It's All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow (male/male contemporary)
Published February 10, 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Summary: Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.
Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon . . . and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.
Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?
My Review: This was so stinkin' adorable! I love the premise of a guy trying to figure out how to be a geek in order to attract a hot comic book store worker. Both Jez and Rhys were so funny and very cute together. There were quite a few moments where I had to stop myself from giggling in public. The main issue I had with this book was that it was so short! It seemed like things were just getting going when it ended. I definitely wanted more! (3 STARS)
The Adorned by John Tristan (male/male fantasy)
Published August 12, 2013 by Carina Press
Summary: My name is Etan, and I am Adorned. A living piece of art, I exist to please the divine rulers of Kered. With nowhere to turn after my father died, I tried my luck in the capital city. Little did I know how quickly I would be robbed, beaten and forced to sell myself into servitude. But I was lucky enough to gain the attention of Roberd Tallisk, an irascible but intriguing tattoo artist who offered to mark me with enchanted ink for the enjoyment of the nobles. I was given a chance to better my station in life, and I could not refuse.
But the divine rulers want not only the art but the body that bears it. In their company I can rise above the dregs of society and experience a life most only dream of, at the cost of suffering their every desire as a pawn in games of lavish intrigue. Their attention is flattering, but I find I'd rather have Tallisk's. Caught between factions, I learn that a revolution is brewing, one that could ruin Kered—and Roberd and myself along with it.
My Review: Beautifully written! I loved the concept of this world with its mix of magic and mythology. Etan was a fabulous narrator that captured my heart early on in his journey. The political intrigue helped keep the story moving along and the love story was slow to develop, but definitely work it in the end. (4 STARS)
Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane (male/male contemporary)
Published December 9, 2013 by Riptide Published
Summary: Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.
Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.
But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.
My Review: A wonderful and thought-provoking m/m romance from one of the best in the genre. I loved the way that Lane showed Rusty and Oliver's relationship develop from friendship to romance in a realistic way. Rusty was such a great narrator and I just wanted to hug him at various points in the story. Oliver was just the perfect counterpart to Rusty's upper class background. Their romance was a great combination of sweet and spicy. There is plenty of drama which is to be expected with a Lane romance, but the holiday theme helped provide balance with the darker parts. Side characters were fabulous especially Oliver's welcoming family (especially his dad), Rusty's sister, and Rusty's roommate, Rex, who I would love to see take center stage in his own story. (4 STARS)
Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino (male/male contemporary)
Published January 14, 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Summary: It isn't true love until someone gets hurt. Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.
Until he meets Ian. Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.
Until he meets Sam. Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?
My Review: I have read quite a few of Tenino's romances and I've enjoyed them, but this one is the best so far! I absolutely loved Sam's character especially his romance novel references. It was so much fun to read about his journey and how he slowly gained back all the self-confidence he lost in his last relationship. Ian took some getting used to especially with his rude response to Sam at the beginning. But, he did make up for it by the end and I really believed that these two could have a great, long-lasting relationship. I definitely look forward to more in this series. (4 STARS)
After the Fall (Tucker Springs #6) by L.A. Witt (male/male contemporary)
Published October 7, 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Summary: After years of saving every penny, Nathan has finally managed to buy the horse of his dreams. He’s looking forward to a summer of exploring the Colorado mountain trails above Tucker Springs with Tsarina. But on their very first ride, a motorcyclist makes a wrong turn, scaring Tsarina into bolting and leaving Nathan with a broken leg, a broken hand, and a ruined summer.
Ryan is a loner and a nomad, content with working odd jobs before moving on to the next town. Feeling guilty for causing the accident that leaves Nathan in two casts, Ryan offers to keep Tsarina exercised until Nathan heals.
Despite their bad start, Nathan and Ryan soon become friends . . . and then much more. But with a couple of nasty breakups in his past, Nathan doesn’t want feelings getting involved—especially knowing that Ryan will never settle down. But since when do feelings ever listen to reason?
My Review: I love this series! The setting is so well-described and it makes me want to venture out to Colorado. I had been intrigued by Nathan since his first appearance and loved how he was developed. And Ryan was just so sweet and surprising in his temperament. I thought they made an adorable couple and it was fun to see them move on from the accident into close friendship. As always, I enjoyed the cameos of other Tucker Springs residents, particularly Owen and Seth. I hope we get more of this series soon! (4 STARS)
The Fall of a Saint by Christine Merrill (historical romance)
Published February 18, 2014 by Harlequin
Summary: The only woman who can make him repent! Honorable—and handsome to boot!—Michael Poole, Duke of St. Aldric, has earned his nickname "The Saint." But the ton would shudder if they knew the truth. Because, thrust into a world of debauchery, this saint has turned sinner!
With the appearance of fallen governess Madeline Cranston—carrying his heir—St. Aldric looks for redemption through a marriage of convenience. But the intriguing Madeline is far from a dutiful duchess, and soon this saint is indulging in the most sinful of thoughts…while his new wife vows to make him pay for his past.
My Review: I wanted to like this book more than I did. I've never read one of Christine Merrill's books and I found her style to be easy to read and fairly enjoyable. But, I was disturbed by the beginning of the book and the fact that the hero may (or may not) have raped the heroine. It definitely appeared that way at first though it seemed like Merrill tried to insure that it didn't happen like that by the end. I was not the biggest fan of Maddie's character and her desire to cause as much havoc as she could in Aldric's life. Aldric was hard for me to figure out since I hated his initial treatment of Maddie in the inn, but his past and overall personality was appealing to me. I'm still confused about what I feel about this book so I'm just going to end it here. (2 STARS)
Why Dukes Say I Do (Wicked Widows #1) by Manda Collins (historical romance)
Published July 30, 2013 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Summary: TRUE LOVE IS OFTEN FOUND...
With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…
WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.
Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?
My Review: This was my first experience with Manda Collins and I enjoyed myself. I liked the unique hero (a duke who wants nothing to do with his title) and the relatable heroine. I did think their relationship moved a little too fast for my taste, but they were a cute couple. The fact that they became friends before lovers was definitely nice to read about. I loved Trevor's little sisters and hope to see them get their own stories in the future. While this was not perfect, I thought it was fun and recommend it for fans of cute historical romance. (3.5 STARS)
Catch a Ghost (Hell or High Water #1) by S.E. Jakes (male/male romantic suspense)
Published September 13, 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Summary: Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.
Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he's determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.
Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.
My Review: I've never read any of S.E. Jakes's books, but I am definitely going to check them out after finishing Catch a Ghost. This was a steamy and suspenseful story with plenty of romance and intrigue. I'm not a huge fan of romantic suspense, but Tom and Prophet were such amazing characters that I was drawn in from the beginning. I am fascinated by both the main characters as well as the side characters of Cillian, Mal, Doc, and Phil.(3.5 STARS)
Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water #2) by S.E. Jakes (male/male romantic suspense)
Published October 28, 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Summary: Soldier of fortune Prophet Drews always worked alone—until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learned the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.
Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet’s been stuck in Tom’s head—and heart—too.
Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is hard enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done.
My Review: Tom and Prophet are such fabulous characters that I was excited to read this sequel to Catch a Ghost. Things ended pretty abruptly for these two in the last book so it was great to see them come together again. I loved the chemistry between them and how easily they understood one another. The mystery subplot was a great balance with the romance and I found myself on the edge of my seat at certain points. Hope we get to see more of Tom and Prophet soon. Plus I saw that we get to learn more about Mal and Cillian next. (3 STARS)