of a day they went from strangers to lovers. True there is nothing against them, they are both free, independent and willing, so why should they have to wait? And for what? And if someone is wondering about the chance of two men having an happily ever after in that age, well, I suggest you to read the above mentioned essay, you will be surprise how it seemed easier to be gay and discreet in the 1930s, and being a couple when most people don’t really care what you did in the privacy of your bedroom.

There is really no mystery on the real identity of the Gentleman Thief, and the dangerous adventures are not so dangerous after all; the main focus are Remi and Hawk and their blossoming love. I have the feeling this was only an appetizer for this author, and the idea is to have more and more adventures centered around the antiquities shop.

Amazon Kindle: The Amethyst Cat Caper
Publisher: Torquere Press, Inc. (February 28, 2012)

Reading List:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
Very short and sexy story about yet another Rawlings man, an English family whose men seem to have two characteristic in common: being constable and gay with a penchant for BDSM kinky sex. But this time there is a difference, this Rawlings man, Dane, is petite and almost feminine; only that you have not to mistaken him for weak, he is also a boxing champion. This time the constable is Ross, one of Dane’s cousins colleague and to return the favour to the family he babysits Dane one night when the man is involved in an arson accident. From babysit to dinner to hot sex the time is short and the passion burning brighter and brighter. But with Dane is not possible to have a casual fling, first of all since Ross needs to gain Dane’s trust, and it’s not simple, and second since, once he goes beyond Dane’s barrier, he meets the strong wall that is Dane’s family, with them it’s full commitment or nothing.

To fully appreciate the series it’s probably better to read 2 or 3 of them together.

Amazon Kindle: Handcuffs and Pretty Things (Rawlings Men Series, Book Eight)
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC (June 23, 2011)

Series: A Handcuffs & Lace Tale
1) She's Got Balls by Mia Watts:
2) Handcuffs & Leather by Kim Dare:
3) Handcuffs & Glory Holes by Kim Dare:
4) Handcuffs & Headlocks by Kim Dare:
5) Handcuffs & Trouble:
6) Handcuffs &Spreader Bars by Kim Dare:
7) Handcuffs & Ball Gags
8) Handcuffs & Megabytes
9) Handcuffs & Pretty Things

Reading List:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
It’s not the first time Dorien Grey manages to have me worry for a character who we readers haven’t really met. I think last time was for the missing man of His Name is John, and this time is Victor, the man Dick Hardesty is hired to find. From pieces of info here and there, it comes out the character of a man I wouldn’t have minded to know, and I bet you will be moved almost to tear when you will reach to toy truck point and its sad story. As often in a Dorien Grey’s mystery, the pace is quiet more than hurried, and it’s mostly a thing of Dick meetings and having lunch with a variety of different men, from former lovers, friends, suspects and so on. The net of people around Dick Hardesty is tight and filled like a metro at hit time, and he has an ace for every occasion.

The author also likes to test the memory of the recurrent reader, leaving hint here and there of previous cases, but not in an heavily manner so that, if you haven’t read all the series, you are not bothered by them, on the contrary, are like pretty lace to the rich velvet that is the current story, but if you are a faithful reader of the series, they make you smile like you are meeting again old friends you haven’t seen in years.

As I told in my previous reviews about this series, more than the mystery I like the romance between Dick and Jonathan. They are now officially a family, raising Jonathan’s orphaned nephew, Joshua, and having settled in a ordinary routine. But that is not something tiring and I’m not worried Dick will regret to having a monogamous relationship with Jonathan, since often the author let the reader know that Dick is plenty satisfied by Jonathan in all his needs, and he has no reason to wander around in search of something more or different. Dick is also very taken by his role of Joshua’s co-parent, and even if I seem to remember it was Jonathan who pushed for it, I didn’t feel as Dick is regretting the choice.

The Peripheral Son is a bittersweet mystery, mostly since it seems like the missing man, Victor, comes from a very sad past experience, and doesn’t seem to have to come to terms with it. He seems like a man in stasis, waiting for something to happen, and I don’t feel like, at the end of the story, he managed to reach that “something”.

Amazon: The Peripheral Son: A Dick Hardesty Mystery
Amazon Kindle: The Peripheral Son: A Dick Hardesty Mystery
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Zumaya Boundless (October 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936144107
ISBN-13: 978-1936144105

Series: Dick Hardesty Series
1) The Butcher's Son
2) The 9th Man
3) The Bar Watcher
4) The Hired Man
5) The Good Cop:
6) The Bottle Ghosts
7) The Dirt Peddler
8) The Role Players
9) The Popsicle Tree:
10) The Paper Mirror
11) The Dream Ender
12) The Angel Singers:
13) The Secret Keeper
14) The Peripheral Son

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by April Martinez
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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.

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: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
The second in the Fool’s Odyssey trilogy if for me the better for now; I liked the previous book, but if I remember well the romance was not as much developed as it’s in this one. Andreas and Xavi are now a couple, Xavi went under the transition that made him a vampire, but he has not yet learned the boundaries of this new situation, and of course, as soon as Andreas has to leave him for a few days, he got himself into trouble.

I liked that the author, even if she could have played the drama card, preferred instead to remain more on a love story level. Xavi is like a kid with a dangerous new toy, he wants to try it, despite the warnings; but he is not a bad kid, and when he breaks it, he fears the consequences of his actions.

Xavi and Andreas’s relationship is a mix of Dominant and submissive and top from the bottom; of course Andreas is stronger and more experienced than Xavi, and Xavi likes to play the submissive lover, but Xavi is also a primadonna, he doesn’t like to be left in a corner. He really needs a chaperon, and more than once he has proved to Andreas that he is not ready to be independent, not before he was turned into a vampire and not now. But Xavi has also a generous heart, and I like that he knows that Andreas is good for him.

Andreas is an odd man, apparently not moved by human emotions, but actually he is very good in judging them, and above all he is a good “tutor”; Andreas knows that he has to let Xavi make his own mistakes, only in that way Xavi will grow stronger and come back to him by his own choice and not since Andreas is his only option.

Xavi and Andreas’s relationship is not yet fully matured, the author chose to let it grow during the three books and at this point, we know the completion will be in the last and third book, that at this point, I’m pretty curious to read, above all to see if Xavi will mature, or if he will remain the bratty pretty boy I ended to like.

Series: Fool's Odyssey Trilogy
1) Fool's Errand:
2) Fool's Oath

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
When I started Tomorrow’s Headline, I had the feeling I opened the wrong book. Sure the names were mostly the same, but the story was completely different from the once I imagined reading the blurb. The blurb implied a mystery/thriller/adventure novel, implied, more or less, a romance between suspected murderer Mike Andrews and police detective Alex Barone, and that was good, I was all for this plot, but that was not where the novel seemed to lead. Sure Mike is the main suspect in the murder of Allison, but we also know, since the author is clear on that, that Mike is innocent since he was with his lover Ryan the night of the murder. Sure, one of my thesis was that Ryan was lying to protect Mike, but in any case, Mike’s love interest was all for Ryan, no space for Alex whatsoever. Plus also Ryan seemed a really nice man, very much in love with Mike, so I would have been pissed if in the end, Mike dumped him for someone else.

Aside from my preferences between Ryan and Alex, in any case until more than half the story, Morocco is not in the overview. Until that moment the story was pretty much a trial/lawyers thriller novel, and as I said, while the author was very good in presenting in a positive way both Mike than Ryan, that didn’t exclude the chance Mike was guilty, sure my preference was for him not being, but it could have been a chance. Mike was hiding something, for sure he was hiding his lover to the public, to protect Ryan’s professional career as football player, but even to the reader, who knew about Ryan, it seemed he was still taking back something. For example, his relationship with Allison, didn’t seem so clear, and that was one of the reason why I didn’t cross him out from the possible guilty list.

One second thing that was not clear from the blurb is that Mike and Alex are not the only main characters of this story; from the blurb you got the feeling the story is centered around them and their adventure in Morocco, and instead they are only two of the multiple characters you will find in the story. I, for example, didn’t mind Art and Heath, Mike’s lawyers, but there are also the various police detectives, the prosecutor, some other stuff and then there is Allison. Actually poor Allison, already death at the beginning of the story, is probably the one who will remain a mystery; for various reason the focus of the story will move from finding her killer to trying to clear Mike, and she will “get lost” in the middle of it.

I appreciate that the author, while not losing the feeling of mystery/thriller of the story, devoted some time also to the romance: Mike and Ryan are a very nice couple, very much in love, and they are all for protecting each other, so much to being ready to sacrifice themselves for the well-good of the other.

Amazon: Tomorrow's Headline
Amazon Kindle: Tomorrow's Headline
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 9, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456471392
ISBN-13: 978-1456471392

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
I usually prefer to start a series from the beginning, but in this case my feelings are mixed: I really liked the main character Tim Snow and I’d love to read about him in the previous 3 books, but I have also learned some info on his past that make me reluctant to revisit it. I will not going into specifics since it would spoil who is willing to go back to that 3 books, enough to say that at the beginning of this book, Tim is in a long-term relationship with Nick (they are talking of getting married) and I suppose they met in Russian River Rat (Nick is from up there) and Tim is recovering from an accident that, again, I think was part of the previous book plot.

It’s really easy to like Tim, even if he is a spoiled vain gay boy; he has a wonderful boyfriend, Nick, who took care of him during his recovery, a boyfriend who, when he has to go back for only a week to Russian River, he goes with regret and taking with him Tim’s picture; he is so nice that it seems really impossible that Tim is even considering to betray him. But that is, when Nick goes north, Tim goes south towards California, in search of “distraction”, and sincerely, even if he is not consciously planning to betray Nick, he is open to possibilities. But don’t be scared romantic readers, fate likes too much these two soul mates, and it will intervene in a way that everything will click right.

What I didn’t expect, and was quite appreciated, is that the mystery part of the story is not so front stage, and, on the contrary, it’s almost detached from Tim and Nick. I was expecting for Tim to be yet another of those wanna-be private investigator, always putting their nose into danger; and instead, when Tim finds out about the murdered body someone dumped behind the restaurant where he works as waiter, he is on vacation and has no intention to cut it short for that reason. He comes back not to investigate, actually he has no intention to do so, but to try to mend his relationship with Nick, since, even if Tim is a little spoiled vain brat (and how I like him like that) he is also able to understand what and who is good to him.

Amazon: Snowman (Beach Reading)
Amazon Kindle: Snowman (Beach Reading)
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (June 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590211421
ISBN-13: 978-1590211427

Series: Beach Reading
1) Beach Reading
2) Cold Serial Murder
3) Russian River Rat
4) Snowman

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle


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