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Going solo (no pun intended) has to be a trend cause it’s often and often that I read self-published books that are at the same level, if not upper, than other novels published by the more acclaimed Gay Romance publishers. Usually, you have to take in account some problem with the editing, some bad typos, but in this case, maybe I was so enthralled in the story, sincerely I didn’t notice any. And while the plot is, apparently, the usual gay for you theme, there is something more psychological, and in the end, bittersweet in the deployment of the story.

Dylan’s best friend, actually almost a brother, the one with whom he shared his teen years as runaway kid, was gay; and he is now dead, AIDS, as many other young men. Rick, the friend, used to turn tricks on the streets, and that is how Dylan met him; Dylan became friend, brother and protector for Rick, but couldn’t prevent his dying 5 years before, at 25. And now, 5 years later, Rick’s former boyfriend, Noah, the one who shared with him the pain of loss, asks Dylan to help Alec, a doctor who serves in an free-clinic for homeless people. The task is easy, Dylan restores vintage motorbike and Alec wants to buy an Harley; how he ends being Alec’s backup boyfriend to teach a lesson to Alec’s former boyfriend, Tyler, that is not easy. Especially considering that Dylan is not gay… but maybe he is not even straight.

Alec is an activist through and through, not only he gives his time for free at the clinic, he is also a promoter for same-sex marriage, arriving to be a poster boy for it alongside with his boyfriend Tyler; but now Tyler is gone, he is even in another relationship, and Alec feels lost. Little by little, you arrive to realize that Alec’s driving to a life in couple was yet another way to conform to a society that apparently is denying an ordinary life to him and the LGBT community; instead of fighting for the right to be different, Alec is thriving to be the same, and though, accepted.

On the other side Dylan is against every type of commitment, from him owning 15 bikes, so that basically, he isn’t attached to any of them, to not being with the same woman twice. Everyone he loved, eventually he lost, and he has no intention to give it a try. And then he is not gay… but maybe claiming heterosexuality is only another way to not commit? Meaning that, if he isn’t really with someone he can love, than maybe that is the sure way to remain single.

Series: The Boyfriend Chronicles
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: River Jaymes; 1 edition (January 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991280717
ISBN-13: 978-0991280711
Amazon: The Backup Boyfriend: The Boyfriend Chronicles - Book 1
Amazon Kindle: The Backup Boyfriend: The Boyfriend Chronicles - Book 1

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews
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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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There is a serial romance genre called Medical Romance; it was very popular in the ’70 & ’80, usually the story of an handsome doctor falling in love for his collaborator, a young nurse of well-breed but more or less poor like Cinderella. Alternative Treatment takes a spin on this plot, but it doesn’t go so far away: Mark is indeed an handsome doctor, wealthy and young, the perfect bachelor; but on the contrary of the Medical Romance rules, he is not a playboy, he is practically a virgin, scared to come out to his family given the bad experience he witnessed with his own uncle, who killed himself from a broken heart after being rejected from his family upon coming out. And Nolan is indeed a poor, young nurse, but he is not naïve as the rules would suggest; he is basically a “love them and leave them”. Nolan is intrigued by Mark, at first as a challenge, but when Mark doesn’t bite the first bait, Nolan doesn’t insist, letting Mark comes back to him when he is ready.

The author could have played the bad boy falls in love for next door boy card, but instead the novel is more a comfort romance, with some bumps in the road for the two lovebirds, but nothing huge. Basically, after they meet and decide to give it a try, everything that opposes to their happiness is soon overcome with just a little commitment and desire to succeed.

Amazon: Alternative Treatment
Amazon Kindle: Alternative Treatment
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1463656696
ISBN-13: 978-1463656690


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This is a free story on the author’s website, so I strongly recommend you to give it a try, cause, a real novella completely free? What is there not to like? Moreover if you add to it the fact that this is a good start knowing a new author.

I have this imagine in mind of Byron, good-looking, not really a jock, but with enough body built to appear masculine, and then, surprise, he likes to cross-dress, even if cross-dressing is limited to the underwear.

The day Byron finally admits to himself he is gay, is also the day he is kicked out of home by his homophobic father, and is also the day he is almost raped and risks his life in a car accident. And the day when he meets his own personal angel, in the guise of Cobin, the emergency doctor patching him up and offering shelter.

Cobin seems the perfect dream-comes-true prospect boyfriend, if not for the little detail of Nathan (that indeed is not so little), currently Cobin’s best friend, but to everyone, Byron included, is perfectly clear that Cobin and Nathan are destined together, and who is Byron to break that perfect picture? From Nathan’s friends and colleagues to Cobin’s family, everyone is only waiting for the two guys to open their eyes and get together, and Byron decides to play Cupid. Problem is that playing that game most likely means losing his own heart.

The story is nice, maybe a little naïve sometime (what about the accident with a dead man outcome? Is it even possible that police don’t investigate?), but with a lot of potential. With just a little bit at the beginning explaining Byron’s path to admitting he is gay, and a little bit at the end, to tighten the bond of the newfound romance, this could even be a full novel length story.


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One thing that I almost always find in a novel by Drew Zachary is the “easiness” of the characters, they are usually just a little over the average gay men, with ordinary job and a comfortable house in the suburbs. Maybe they are still young, students or just graduate, and the nice home in the suburbs is in their future. They are your neighbour, your brother, your son… and for this reason you can easily plunge in their love story, with a smile on your face, and enjoying their home-made love. But, one other thing that never lacks in a Drew Zachary’s novel is also the sex, nice, good and plenty as the story and as the home-made dishes that the story remembers.

Heart Doctor is also classical, yes, really, it’s the classical Medical Romance, or Nurse/Doctor romance as was known in the ’50 and ’60: basically, since nurses and doctors spend most of their time inside a hospital, it was obvious that the nurse (it was a woman in the ’50) would marry the doctor (it was young and handsome). Now the nurse is the same committed and pretty, but he is a man, Drey. Of Indian origin, he was saved the burn to have traditional parents (his same father was disowned by his family for marrying a non-Indian woman), and so Drey grew up serene and happy, comfortable with his sexuality and satisfied of his work; when he sets his eyes on the new doctor, Brady, there is no way that he will not conquer him.

Brady is new in town and maybe also a bit eager for family; he is ready for that, he has just landed his first important job after long years of studying, he can afford that, and right there is Drey, handsome, friendly, and he cooks too! Drey is perfect in every aspect, and he is also good in playing his cards: Brady is a bit on the conservative side, he doesn’t like the too much forward approach but he is not against the subtle wooing… in few words, Brady is a romantic, and like those doctors in the ’50, he likes to be pursued but the hunter has to have all the right characteristics for a long term relationship. And he has to respect that Brady will not put out at first date!

There is no big drama in the story, the feeling is really of a sweet romance, with the added spicy of the sex (and it’s a curry flavoured spicy). Date after date, night after night, dinner after breakfast after lunch, Drey and Brady will have the time to discover that they are perfect for each other, like two halves of the same apple, and I so much see in their horizon long afternoons spent on an Ikea megastore finding the perfect furniture for their comfortable future home in the suburbs.

Amazon: Heart Doctor

Amazon Kindle: Heart Doctor

Reading List:
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I think I have already said it for the previous long novel by Willa Okati I read, but she is going better book after book. And Call Me in the Morning it’s not only one of the most nice Silver romance I have ever read (meaning for Silver Romance a book where one of the two main character is over 40 years old, and here they are both) but also a Friends with Benefits romance, another theme that I like a lot. In a way, it's also a Gay for You romance, since not Eli or Zane has never considered the option of being with a man, they are not suddenly turned gay, they fell in love with their best friend, and it happens that the best friend is a man.

Eli and Zane, 43 and 41 years old, are the fun of all their friends, they called them “married” since where one goes the other soon follows, and they seem to be latched to the hip. Eli thinks and Zane speaks, Zane asks and Eli answers, always together, always in agreement, they are so perfect together that the reader risks to have a glycaemia overload from sugar. But the strange thing is that, they are not too much, they are really good together and the reader enjoys every moment, the cuddling and the perfect harmony they have, it’s like listening to a beautiful concert.

Eli and Zane, despite their friends’ idea, are not lovers, and probably Eli was not thinking at it even. Divorced and with a lot on his mind other than personal relationships, Eli’s needs are plenty fulfilled by Zane, and they are not physical needs; Eli wants a friends, a shoulder, a sympathetic ear, even a warm embrace, without sex involved. Eli is probably in a rebounding phase, not only from the divorce but also from life: he is a “late” doctor, he entered medicine school late in his life, and doing that, he delayed all his life. On the other hand, Zane was fated to be a doctor since he was able to stay on his own legs; he started everything before his same age fellows, studies, love, work, and now he is ready to face the true: he is in love with Eli, and it’s time that Eli recognizes it.

But Zane chooses the right approach with skittish Eli, he doesn’t force on him his feelings, he, like before, gives Eli a safe place to find shelter. Little by little Eli starts to use Zane as paragon for everything, beauty, friend, work, love… Zane is now all Eli’s world, but after admitting it with himself, Eli has not to find the courage to declare it to the world.

Both characters are really good, even if it’s from Eli’s perspective that we read the story; Eli’s doubts, insecurities, realizations, we live all of them, but there is a thing that Eli never questions, his love for Zane and the love of Zane for him: as friends or lovers, doesn’t matter, the most important thing is that Zane seems to be the only secure point in his life. Loosing him is not an option.

Maybe since this is more a book of feelings than sex, it was very sweet; this is not the first time it happened with a Willa Okati’s book, I noticed that, when the book is for fun, sex is good, plenty and naughty, but when she wants to push on the heart button, sex is more sweet, lazy and warm. Plus there is a very nice light undertone, the awareness that Eli and Zane are able to have fun, and that basically they are plenty enjoying the ride.

Amazon: And Call Me in the Morning

Amazon Kindle: And Call Me in the Morning

Reading List:
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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.

Amazon: Chasing Victory

Amazon Kindle: Chasing Victory

Reading List:
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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.

Amazon: Horizons

Amazon Kindle: Horizons

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is a classical thriller story but with the hand of a woman in the doing, and so it doesn't lack of romantic elements. BUT this doesn't mean that the thriller part is not strong and cold, but it's a neat cold, not bloody and messy like sometime it's if the writer is a man. Sorry, but I'm really convinced that you can recognize the hand of a woman or that of a man, as I'm convinced that there are "limbo" zones where it's almost impossible to distinct. In this case I felt the hand of the woman when the characters got sentimental, when they share their feelings, when their dreams all in all convoy in having a suburb home with a dog in the back garden. Or maybe this is only the ordinary and the thriller author I read in the past lacked in describing it.

Jack is the good guy of the story, probably the only one. He is a surgeon in Baltimore, a divorced man who realized later in his life that he prefers men over women, and he is a so good guy that he managed to get a friendly divorce and rebuilt a life of his own. Now he is quite the workaholic type, even if sometime he indulges in his pleasure. He has not a bad life, and probably with time, he will also improve it, adding the above-mentioned home and dog, and maybe also a partner. But all of this crashed down when Jack witnesses to a murder and he is the only one who can recognize the killers. He is taken into custody waiting for the trial, and relocated in another city... all his life is shattered and he has no hope to regain it.

Enter D, an hit man with a personal code of behavior: he only kills people who deserve it. Since he is the better in the field, he can choose, and what he doesn't want to do he passes on. But this time he can't refuse, he is blackmailed into killing Jack. Only that when D meets Jack, he really isn't able to kill the man, the innocence of the man is clear in his eyes and D is tired to let people die due to an event that isn't their fault. So D turns from enemy to protector, and he appoints himself the only protector of Jack. He kidnaps the man and runs all over the United States with his precious load.

The two men are at the opposite: Jack is open and friendly, without any secret in his past, who he is, is plainly displayed in his face. Jack is not a temperamental man, he is quiet and serene, he is the classical doctor that inspires you trust. Jack is upright and trusting, he doesn't hide his feelings and he is easily hurt since he is so open. But Jack is also unable to hold a grudge and he is the perfect partner for D since he is able to see behind the facade D presents to the world.

D is not cold and aloof as he seems; he doesn't even choose to be who he is, someone else at the beginning of all made that choice for him, and D followed the path it was presented to him. Times ago, D probably had the same dreams of Jack, of an home and a family in some nice places. Then a tragic fate, something he has no guilt of, shattered his world, and D claimed himself an avenger, and in his own particular way, he tries to correct the fate for whom has no guilt. And sometime he kills the one he judges guilty.

Where Jack is gay, and has already made his path out of the closet, D is still in the limbo. He is not actually in denial, since he simply excluded any personal relationship from his life, both with women than men. When he meets Jack, he is more drawn by the innocence of the man than by the man himself. In a way, their relationship is another joke of the destiny, since probably D would have fallen in love of a woman, if she was as innocent as Jack, but since he met Jack, Jack is the object of his love. D becomes Jack's protector, and Jack becomes all D's world, from not feeling anything, D passes to feel even to much, and all his love is poured on Jack.

As I said there is a lot of emotion flowing throughout the novel, and also some very nice sex scenes, but there is also a good level of tension, and the novel is also very long, and so we have also the chance to reach an apex, slowly come down, and suddenly reach another apex, all the time with some new details and events that maintain a fastpacing rhythm.

Amazon Kindle: Zero at the Bone

Amazon: Zero at the Bone

Jane Seville's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Paul Richmond


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