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At first I didn't like much the story, Alex was to edged, too harsh, Daniel was too much a punching ball, taking everything Alex was lashing out without apparently back bone. But it's actually those extreme characterization that made the reading interesting. I wanted to see how they were to come together, cause coming together (no pun intended) was obviously the natural outcome. And during their separate paths that had to join somewhere, the characters changed, displaying how Alex was indeed full of insecurity, and how Daniel instead was strong, and able to be the mainstay Alex needed to take back in track his life.

The story isn't really long, and truth be told, I wouldn't have minded a little more background when Alex was doing self-assessment and looking back at his past to correct his present and future. But aside for this, even if in few pages, the plot seemed well developed, the love story between Alex and Daniel slow but steady, even if the attraction was there from moment one, they took their time to bring it to a physical level.

Interesting debut for this author, I'm pretty sure I will read more from her.

Publisher: JMS Books LLC (February 8, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: What You Are

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I think I remember the author posting about the search about the sex surrogate they were doing for this book, or maybe it was about a documentary on the Italian television about a Swiss clinic offering this type of service, in any case, at the time I thought it had to be difficult for the one providing the service to not become emotionally attached to their patients, and indeed, the character of Michael starts his path from the principle he is a very caring person, someone who feels obliged to take care not only with expert and trained hands, but also with an emotional push that, in certain case, can be dangerous cause it borders towards love.

I liked the decision of the author to not have James being one of Michael's patients. James is disabled, on a wheelchair after a bad case of polio when he was still a child, but he has found his own path in the world, albeith a lonely one. James is single, and gay, but he has never had a serious relationship in his life, to the level he is a virgin to sex, if not to feelings. When Michael expresses his interest in James, James is not able to understand how a good looking boy like Michael can be interested in an average man like James. Probably Michael's work allows him to see beyond James's disability, not denying the fact that, in ordinary circumstances, another guy would have taken into consideration the trouble of being in a relationship with James, but to Michael makes no difference. Never once he weighted the odds with the goods, for Michael it was always plain good.

Despite the matter, this novel was always more romance than drama, it was sweet, sexy and very romantic, a joy to read.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 30, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632160153
ISBN-13: 978-1632160157
Amazon: The Mating of Michael (Sex in Seattle Book 3)
Amazon Kindle: The Mating of Michael (Sex in Seattle Book 3)



More Rainbow Awards at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, Rainbow Awards/2014
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I loved Kevin and Cedric's story probably for the same reason someone didn't: it was over the top, it wasn't everyday ordinary life and it was very much like a Cinderfella fairy tale. I haven't read all the books by this author, actually I think I read only one, her first novel, and this one, but both stories dealt with the high life not many of us have the chance to experiment.

True, in Disasterology 101 Kevin is a construction worker, divorced and with three kids, struggling to reach end of the month with only his salary, but on the other end Cedric is so rich one can only start to imagine it. To compensate his lack of money, and to not make the relationship unbalanced, Kevin is indeed the perfect man, attentive, caring, loving, exactly the one who will be able to understand Cedric's needs.

Cedric has a badly case of OCD, and he will never be 100% well, but with the right man beside him, he can have some sort of stability and Kevin is the one who can give him that. Always talking of balancing the characters, I liked that the author didn't make a whimpering queen out of Cedric; it would be easy, giving his psicological weakness, to translate it in physical weakness as well, to have him someone who needed also the body strenght of Kevin other than his psicological support. But Cedric is a strong man, if not for his OCD, he would be probably the one in charge in the relationship, and with his extreme wealth, that wasn't a good recipe for happiness with Kevin. Like this, Kevin and Cedric match, Kevin's stability helps Cedric's OCD, Cedric's strenght, and yes, domineering attitude in bed, matches Kevin's inexperience in gay relationship.

I was also quite invested in supporting characters, would love to read a story about Evan.

Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (July 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608208818
ISBN-13: 978-1608208814
Amazon: Disasterology 101
Amazon Kindle: Disasterology 101



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

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There was something in this book that was "unappealing" and yet somehow "addictive", it was like my mind was saying "hey, do you really like it?" and an inner voice was replying, "yes, I like it, and so what?" and it pushed me to continue reading it.

The theme, prim and proper business man meets rent boy, fall in love and rescue him from the hell is basic and common, something I like indeed, but not something that would cause my addiction to this book; it was more the character of Michael, the business man who isn't actually a business man but a content editor, averagely wealthy, from a trust fund more than from his chosen profession, with a wife and kids at home, maybe the wife isn't really warm to him, but she isn't neither a monster, just probably they aren't in love anymore, if they were ever. Michael searches for that comfort he isn't finding at home in the arms of James, a rent boy who isn't really the good-hearted whore of so many movies and books, but just an average boy from the ghetto, with some trouble and no chance to go out his private hell if someone doesn't help him. At one point, Michael rightly tells James they will never be equal from a social status point of view, not cause James is stupid or not worthy, but simply cause Michael had a born advantage that James didn't have.

Anyway the story is sometime passionate, sometime gritty, sometime even too explic, dark and brooding, and, truth be told, never once light. This wan't a fluffy romance at all, but, as I said, it was somehow addictive.

Paperback: 142 pages
Publisher: Lyonnesse Books (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481151711
ISBN-13: 978-1481151719
Amazon: Something Different
Amazon Kindle: Something Different

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Maybe I'm full of of plots and stories that almost nothing seems to spark my level of interest, but that is not the case with Above All. Even if I was very busy, and sincerely I didn't have many time, these two men and their story was always there, in the back of my mind, asking me to continue reading and knowing what was their happy ending. Cause Above All is a romance, almost sweet sometime, not really about the sex, more about the romance.

Truth be told, while Brian, with his troubled past but clearly good heart is for sure a romantic hero, Jasper for sure isn't; Jasper is actually mean with most people, friends included, and without realizing it, he is mean also with Brian, whom sincerely doesn't need it, on the contrary, he needs to be taken care, to be nurtered, and yes, even pampered a bit.

Sure, Jasper's bad behaviour isn't specifically towards Brian, Jasper is Jasper, he is bad with everyone; it seems Jasper likes to plot vendetta plans, and to realize them. Even if, most of the time, Jasper is the one on the wrong side. And instead Brian, who will have all the rights to plan vendetta, is the first to be willing to forgive, to give without asking, even when he has nothing basically to give.

Anyway, I loved this story, from the main characters, to the supporting, to Barney the cat... everyone was perfect.

Publisher: Manifold Press (May 3, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Above All

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Starting from the assumption that I liked this romance, and that I'd recommend it to my friends, I want to let it out from the beginning the only nagging feeling I had while reading it: the two men in the story are bisexual, and they really wanted to let the reader know it, cause they more than once said it, highlighting how people don't understand the concept of bisexuality, how everyone believes that or you are homosexual or you are heterosexual; now maybe I'm familiar with the Kinsey scale and I didn't feel necessary to affirming it so many time, but truth be told, I also understand the author that probably faced more than once this sort of ghetto for bisexuals, like they are in a limbo people don't recognize.

Anyway, the concept of the story is that Ty and Landon fell in love probably at first sight, but to avoid problematic confrontations with family and friends, they decided it was only a best friendship; they visit each other (one living in Austin, the other in Houston), they watch sport, they crash at each other place when necessary. And meeting after meeting the tension build like a mountain until the night it crashes down, overwhelming both men.

The author hasn't the pink glasses on, and she well know it is not easy for both of them, especially for Ty whose uber-conservative deep bible-belt family will not understand his love for Landon. So after sex, there will be the moment to let the heat cool down and the brain taking some decisions. It will hurt some, it will make happy some other. The eroticism is well balanced with the emotional involvement, tipping the story more towards erotic romance than erotica, even if the sex side of the story is an important and catalyst event.

Publisher: Carina Press (July 29, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Waiting for Ty (Lovers and Friends Book 2)

Series: Lovers and Friends
1) Sharing Hailey
2) Waiting for Ty

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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: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
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: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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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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A nice seasonal romance, Christmas + kid is a sure recipe for success. Bianca "Bee" is the only daughter of a single gay dad; the story is old, Gavin and his best girl friend from high school got together only one time at prom night and Bee was the result of that. It is possible their story was fated to end, maybe like friends, but unfortunately Bee's mother passed away in a car accident, and now Gavin has decided to move to the big city and moreover to a gay friendly condo. There he meets Curtis, one of the few straight neighbors and so, even if Gavin has a big crush on Curtis, they become "only" best friends... but Bee has other plan for this coming Christmas.

While I liked Gavin, a sweet man, very right in the role of dad, actually, it was easy to image him as an househusband, devoted to the home and his daughter while his partner cared for the money side of the relationship, at time I wanted to knock Curtis down. First of all, if you are not gay, why did you let Gavin fall for you, well knowing he has a crush? It was selfish, he wanted the family Gavin and Bee represented, without giving to Gavin the partner he deserved.

Anyway, that was mostly me, Curtis wasn't at all a bad man, actually he was very good with Bee, and also a good friend for Gavin. The story had, of course, a light tone and an obvious happily ever after waiting for the two men. I also enjoyed that, while Bee has a main role in the plot, she wasn't stealing the center stage to the love story between the two men.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 30, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Bianca's Plan

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What is probably the first you notice in Cowboys & Vampires, the first adventure in the Venom Valley series, is the horror: a living dead zombie, a man who is forced to "kill again" the woman he has always considered his mother, the difficult of trying to scind the memories of the good time past and the present horror. Sincerely I'm not a fan of horror stories, so the first instinct should have been to not continue with the reading, but there was something in Josh, an innocence and naivete that was a stark contrast with the horror.

And as soon as Dex enters the scene, I was bought. Josh's secret, the hidden force that linked me to him, was now clear, it was Dex. The boys growing old together, both of them having feeling for each other, both of them not having the courage to say it. But the horrific events, instead of tearing them apart, is the reason to finally come true. The sweetness of their love was the right counterbalance for the horror and the main reason why I wanted to go on and see what happened.

A small warning, Cowboys & Vampires more than a first novel in the series, is a first part of the story, to fully enjoy it you have probably to read it together with the second installment, Stakes and Spurs.

Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC; 2 edition (August 21, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925031462
ISBN-13: 978-1925031461
Amazon: Cowboys & Vampires/Stakes & Spurs
Amazon Kindle: Cowboys & Vampires: Venom Valley Book One

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

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

The novel reads quickly but not for that less intense.

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

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I greatly enjoyed this small town romance, the British flavor was delightful, so different from the more popular US/western romance, and yet, despite the common European background with me, the reader, so particular and original to make it a very interesting and whole reading experience, well beyond the "simple" romance.

Tim is in a precarious situation, downsized and looking for a job, after years of living the high-speed life of the City (London), he is plunged in the sleepy Southampton, no so glamorous like Brighton, not so small like other seaside small town, basically average, like Tim's opinion of his own persona. But there Tim is also far from his previous life, and maybe the constrictions that had him denying his homosexuality. With a new life in front of him, and new opportunities, Tim is also ready to admit his interest in Matt, and why not, trying to do something about it.

The novel is pretty much centered around Tim, Matt is a very nice character, but we have little chance to understand his reasons; maybe this is a reflection of Matt as a character, he is shy and silent, not really the chatty type. He could be more imposing than Tim from a physical perspective, but if I have to tag them, the domineering character is Tim, even if maybe he doesn't realize it. From being almost a wallpaper flower to his older brother, who is everything with an "er" at the end than Tim, Tim has to take the front stage and being there for Matt when Matt needs him. Being strong for him, when he has never been the same for himself.

Of all the character, I love Wolverine the cat, probably cause he was an orange tabby like my own cat, and like him, Wolverine decided Tim, and Tim's home, were his next home, and not viceversa; he found someone, and something he liked, and he decided to take it, home and owner, in one package.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (April 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619210576
ISBN-13: 978-1619210578
Amazon: Hard Tail
Amazon Kindle: Hard Tail



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This is the second time I read a gay romance from an author who is clearly experienced in writing heterosexual romances (this is part of a series, Wicked Play, which is mostly heterosexual aside from one story about a menages a trois), and to my surprise, I found the author managed to express the issue of a gay relationship in a very convincing way. This is probably due to the fact the focus of the story is the romance, and if you are open enough as a writer, and you don't bring yourself in the story, but write the point of view of your characters, it doesn't matter if they are straight, bisexual or gay, that is the strength of a writer.

Rockford "Rock" Fielding is a closed former military man, who is now working in the security field, and in particular at the Den, the BDSM club whose partners are more or less the main characters of the previous stories in the series. While the other stories are centered around the BDSM world, Bonds of Denial is far from it, the only link the way Rock meets Carter Montgomery. Carter is a high-paid escort, who frequents the Den as guest of one of the members. He underwent a background check performed by Rock who is now fascinated by the man, so much he decides to hire him from one night. Rock isn't considering that fascination can lead to love, and that he will be probably forced to finally come out of the closet.

Carter on the other side is almost at the end of his 10 years contract as an escort, and he is maybe considering his options; not that Rock is an easy getaway from is previous life, Carter is sincerely attracted by Rock, but maybe, more than before, Carter is free to consider a relationship as a possibility. It wasn't easy to have a boyfriend while you are an escort, but truth be told, Rock never lets Carter's job to interfere with their romance, if not for worrying about Carter when he is "on the job".

Very nice "hustler" romance, happily ever after and all. Both Carter than Rock's characters were complex enough to have the reader care for them, and I appreciate a lot the author didn't judge them, nor Carter for his work as an escort, or Rock for being still in the closet at 34.

Publisher: Carina Press (February 3, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Bonds of Denial (Wicked Play)

Series: Wicked Play
1) Bonds of Trust
2) Bonds of Need
3) Bonds of Desire
4) Bonds of Hope
5) Bonds of Denial

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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That of Nik and Colin was almost a “known” story from my perception, having read books in this series up and down and around this specific one. I’m actually missing one important piece for this perspective, that of Andrej, one of Nik’s father, and how and when he separated from Vince, cause at the beginning of The Nik of Time they are happy together, and very much in love. I remember I read Vince and Keegan’s story, and I know Andrej found love with Devin, but I haven’t read his story. I think I want to.

Anyway, Nik and Colin’s was a refreshing perspective; they met when Colin was 4 and Nik a newborn baby, and they fell in love, with much amusement of their respective fathers. There is even a familiar connection cause Nik’s surrogate mother is the same of Colin’s sister, so in a way, they are relative, if not blood-ones. But then Nik went through a traumatic experience and he lost all memories of the past, and with them, also Colin. He built a separate life, he had relationships, until the day he meets Colin again, and everything crushes upon him: he knows Colin is the love of his life, the problem is he doesn’t remember him. And Colin, who was waiting for Nik (yes, in every way, also sexual) is upset that Nik instead didn’t.

Even if there was the usual crash-boom-bang of assassins, shifters, Italian an Russian mafia, and some other deadly organization, I mostly enjoy the young and somewhat sweet love of Nik and Colin. My favorite parts were those of them at college, and I wanted more of them with their family. The first part, with them as children, was really nice, very cute and tender.

Series: Assassin/Shifters
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482722925
ISBN-13: 978-1482722925
Amazon: The Nik of Time (Assassin/Shifters)
Amazon Kindle: The Nik of Time (Assassin/Shifters)

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
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: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2788763.html
11) The Red Zone: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2251976.html
12) Irish Wishes: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2319427.html
13) Pleading the Fifth: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2130301.html
14) Betrayed
15) Summer of Awakenings
16) Into the Lyons Den
17) The Nik of Time

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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This one reminded me one of those serial romances I read when I was a teenager, in particular there was a series about people and travels, always visiting exotic locations, like this time, the Fiji Islands, a private island resort, Bendura.

Jordan is a Manhattan shark who inherits half the island from his uncle Blake. Now Blake wasn’t old, actually he was only two years older than Jordan, and the only thing I missed of this story is actually Blake, and that is strange, considering we will never “meet” him, already dead at the beginning of the story. But Blake is really a nice character, and we will feel his loss like he was an old friend.

The other partner in the resort is Ryan, Blake’s old friend and a widower. Like Jordan, Ryan arrived to the island to overcome the loss of a beloved one, his husband, and from what we gathered, Blake asked him to help Jordan overcome his loss as well. Jordan isn’t gay, and yes, maybe he likes to be dominated during sex, but by a woman, Sam, who is also Jordan’s best friend with benefits. And actually, even if he likes to bottom with Ryan, I didn’t read their relationship like a D/s one; basically Jordan likes to give up the power during sex, he finds his release like that, and he is very generous in his giving. Ryan understands that and will treasure the gift.

Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Scarlet Rosebud) (September 28, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1628301295
ISBN-13: 978-1628301298
Amazon: Just Ask
Amazon Kindle: Just Ask

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Even if part of the story takes place under Christmas season, this is not “only” a seasonal romance. Rusty and Oliver, our boys, met during their last year in high school; Rusty’s life is already set ahead of him, he will go to Berkeley, he will become a lawyer and at the right moment he will married a nice girl, possibly from his same neighborhood, and they will have a white fenced house with 2.5 kids. Only that Oliver messes up everything, only being Oliver. Rusty only knows he likes Oliver more than all the other girls he went out with, and when he is at Berkeley, he misses him so much; doesn’t help that college is not really his cup of tea, and on the contrary of many boys his same age, Rusty is not able to fake it just for the thrill to have some years away from home at his parents expenses.

Coming back home to Oliver means that Rusty will have to change all his life, the only life he knows; but Oliver and his family are there to replace everything he is losing, and some more.

Truth be told, even if it wasn’t for sure nice to lose your family at only 18 years old, Rusty is way luckier than many other boys; when he was complaining his home wasn’t good enough to have Oliver over, I was thinking, but you have an home! And it has even more than 1 room, and it is all yours. Here, sincerely, Rusty proved how spoiled he was before meeting Oliver, how he was able to consider everything for given. He is not a bad guy, he has the heart in the right place, but he was raised by the white elite, and they taught him that he was one step above everyone else, especially Oliver, with his mixed cultural origins and his just a touch too brown skin. In a way, I think his parents were more upset that Oliver wasn’t a WASP than the fact he was a boy.

Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (December 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626490872
ISBN-13: 978-1626490871
Amazon: Christmas Kitsch
Amazon Kindle: Christmas Kitsch

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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This was mostly a funny and light seasonal romance, but indeed, it had an unexpected deepness in the characterization, subtle but not stupid. Mick is apparently a college jock, too handsome for his own good, but little by little you see hidden layers within him, the first his decision to leave the frat dorm to be able to really concentrate on his study; Mick was introduced to sex at 14 years old, basically abused by a female family friend: it’s not that Mick considers that an abuse, not until he realizes that now he considers sex with women something detached, something that is not giving him the emotional fulfillment that he needs. The only real emotional attachment he has always had has been with male friends, in particular with his current roommate, Fielding.

Fielding is basically a genius, a child prodigy who has never had the chance to “live”; Mick not only take care of him on a physical level, forcing him to eat healthy and doing some outside door activities, he is also allowing Fielding to go out from his “intellectual” cocoon. The author doesn’t touch this point, but Fielding is maybe afflicted by a light form of autism, to a level that sometime he is detached from reality. Like the time he asks Mick to touch him the art of kissing, without considering gender and sexuality: to Fielding kissing is without gender, cause no different genitalia are involved…

Really, really nice novella, a pleasure to read, especially in a cold winter night, it warms your heart.

Publisher: Eli Easton (November 16, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Blame It On The Mistletoe

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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: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Friends with benefits is a theme I like a lot, I have always found sexy when two “new” lovers know each other so well they have a mutual understanding that usually couples found in years of relationship. It’s quite common when the friends with benefits theme is paired with a gay for you, but here the author played an originality card: it’s not the gay friend who falls in love with the straight one and manages to conquer his best friends, it’s actually the opposite.

Kelly has always been the caretaker of the Sidewinder team, and so when he is injured and the bullet who took him down was directed to Nick, it’s only right that Nick will be the one to take care of him during his convalescence. Nick came out to his teammate one year before, and from that moment on Kelly, the straight one, looked at Nick with different eyes, maybe realizing that the yearning he was feeling sometime wasn’t jealousy for the women Nick was able to have, but cause he wasn’t the one to have Nick. But Nick isn’t interested in Kelly, he is actually in an on and off relationship with another man, and if he ever will consider a relationship, it will probably be with that one. Kelly takes a chance when they are alone in his cabin and asks Nick to kiss him… and that is the starting of everything.

I have only read one previous novel in this series, so I wasn’t familiar with Kelly’s character, but he was cute, not in the meaning of pretty, but more like he wasn’t aware of how much irresistible he was for a man like Nick, who, from what I gather, isn’t used to have to work to fill his bed, but Kelly is different, he is a good friend, a teammate, and he cannot be consider just another notch on the bedpost.

The novel wasn’t long, but I read the author is writing more on these two men, and that is good, cause I really liked them.

Series: A Sidewinder Story
Paperback: 106 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing; first edition (September 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626490562
ISBN-13: 978-1626490567
Amazon: Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story)
Amazon Kindle: Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story)

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Even in heaven there are trouble. After falling in love in Love by the Numbers, for Scott and Jared everything seemed easy and clear, they go to college, they graduate and then they build a family together. Only that living outside the protective shield of their family (at least Scott’s family), is not so easy after all, and they are also really young, truly more teenagers than young adult. Even if they see the truth, and what they should do, they face everything like a teenager would do, with drama, lot of it, and are not able to see the straight path (no pun intended) to the right exit. Actually there is nothing really big against them, nothing they shouldn’t be able to overcome, but at that age it seems an insurmountable mountain.

Even if sometime Jared got to me with his emotional way of approaching everything, there is also to consider he didn’t have a supporting and helping family in the background like Scott did, and so it’s understandable he needs more reassurance than another boy his same age; but while this is clear to an adult, that is not the same to a teenager like Scott, who sees the needy attitude of Jared like something he should let go. Sincerely I sided more with Jared than Scott, even if, as I said, sometime I felt like Jared was just a little bit too emotional. In a way that is even more striking, considering he is the “jock” in contraposition to the “nerd” Scott, and usually the stereotypes are exactly the opposite, strong and careless the jock, attentive and moody the nerd. Another originality in playing with stereotype was the chosen physical aspect for the two of them, with Scott being taller and sturdier than Jared, even if part of the build was in part due to a weight issue Scott had while in high school (on a side note, I found a little too much the times the author highlighted how much weight Scott lost, once was fine, twice was good, more than that was too much).

All in all a nice and somehow ingénue coming of age story, young love and big emotions and all that is around.

Series: Love By the Numbers
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 146117631X
ISBN-13: 978-1461176312
Amazon: Life After Math (Love By the Numbers)
Amazon Kindle: Life After Math (Love By the Numbers)

Series: Love By the Numbers
1) Love By the Numbers: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1354345.html
2) Life After Math

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While reading this book I was often remembered of the Kinsey scale; “The Kinsey scale ranges from 0, for those who would identify themselves as exclusively heterosexual with no experience with or desire for sexual activity with their same sex, to 6, for those who would identify themselves as exclusively homosexual with no experience with or desire for sexual activity with those of the opposite sex, and 1-5 for those who would identify themselves with varying levels of desire for sexual activity with either sex, including "incidental" or "occasional" desire for sexual activity with the same sex.” That is, if someone wondered about the credibility of a character like Cooper, who was heterosexual for all his life until the moment he finds himself in love with his best friend Noah, I suppose it’s not impossible, it simply means that Cooper is somewhere between 2 and 4 of the Kinsey scale. Another conclusion I reached is that, more than likely, if Noah wasn’t taken away from Cooper when they were just teenagers, and they had the chance to grow up together into adults, this development towards love of their relationship would have happened before. Like this, they met again at the brink of thirties, with their sexual experiences as adults done, but there is a but for Cooper, he hasn’t had really the chance to see the world, and there aren’t many gay people around in Blackcreek, or better no many openly gay people. And considering that Cooper likes women too, it was easier for him to develop his heterosexual side.

I did like the slow development of their sexual relationship, and even the bump in it; it’s not like a switch you can click on and off, for Cooper to accept he is attracted by his best friend, a man, is not easy and he needs time to adjust. I also liked that they had some interferences from the outside world, and some obstacles to overcome, but nothing really huge, cause, in the end, the major obstacle was the private one, admitting their feeling, arriving to pact with their own desires, and they really didn’t need anything else. A certain level of angst was good, too much drama would have been futile. This was more a small town sort of novel, it didn’t need a big drama to make it good.

Maybe Cooper isn’t the stereotypical firefighter hero, big, strong and always stony sure in what he does or decides, but he is realistic, a good man, a good civil worker, with safe and strong values, and a positive attitude towards life, despite the drama in his past.

Series: Blackcreek
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1493755544
ISBN-13: 978-1493755547
Amazon: Collide (Blackcreek) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Collide (Blackcreek) (Volume 1)

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This is a typical gay western romance, with its plot developing in the middle of farm animals, Sunday roasts, and bunkhouses. I’m not familiar with that life, but, from what I can gather, the author is, the feeling felt true, cause it wasn’t a dreamlike utopia, but more low income jobs, small town community, that can be good and bad at the same time, and always checking the account books cause the next storm can be your defeat. So the setting was more than good, and I appreciated the choral job the author did with all the characters. Maybe I had some struggling at first in getting familiar with all faces, cause this is a second book in a series, and almost all the characters came from the previous story. But once you manage, the output is to want to go back and read that book.

There was an hint of May/December romance, meaning that Tommy is a very young cowboy and Noah is instead a more or less thirty years old pastor, plus Tommy is totally new to relationship, being gay but never had the chance to “experiment” it, while instead Noah hints to the fact he had at least one important long-term relationship in his past. But again, the author managed to make it playful and not like something really bearing on their love story.

There is maybe too much sex, but that is entirely me, and truth be told, there is an equal balance of plot and sex, so that this is for sure an erotic romance (meaning romance with sex) and not plenty erotica.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613724756
ISBN-13: 978-1613724750
Amazon: Complete Faith
Amazon Kindle: Complete Faith

Series: Morning Report
1) Morning Report
2) Complete Faith

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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 suppose the focus of the story was to have a cute and fun reading about two boys (and yes, they are boys, first year of college, barely legal young men just leaving the nest and spreading their wings for the first time), but if I have to be truth, I was worried for them. They are so young and naïve, playing the game of sex like it was the new console for video game, that I wanted to tell them, be careful, it is serious thing what you are doing. But Adam and Josh are not listening to their mind, yes, in this case you can well say they are being led by their small head (pun intended).

Adam is a virgin, and horny, curious gay boy; when he finds out that his roommate, whom he wasn’t liking much, is gay as well, and with the hidden, and forbidden, desire to be a Dom that well pair with Adam’s submissive nature, the match seems to be made in heaven and not by the College Administration office. But that is the trouble, nor Adam or Josh really knows what BDSM really is, for them is like a game, to play at night instead of watching a movie or using the game console. Or maybe instead of a trouble that is their lucky: they cannot do much in their dorm room, aside from some spanking and role play, and so they never go to a level where pleasure can be discomfort.

I’m not sure they are in love, maybe they can be in the future, but at this time, they are two college students discovering their sexuality and enjoying the process, a lot.

Amazon Kindle: His Roommate's Pleasure
Publisher: Carina Press (July 1, 2013)

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It's always interesting to see how an author deals with a love story involving a character with disability, you can belittle it or overdo. In this case I think the author found the right balance, for most of the novel, she highlighted the obvious fact that Isaac was blind, but that wasn't the reason why Carter fell for him, and at the same time it wasn't neither a reason for Carter to double think his feelings. Actually the only time it felt a little awkward, like the author highlighted in bright yellow a sentence, was when Mark, Carter's best friend, was involved, but in a way I think the author did it to prove that others could feel discomfort, but not Carter.

The love story is really sweet, for half the novel they barely kiss, and that was right considering Carter is claiming to be old fashioned, and for his sex involves commitment, and Isaac is almost a virgin, his only previous experience being with a schoolmate. I had the feeling the author wanted to highlight how the love story was ordinary, almost "average", but not in a negative way, on the contrary, to prove that nothing changes even if Isaac is a blind man. Sure, Carter has to be more careful, but Isaac is not fragile, he has temper, and his moods are actually, part of the trouble Carter is facing when deepening their knowledge.

The cast of supporting characters are good, but of course the more important one is Isaac's dog, Brady. Not to idolize him, or his breed, but he comes out like a well-tempered, good to the bones dog, probably the best match for someone like Isaac. Brady is a silent and unobtrusive pet, but he is the glue between Isaac and Carter.

Amazon: Blind Faith: Blind Faith 1 (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Blind Faith: Blind Faith 1 (Volume 1)
Series: Blind Faith
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (April 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484119002
ISBN-13: 978-1484119006

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There are some romances that are not pretty or cute or pink glasses perspective; they are raw, and intense and a punch in your gut. Amy Lane is able to write the first but also the latter, only that, when she goes for intense, she goes all the way through you and take your heart, and just squeeze that little to make it hurt, but not too much to break it.

Peter loved Bodi, but also Michael loved Bodi, and Michael was Peter’s beloved cousin, the hero of his youth, in everything Michael did, he was better than Peter, and so, Peter thought, also in loving Bodi he was the best. That happened when Michael and Bodi were only boys, and Peter a kid, and then tragedy struck, and Michael left, and Bodi left too. Peter felt betrayal, yes, and even if he still loved Bodi, and Michael, he didn’t search for them. Peter was only sixteen, he was still a kid. Six years later, Peter is maybe a little less angry, and Michael is dead; maybe now is the time to claim Bodi, if Bodi is willing enough, not to love Peter, but to live: loosing Michael can be the final blow to his fragile psyche.

That is the best thing of this novel, Peter, Bodi and Michael aren’t perfect, they have emotions that lead them to make mistakes, some deadly, like Michael enlisting in the military, and some almost, like Bodi becoming addict to heroin. This is not a story where love conquers all, or at least, love doesn’t solve everything just by its existence; sure is that love is an ailment for the heart, and is a powerful feeling that could patch things, but the little cracks between the patched pieces will always hurt a little, even years to come.

Amazon: Mourning Heaven
Amazon Kindle: Mourning Heaven
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613727453
ISBN-13: 978-1613727454



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Cover Art by Paul Richmond

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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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Quite classical vacation fling plot, on this occasion in a winter Paris, always remaining the city of love, what is probably the most interesting thing of all is Jason’s character and is approach to realizing he is in love with a man.

Jason is a successful lawyer in Philadelphia with a beautiful fiancé and bright future planned ahead. But then he comes home one night to find his fiancé in bed with another man and this opens the drawer of doubts in Jason’s head. Profiting of the empty Paris apartment of his sister Rosalie, he decides to take a two months leave of absence. On the first night in Paris, Jason, a jazz lover, enters a club an meets 22 years old Jules.

At this point it arrives what I said is the most interesting aspect of all: Jason isn’t questioning his attraction to Jules, sure he wonders why he is attracted to a man when he was in love with a woman just days before; but Jason’s questions don’t arise from prejudices and sincerely the fact that Jules is a man isn’t really an issue, more troubling is that he is so younger than Jason. Jason had some homosexual experiences in college with a buddy friend, but nothing important and nothing that left him with regrets. Basically Jason is on the middle of the Kinsey scale, being equally attracted by men and women; gender is not an obstacles, problem is the compatibility of the partner.

Anyway, Jason is in a moment in life where an age difference is not something that will prevent him from enjoying the Paris fling, and from fling to love the step is short.

From Jules’s side, this is a typically Cinderfella story: kicked out from home at 16, Jules lived on the street and then thanks to the help of good friends; now he is a struggling artist who would love to be a jazz artist, but probably he was destined to end as waiter. Jason’s connections will help him to find his path, and if that means that their love will also have a component of gratitude, well, that is right, and coherent with the story.

Amazon: Blue Notes
Amazon Kindle: Blue Notes
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722729
ISBN-13: 978-1613722725

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


Cover Art by Anne Cain

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This is a really nice, cute short story. Derrick and Rory are both college students, Derrick a first year engineering student, Rory a second year nurse student. Both of them believe in commitment, they don’t want to play the field, they want a serious relationship and boyfriend and stuffs. Problem is that Derrick is painfully shy, and Rory isn’t able to read him: Rory is the twink, cute and pretty, smaller in body than Derrick and he is used to be approached not viceversa. He likes Derrick, but he is mistakenly waiting for Derrick to do the first move, a move that Derrick will never do, since he is a complete “virgin” to relationship, his only experience a quick fumbling with a school friend when they were still in high school.

Wishful Thinking tells their first night, when basically Rory decides to go over to what he is used to, and ask Derrick out; of course it will be basically a disaster, until they will manage to kiss, and from that moment on everything will be perfect. Doesn’t matter this is Derrick’s first experience, I can easily see these two being together for the rest of their life: they want the same things, they really like each other, they will easily fall in love forever and ever.

Amazon Kindle: Wishful Thinking
Publisher: Pender Mackie; 2 edition (January 7, 2013)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading 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.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3459

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: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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While this author is probably more famous for her simil-regency gay romances, I picked up this contemporary novella because it intrigued me: Craig is a until now straight guy working in a gay go-go bar. From what you can gather, Craig has no prejudices at all, so for him it’s just a job, even if his patrons are gay men, he doesn’t blink twice at that. Craig had also a girlfriend, not really a dream-date one, she was abusive and made Craig’s life an hell; and now don’t start to question how it’s possible that the abused partner in an heterosexual couple is the man, while that is true the majority of cases are of abused women, it’s not the first time I heard of the contrary. Moreover, Craig proved to be a remissive character, someone who is not prone to violence, or even to fight back for his own rights, that is the reason why he has no family to call of and a less than stellar living situation.

Now Craig is single, and with a sexual block, he is not able to feel attraction for another woman, and when he realize the only one who stirs his instincts (yes there is a veiled pun there) is another man, Doug, as I said, there is no prejudice at all in Craig, and so he decides to give it a try. Convenience is that Doug is supposed to move at the end of the month, so Craig can experiment without fearing to end in an awkward situation.

The novella is good, but above all is very sexy; I’m usually one who cares a lot of the sex in a story, but this one was good and enjoyable, basic, nothing out of ordinary, but exciting.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2349

Amazon Kindle: Cherries on Top
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 1, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is a Bittersweet Dreams title, so I knew that a not traditional happy ending was to be expected, plus the blurb was easy to decipher. So I concentrated more on the development of the story than on the ending, and I found myself enjoying very much the relationship of Alen with his mother, so much that, in the end, I was almost in tears.

The life of Alen is not easy or idyllic, but he does everything he has to do since he deeply loves his mother; but Alen has never felt as he belongs to the village he was born or among the people who always looked at him like a strange creature. Maybe that is the reason why he searched for solace in something else, and the only thing he has in his poor life is the fire in the heart of the cottage. Alen more than once convinced himself someone is in it, he saw a face, and that burning eyes were calling him.

That is the reason why, when he is condemned to the pyre, he doesn’t fear it, on the contrary, he sees it like a way to his freedom.

In the end, Burnt Offerings has an happy ending, only that it’s not traditional, the bittersweet is more for Alen’s mother, but she is like all mothers should be, glad for the happiness her son found.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2583

Amazon Kindle: Burnt Offerings
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 25, 2011)

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


Cover Art by Anne Cain

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Scars is a story about a man who needs to learn how to deal with his internal and external scars and of the man who will help him doing so. This is the main focus of the novel and the target is completely achieved, the narration of Jace’s PTSD is good and realistic, with the right dose of emotion without trying to exploit the drama to make them more sensational. As the author says in the preface, she researched a lot and is near people who went through the same attacks, and you can say that from the way she described them.

Lynley Wayne is someone who apparently writes about things she know or experimented, and considering her other book is about a LGBT family, I have the feeling she experienced that is possible to build such family, maybe with some difficulties, but not impossible. Also in Scars there are various developments of the concept of LGBT family: Jace will have the chance to confront his own family with the reality of him being in a relationship with another man, will they accept his partner or not? The love they clearly have for their son will be corrupted by this news? And the same Jace, who had never once considered the possibility to be gay, will be able to accept to be in love with another man? To not give out too much of the story, I will not go further, but there are even more deployments of the concept of family in the story, more or less all of them with a positive insight.

So yes, while the story’s incipit is dramatic, the development is positive, always with a good perspective, always with a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not an easy path for Jace, but Nicholas is near him, leading him through the nightmares, helping, but above all giving him a reason to fight. I liked this side of the story, even if someone else could think it was too positive: as I said, I have the feeling the author experimented that reality is possible, or at the minimum, she strongly believes it possible.

If I have to find something that didn’t ring right to me, it was in Nicholas’s past, a 13 years old runaway that 6 years later is still innocent and naïve; unfortunately, too often we see that in such occurrences, young boys are used and abused, sometime even by the system that should protect them. 6 years on the streets is a long time, and for how much I would like for Nicholas to be able to preserve his innocence, I highly doubted it. But probably the author didn’t want to charge too much drama into the story, and considering Jace had already a lot of burden to go through, she wanted for Nicholas to be a more steady figure, someone who could give love, patience, comfort.

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

Amazon: Scars
Amazon Kindle: Scars
Publisher MLR Press (September 5, 2012)
Language English
ISBN-10 1608207609
ISBN-13 978-1608207602

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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When you open a book that is almost twice the ordinary length and nevertheless start it, knowing you will see the little hour of the night, because you are sure it will be good? That was Sole Support for me. I don’t know what gave me the feeling that this was one of those books you don’t forget, maybe the blurb, a 37 years old virgin falling in love for the first time, yes, maybe that was it, or maybe the stray cat… in any case Sole Support fulfilled my expectations and maybe something more.

I truly love the characters, so ordinary! And yes, I loved they were ordinary people, not some unreachable romance hero. Mike is short, skinny, painfully shy, at 37 years old resembling more Woody Allen than some cute twink; nevertheless, Kellen likes him, at first I think in almost a patronizing way. Kellen is more expert, used to play the field, no strings attached relationships and all. Pushing more 50 than 40, tall and fit, but with the threatening of overweight luring, he is not exactly your dream hero. And now maybe you are understanding what I mean with ordinary people, describing Mike and Kellen with their physical description, doesn’t entice the reader to start the novel, but well, how they look doesn’t really matter. They are good to each other, they are two gay men, single, ready for something serious (even if Kellen doesn’t want to admit it). I could also add to their ordinaries, that Kellen is also unemployed, or better he is self-employed as an editor after he lost his job as salesman in a bookstore. He is a wanna-be mystery author, but like him thousand others. Sure he is good, but more or less on the average. This is not a romance of exploitation, with big revelations, fame and fortune and happily ever after. It’s more warm and comfort, AND happily ever after, but in a very realistic way.

Kellen’s relationship with his mother touched me almost in a painful way, being more or less in the same situation; being the sole support of an aging parent is not easy, and Kellen is as stubborn as his mother. He is ready to sacrifice his personal life, and to an extend also his professional one, or at least to put a stop to it until something will happen (read his mother passing away). But planning and realizing is not the same, and it’s even more difficult when you are basically a social being, not used to cut everyone out of your life.

Truly wonderful story, touching and sweet, but also sexy when it was the right moment.

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/sole-support-p-7416.html

Amazon Kindle: Sole Support
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (June 4, 2013)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Considering the theme of the novel with the known impeding tragedy, I was surprised to find out this novel was almost “cute”, and probably the first clue was on the prologue, with God and Lucifer plotting on how to change the course of Jesus Christ yet another’s reincarnation.

The time is modern day, and Jesus is now an evangelist singer travelling the US along with a troupe of 12 friends and his mother. Jesus’s preferred among them is Judas, the same man who all the others like to hate, especially Mary Magdalene, the “harlot” pop singer who likes to make trouble among them.

Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Thomas, Peter, Matthew, all of them know what is happening, and what will be Jesus’s fate, and they are waiting for the moment when the local protesters will move from words to actions, ending yet another time Jesus’s life, and giving him the chance to sacrifice himself to a better purpose. But this time Judas doesn’t want to play the same plot, he loves Jesus and he wants for him to have the chance to live a long life, possible together with him. On the other hand, innocent Jesus, almost naïve and too tempting for his own good, doesn’t want to give up to Lucifer’s lure, but for once he is wondering if, at least, he cannot enjoy what Judas is offering.

The plot is not really complicated, but the originality is given by the development: each chapter is told by a different player, mainly Jesus and Judas, but also Mary Magdalene, the apostles and Mother Mary, and of course God and Lucifer. There are other characters in the story, but since they are not “aware” of the truth, they don’t have the chance, like others, to tell their version of the story. It’s like a reenactment of the Gospels, indeed the apostles told their own version of the same story, same as they do in this novel.

Considering I’m not a practicing catholic, maybe I’m without preconceptions, and I don’t see much scandal in this retelling of the Jesus’s story. For me it was a good exercise in romancing the myth.

Amazon Kindle: Revelations
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (February 6, 2013)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I did wonder why the author chose to set her story in an alternative world, since, as far as historical details go, this novel is 100% an accurate early XIX century America setting. At first, knowing it was a fantasy, I was expecting for some steampunk element to make its appearance, but nope, the setting remained true to its chosen period. Nevertheless, this is a fantasy/horror romance, and so there are paranormal elements, but the feeling was more of some gothic horror novel of the same period of the chosen setting, like the author wanted to maintain “coherence” even when introducing the paranormal twist.

I liked both characters, they seemed destined from the beginning to become one of those notorious pairs, like Sherlock and Holmes to give you the idea. Professor Percival Whyborne, who knows 13 language and is an expert of Ancient Egypt, but has never left his New England small town of Widdershins, is for sure the perfect epitome of someone who will become the skilled detective; on the other hand ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty would be perfect on the role of the cynic man of world, who has seen too much and too soon, but instead the author managed to make him a brooding character, with shadows in his past, but still able to feel and love, to be tender and to almost vow Percival out of his shell.

Aside from the characters what makes this novel good was also the setting, the fantastical city of Widdershins, perfect gothic setting for the novel, but also alive in a way that made me want to do some research to understand if it was really all from the imagination of the author; it felt so true and well planned that I did wonder if the author took inspiration from an existing New England town.

Just this month, the second installment in the series is out, and I’m sure this will become a favorite appointment with the historical/paranormal romance lovers.

Amazon: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin) (Volume 1)
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482528150
ISBN-13: 978-1482528152

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This novel was submitted to the Rainbow Awards in the Gay Erotic Romance category, and while I completely agree there is a component of eroticism that is well played in the plot, my first impression upon ending the book was that this is more a mainstream novel, and that it could have competed even in the Contemporary General Fiction.

Where There’s Smoke is a political romance, setting is the year before the California governor election, and of course the hidden scandal is that the candidate is gay and in the closet. The common and used plot of having Anthony Hunter, starry eyed campaign manager with an ethic code and strict principle, falling in love with candidate Jesse Cameron and convincing him he can come out of the closet, winning the elections and they can walk hand in hand towards the horizon, is soon destroyed by clever Witt. She makes Hunter older and wiser than Cameron, sure with principles, but in any case his job is to win the campaign; when he finds out that Cameron’s marriage is a fluke, and that his candidate is gay, Hunter is more worried of a possible impeachment, than of misleading the electors. And moreover, the same Hunter is more or less in the closet, not living openly his being gay, not actually denying it but still… so when he discovers that his attraction to the younger Cameron is mutual, Hunter doesn’t worry much that Cameron is married, that his wife is fighting with an eating disorder, and that, above all, if the media find out, the campaign is over.

I liked the interaction between Jesse and his wife Simone; the author didn’t underplay the effect it can have on a wife to find out her husband is gay. Simone is not homophobic, and for that reason she doesn’t hate Jesse, but at the same time it’s not easy for her to admit their marriage is at the end. Maybe if Jesse was destined to remain single, unhappy like her in their fake marriage, she would be more at ease. Simone unfortunately has other issues other than their marriage, and all of them together are destroying her mental stability. She is absolutely a positive character, only that she is fragile. In a way I like her better than Jesse and Anthony.

That is probably the reason why I think this novel was good, that nor Jesse or Anthony were flawless romance heroes, but more realistic men involved in politics, that, as we all know, is far from being the place where to find idealistic heroes.

Amazon: Where There's Smoke
Amazon Kindle: Where There's Smoke
Paperback: 428 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (February 20, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623003016
ISBN-13: 978-1623003012



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I was a little scared to read this story about a virgin 18 years old boy who accepts to film a adult reality with 8 other guys during the summer to pay for tuition costs; I know that adult movie can be fun, but Evan was so young and innocent, and I didn’t want for him to approach sex in that way. So, if you are like me, don’t be worried, I will not spoil the story, but it’s enough to say nothing bad happened to Evan, if not a little of heartache.

When Evan interviews for the job, Bran is the first guy he met; 27 years old and a little jaded from the adult movie industry, Bran is an “old” pro. He approached this world when he was still underage, but he was lucky to meet with a director that basically became a second dad to him, for sure better than the one who kicked him out at 16 years when he came out. Living on the streets since he was 16, the Bran who approached the adult movie wasn’t innocent like Evan. In a way that life saved him. But for Evan is different, and Bran fully understands that. Plus he has this strange possessiveness feeling, once that doesn’t allow him to share Evan.

The story of Bran reminded me a little of the true story of Brent Corrigan, of course not the love story. But I often wondered what could be the future of an adult movie star once they are not more a twink. If they are lucky, they have enough money to start a small business of their own, but is possible for them to find true love? For this author the answer is of course yes, and she played the ace card of sweetness (Sweets is actually the nickname of Evan). She basically gave Bran a totally innocent partner, someone who doesn’t care that Bran is an adult movie star, because, more or less, he doesn’t even know what an adult movie is.

This was the first story I read by this author, and as I said, I was a little scared since usually these types of story are bittersweet, but in the end, this is more sweet than bitter.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3621

Amazon: Keeping Sweets
Amazon Kindle: Keeping Sweets
Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162380406X
ISBN-13: 978-1623804060

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This book surprised me because, well, I was expecting a sexy, and yes, ordinary story, and instead what I got was the more satisfying sweet romance. 38 years old Vince, an Italo-American, trice divorced, is finally ready to admit that something is wrong in his life; like an epiphany, witnessing the love between a same-sex couple, he realizes that maybe those feelings he tried to suppress, are the reason why he is not able to build a permanent relationship with a woman. And when he is ready to see the dating pool with different eyes, he also sees family friend Trey, 25 years old and so cute. Trey is also perfect for Vince to experiment his feelings, because Trey is openly gay but also a virgin, he doesn’t want to “waste” his body with insignificant relationships; Vince is not ready for the physical side of a gay relationship, and Trey wants to date a man without his date expecting him to put out just for a dinner or a movie night.

The authors do play a lot with the stereotypes of the Italo-American community, but they do it with a playful streak. Trey is a “good boy”, with strong family values, and he is a virgin, the most valuable asset for a prospective wife in the old fashioned Italian rules for a perfect marriage. Vince is from a big Italian family, and that means he is never alone, family comes first, especially when considering a future partner: there is no way Vince can renounce to his family to pursue his love; what Vince hasn’t considered is that, family strings are stronger than prejudices.

There is a simile I think the authors are using as input for this story that I kind of agree with: that between the Italian family and the gay community. In both you help each other, without questioning, just for the reason you are part of a whole. You help in good and bad health, when you have money and when you haven’t.

As a side note, I also liked the Chicago’s setting: it’s a city I visited only once in my life, but I remember it quite well, and with few expert touches, the authors managed to make it alive in their novel.

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/family-man-p-7287.html

Amazon Kindle: Family Man
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 12, 2013)

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

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