Tag Archives: M/M Romance

#AuthorInterview – Exile, Haffling Book 2 by @CharlesAtkinsMD #MMROMANCE

OJ He Say! Interviews Author Caleb James

OJ:

You have quite an extensive book portfolio and yet these are the only ones, I believe, that are fantasy books and have M/M romance as a major theme. Fantasy isn’t something I’d necessarily expect from a Yale University faculty member, but here I am inexplicably caught in your masterful storytelling. Can you tell us a bit about this?

CJ:

First, thank you for having me on your blog and for the props. So don’t let the Yale thing derail you. It’s where I did my psychiatric residency, and they’ve allowed me to stay on the volunteer faculty, I suspect because of the amount I publish.
Now let’s talk fantasy. I love this stuff, but I’m aware it’s not for everyone. That’s why I do these books as Caleb James and not as Charles Atkins. My novels as Charles Atkins, with the exception of a wicked parable about doctors and the drug companies entitled, Go To Hell (Argo Navis), don’t veer from reality.
But starting with Haffling (DSP Publications), I wanted to mix things up. In this trilogy I keep one foot in a gritty New York story while the other slips on the banana peel and tumbles into the upside-down world of the Sidhe.

OJ:

Having read Haffling and now Exile, it’s obvious that you’ve done some research on this topic. Is this a new interest or have you always been interested in the fey?

CJ:

I love mythology. It started when I was a child. I devoured Bullfinch’s Mythology, and would prowl my hometown library and area museums for anything and everything. It started with the Greeks and the Romans, spread to the Norse, the Egyptians, the Incas, and hasn’t stopped. In one of my Charles Atkins’ thrillers, Cadaver’s Ball (St. Martin’s Press), which is set firmly in the real world, I dove deep into Amerindian folklore and shamanistic medicine. It’s a trippy read. And in Dark Blood (DSP Publications), a creepy paranormal thriller with a gay protagonist, I used Rom folklore and a bit of the Brother’s Grimm for much of the fantasy element.
So as I thought about worlds that have not been overdone, the fey and Irish folklore seemed a rich and beautiful source to mine. All you have to do is read WB Yeats’ The Stolen Child, and you know you’re going to sob… a lot. Yeats was my inspiration for the general feel of these books, where the music of the prose is more important—to me at least—than perfect grammar. Although I advise aspiring writers to learn the rules before they break them.

OJ:

Haffling pulled more than a mild trigger for me with the schizophrenia, and yet I kept on and was handsomely rewarded for persevering with the story. I’ve heard it say that schizophrenics can tap into alternate universes? Any thoughts?

CJ:

The opening of Haffling sees sixteen-year-old Alex Nevus, his little sister, Alice, and their mother with schizophrenia. He’s a kid thrust into a miserable situation, and he’ll either figure things out or bad stuff will happen to him and Alice. I drew on my experience as a psychiatrist when I painted his world and their life. I’ve spent my career working with people with serious mental illness and substance use problems. I talked with thousands of people who hear voices that others can’t. Schizophrenia, when the science finally figures things out, will likely be a variety of brain anomalies. This is where those of us who don’t have schizophrenia need to take a step back and consider the following: Our brain is the organ through which we perceive reality. If part of that reality includes hearing voices and/or seeing things that others can’t, does that make it less real? You might not hear the clatter in my head, but don’t tell me it doesn’t exist. Which is of course what the medical community does.
As to alternative universes, I haven’t run across any, though I have met people who were convinced that their friends and families had been replaced by aliens or doubles (Capgras Syndrome). To me, psychosis is like listening to a radio tuned to a different station. In the case of Alex’s mother, Marilyn, her madness has a unique origin that factors heavily into the mythology of these books. She was broken by travelling between the human and fey worlds. The price of her passage was her mind.

OJ:

Finn Hulain. Wow! Now there’s a character I can sink my teeth into. Tell us more about him and when can we expect his story.

CJ:

Yes. Well you can’t name a character Finn Hulain in a book using Irish folklore and not suspect that there will be more. Or as my friend and editor Liz commented, it’s like naming a character Clay Golum in a book with Jewish themes—you know he’s going to get all big and Frankensteiny. Just as I pulled Liam Summer, a not-so-likeable character from book one, and cast him as the star in Exile, a book about redemption, Fire Marshal Finn Hulain, gets front stage in book three. Hound will be the third and final in this trilogy. Earlier today I sent the manuscript to the publisher.

OJ:

Where to from here? Any more M/M romance books in our future? Please say yes.

CJ:

I’ve got two books floating around in my head right now. One will feature my two female detectives, Lil and Ada. The last of their outings, Done to Death (Severn House) was a recent finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. The other will be set in the real world, and might be a medical thriller with a gay protagonist. Something cat-and-mouse and similar to Dark Blood, albeit without the Nazi-doctor, heads-in-jars stuff. And yes, the romance line matters. I just happen to like my hearts and flowers with a bit of blood.

OJ

I’d like to thank Caleb James for stopping by and chatting with us. We sincerely look forward to more of his wonderful writing.

CALEB JAMES

Caleb James is a pen name used by psychiatrist and author Charles Atkins, MD for his paranormal fiction. He lives and works in Connecticut, is a member of the Yale volunteer faculty, loves a flea market, gives a lot of workshops (including experiential writer’s trainings), and lives with his partner and too many cats.

Links:

Web site: www.charlesatkins.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/charles.atkins.37
Caleb James Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Caleb-James-536765356387453/
Twitter: @CharlesAtkinsMD
EXILE AT Amazon: Exile
EXILE at Barnes & Noble: Exile
DSP Publication link: Exile

Wes’ Denial, by Joseph Lance Tonlet – A Gay Guy/Straight Girl Co-Review

Gay Guy/Straight Girl Co-Review
Gay Guy/Straight Girl Co-Review

OJ’s Rating: 5 stars
Lisa’s Rating: 5 stars
Lisa’s Review

DISCLAIMER

I was a beta reader for this book and worked closely with the author. My review, however, is my true and honest experience of my feelings and thoughts regarding this story and this author’s writing style. I will always strive to give an honest depiction of my reading experience.

CONTENT NOTIFICATION

This book is a work of fiction that contains explicit erotic content (heavy verbal denigration, orgasm control/denial, forced chastity, etc.), between adult men, and it is intended for mature readers.

BLURB

Wes has spent his life looking for that one special guy who will understand and love him—all of him. From his tender vanilla side, to his darker debauched side.

Throughout high school, his successful career in the Marines, and as a BDSM Dom, he’s remained confident his partner is out there waiting to be found.

However, several events shake his normally unflappable self–assurance.

And, even after he finds Grif, will his past catch up with him and possibly drive his soul mate away?

WES’ DENIAL

OJ’s Thoughts

When I first read Grif’s Toy, the precursor to Wes’ Denial, I was totally blown away and suffered a severe case of book hangover! I needed more. I craved to know what Wes was all about. See, no one is as perfect as Wes was in Grif’s Toy. His incredible self-control and spot on determination bespoke of something deeper, more profound, and ominously dark. I waited patiently, biding my time. Good things come to those of us who wait!

Wes’ Denial is nothing short of a tour de force reading experience. Right from the opening scene the tone is set for one heck of ride.

Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times. The emotional roller coaster is about to begin, and this ride’s a doozy!

Lisa’s Thoughts

**Full Disclosure – I was a beta reader for this book and worked closely with the author. My review is certainly colored by that experience. However these are my true thoughts and impressions.

I’ll assume you’ve read Grif’s Toy and, like me, couldn’t wait for Wes’ story. After all, Wes is strong, honorable, and generous. But you knew, didn’t you? Didn’t you? That there was something else there? Something dark. Something…wrong. This book isn’t Grif’s Toy. That was a sweet, tender love story. This is something entirely different. Be warned, JLT will try to lull you into a sense that everything is perfect, so enjoy that tease because he’s setting you up for gut wrenching denial. Wes’ Denial.
And there will be tears.

THE CHARACTERS

OJ’s Thoughts

Weston ‘Wes’ De Luca:

Wes. What a complex, and yet sincerely honest, man. Since his early adolescence, when he discovered his penchant for being a Dom and, yes, a sadist, he’s been searching for his one, true soul mate.

Wes doesn’t just enjoy, he doesn’t just get off on, he absolutely craves seeing the tears in his sex partners. He loves to inflict that just right amount of pain that will take his sub to that marvelous place where time stands still and you float on nothing but the pure rush of endorphins and the ebb and flow of pain/pleasure, experiencing a continuous orgasm of ever increasing intensity. As a Dom’s Dom he lives for this. And something else. See, Wes has a thing for impact play – his one craving that he’s terrified of.

Wes’ Denial is his story. His efforts to control his craving and his undying love for the soul mate he’s found. Can he keep him? Does he deserve Grif?

Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times.

Marcus ‘Grif’ Griffin:

“You’re always saying how you don’t like the characterizations of a broken sub who is magically fixed by an omnipotent Dom.”

Grif is the epitome of an intelligent, well rounded, well-adjusted man who happens to be a sub. In everyday life Grif is a successful businessman, in the bedroom Grif needs Wes. Not just any man, Grif needs Wes. However, Grif never cuts himself short even though he’s submissive and wants to be taken to those deep, dark, exciting places that Wes can take him to. Grif is a realist that can cut through the BS and hone in on a problem with razor sharp accuracy and then dissect it until he can ascertain a solution. He’s no one’s fool, least of all Wes’.

Sit down, buckle up, shut up, and keep your hands inside your car at all times.

Lisa’s Thoughts

Weston “Wes” De Luca – The solid rock of a man. Pure strength, loyalty, and committed love. Wes isn’t afraid of anything…except showing his fractures.

Marcus “Grif” Griffin – I know you love Grif, but you haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m willing to bet you’ll be wildly surprised by his strength of character.

Additional Characters –
Henrik – stunning
Paul Eaks – scary
Thomas – Dom of Doms
Grif Two – Heh, yeah. You’ll see.

THE STORY

OJ’s Thoughts

“Because that’s the point. We allow things to happen to us. We allow ourselves to do things to other people. And we allow ourselves to be happy or sad about those things. You’ve allowed the past eight weeks—allowed yourself to do things you never thought possible— just like you’ve allowed this thing with Paul and Henrik…”

Paul and Henrik. Yeah. Paul and Henrik. Two pivotal individuals in Wes’ life experience that I cannot get enough of, intense as they may be, and intense they are. I need to warn you right now, these are two incredibly for mature audiences only story lines, the likes of which only an author such as Mr. Tonlet would be able to pull off. Here’s what’s real: I can so relate. Perhaps that’s what I love – they’re so close to reality it frightens me, to a degree.

Wes’ undying love and devotion to Grif is palpable throughout the story, as well his not being this perfect, flawless character. No one is, and that’s the beauty of this story. We get to see it all, warts as well as soaring, euphoric moments. Grif’s individuality and wholeness always remain intact, such an integral part of this love story, and a love story it is. Kudos to you, Mr. Tonlet!

The Epilogue. I love you. I hate you. Thank you for that epilogue. How dare you give us that epilogue! You deserve a flogging for that epilogue. Oh, wait. Never mind. Damn you, man!

Lisa’s Thoughts

Spanning some fifty-five years this is an epic look at not only the full relationship between Wes and Grif, but also of Wes as a young man just discovering what makes him tick. He learns pretty early on that he ticks differently than the other boys, but his natural curiosity and openness allows him to explore and develop relationships fully.

There are three distinct periods in Wes’ life prior to Grif. His pre-military school days. His early military career. And a term of self-education and discovery. Each of these periods are vivid, striking and eye-opening.

As the reader learns about who Wes is, who Wes really is, we also see and understand what is so very special about his most important relationship, Grif. They are the perfect couple, with the perfect life both publically and personally. But something dark is lurking just beneath the surface that could destroy that perfection. Grif feels it. But Wes is in denial.

THE WRITING

OJ’s Thoughts

I honestly must say that Mr. Tonlet is a master storyteller extraordinaire. To be able to take this subject matter through two books and tell each man’s story distinctly, through each one’s specific experience flawlessly? Yeah, good stuff here. Both Wes and Grif come alive, through Mr. Tonlet’s craft, as completely whole, different, individuals with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. This is no small feat.

The cast of supporting characters: Paul, Henrik, Thomas (oh, so wonderful Thomas!), Matthew, Quinn and Gage. I need to fess up: I’m in love with Quinn and Gage! So, so much there that I want to know about.

I seriously cannot recommend Mr. Tonlet’s writing more than what I already have. Every single one of his works I have devoured and desired more of. Go ahead, give yourself a treat, you deserve it.

Lisa’s Thoughts

If you read my review of Grif’s Toy, here, you’ll see that I held back a bit on my praise. The reason for that is because I knew JLT had this book in him. A book that would come from his core. A book that would shatter boundaries.

As I said earlier, JLT begins by lulling you into a sweet, tender romantic view of Grif and Wes’ early relationship, but right from the start there is a thread of darkness. An undercurrent of trouble. He keeps the reader on edge by applying just the right amount of tension, by degrees, at just the right moment.

I think this may be JLT’s signature attribute. Even in his other writing he builds a story in a way that keeps you so connected that you don’t even see the intensity building around you. Bravo, Joseph.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS FOR LISA

1) As a Straight Girl, I need to know your thoughts, feelings, experience regarding Paul and Henrik’s story line? What did you honestly think? It’s gritty and that’s what I want to know about. Too much? Are you OK with this? Feelz!

2) Are there any further writings along this story line you’d like to see? I have my own thoughts about this, FYI.

3) Did Wes deserve Grif’s final decision? Curious here.

4) I don’t want to divulge anything, or give any spoilers, but I’d like to know: Which one was your favorite scene and/or scenes.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OJ

1) Without giving anything away what was your favorite scene?

2) I want to deny it, but do “Eaks'” exist?

3) Again, without giving anything away what did you think of Grif’s resolution?

4) Bonus. Tears?

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank Joseph Lance Tonlet with providing OJ He Say! with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

THE AUTHOR

Joseph Lance Tonlet

JOSEPH LANCE TONLET is a born and raised Southern Californian—with a twenty-year stint of living in the Midwest. He loves the laid-back lifestyle of San Diego and considers himself lucky to live where people dream of vacationing. A lifelong reader of m/m fiction, he began his writing career one night sitting at his MacBook and has never looked back. He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life.
#PleasureThroughDenial

WES’ DENIAL
Published by Joseph Lance Tonlet
Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Lance Tonlet
ISBN: 9781370323111
Edited by Men in Ink
Cover Art by Preston Hultz – http://www.prestonhultz.com

Risk Aware, by Amelia C. Gormley – A Gay Guy/Straight Girl Co-Review

Risk Aware
Risk Aware

OJ’s Rating: 5 Stars
Lisa’s Rating: 4.5 Stars

http://www.attentionisarbitrary.com/2016/08/gayguy-straightgirl-co-review-risk.html

WARNING: Triggers: Extreme Consensual BDSM, Needle Play, Blood Play, Sensory Deprivation, Hemophilia, Intense Consensual Adult Situations, Intravenous Injections, Extremely Coarse Language

BLURB

Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?

Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.

Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust— on both their parts— is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

Risk Aware

OJ’s Thoughts

In all honesty? I don’t even know where to begin with this book. Risk Aware is so unlike anything I’ve ever read before that I have few comparisons to base much on. I mean, writing about a hemophiliac, BDSM sub is challenging and interesting enough, as it is, but to on top of that go where Ms. Gormley went, in such exquisite and tantalizing detail? Yeah, good stuff boys and girls.

As a connoisseur of the more intense, pleasurable adult pursuits, I can tell you this has been exquisitely researched and executed. Some (most?) of the activities described in this book, while real and actual, are not to be taken lightly, or undertaken, without someone knowledgeable and sane to guide you. I bow to you, Ms. Gormley.

Make no mistake about this, guys and gals, this is some heady stuff right here. The amazing part? Dayum! And the research? Exquisite. I don’t give many 5 stars out and Risk Aware is a must for an MM BDSM aficionado. Enjoy.

Lisa’s Thoughts

I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I didn’t want to read this. Being honest here, I have a character flaw and don’t do well with disabilities. Hemophilia terrified me. How could it be something I’d want to read about? Much less, kinky. I’ll tell you how – by being written by a clever genius, that’s how.

THE CHARACTERS

OJ

Geoff Gilchrest:

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what caught my eye about him. He wasn’t gorgeous. Fairly ordinary, in fact. String-bean thin, maybe a little taller than I was. Pale and unmuscled. Dishwater-blond hair. Blue-gray eyes in a face with high cheekbones, a long, protuberant nose, and lips that managed to be both thin and lush looking. Above average, I guess I’d have rated him. But skinny had always been my type.

…once in a while I saw him stare, from under his lashes, at one of the dominants when the guy wasn’t paying attention. The looks he gave them were hungry, full of yearning.

Robin Brady:

Hot, hairy, muscular, successful, blond Robin Brady escapes to Saugatuck to start anew after his ex in New York ruined his career and life by accusing him of domestic violence. As a result of the legal accusations he cleared himself of he has decided that he is going to walk away from the whole Dom/sub thing… sure… until he comes to the leather event at the Dunes resort in Saugatuck and comes up against Geoff. Geoff ticks off every single box for Robin. It’s his sure, steady hand that steers Geoff to everything he’s dreamt about and always felt he couldn’t experience.

Lisa

Geoff Gilchrist

This bratty and broken tattoo artist needs kink. His hemophilia is an issue, but his attitude is what needs an adjustment.

Robin Brady

Wealthy, gorgeous, and on the surface very together, but he’s hiding from his past and denying his true self.

THE STORY

OJ

“It’s about consent, Geoff. Yours and mine. RACK: risk-aware consensual kink. That acronym does actually mean something. If I don’t know all the facts, I can’t give meaningful consent.”

This is an amazing story! Geoff, traumatized by growing up a hemophiliac in the age of Ryan White, when all his school mates thought he was HIV positive and the parents pulled their kids away from him and with an overprotective mother that smothered him, comes face to face with his wants and desires as an adult – he’s a sub. Not just any sub. An intense BDSM sub. For reasons we can surmise, he’s drawn to blood play and needle play and wants a Dom to take him to those wonderful places a sub yearns to go to. Deep, dark, wonderful places.

Robin, the son of wealthy parents who strikes out on his own in New York and is betrayed by his sub, and accused of domestic violence, manages to clear his name. As a result, he decides to start anew in Saugatuck and open his art gallery. As he is inexorably drawn to Geoff he must confront his past and how it is going to affect the relationship he is building with his one true love and as their relationship grows they must confront the realities of day to day life.

This is a powerful, and exquisitely written, statement on our society today.

Lisa

I could get into the trajectory of the story – both of these men are coming from heavy pasts that have molded them into who they are – but trust me that the plotting is perfect here. Even with the false starts and do-overs, this story moves right along and is perfect for this developing relationship. The way the guys work thru their challenges is as encouraging as it is erotic. So good.

But what I want to tell you about is the clever kink! Oh my gosh, each time I thought Robin had no way to satisfy Geoff I was completely surprised by Ms. Gormley’s craft. Surprised and devastatingly satisfied. Whips and chains are lots of fun, but sensory deprivation and mind-fucking are off the charts hot in this book. And there’s one scene in particular that had me flying afterwards. Thank you, Amelia!

Robin’s mastery of Geoff’s particular needs is a thing of creative beauty. Exactly when I thought things would need to back off, Robin just notched up the intensity. And Geoff tests Robin at every turn.

“There’s something phallic about a needle, don’t you think? You’d watch me sliding it into you, knowing there’s no part of you I can’t penetrate. Nothing off-limits. There’s no reason it can’t be part of our play if we want it to be.”

THE WRITING

OJ

Good golly, Miss Molly! Such wonderful, descriptive, detailed writing. I can’t begin to describe how good this is. I felt as if I was there, in the midst of it all. The attention to all pertinent, and superfluous, details makes this story come alive and drew me in. Each BDSM scene, one kinkier, more intense, hotter, than the next, is so well drawn and executed. As someone who’s been there, and other places, is there something you’re not telling us, Ms. Gormley?

I became so totally lost and consumed into this book that it took me a couple of weeks before I could sit down and do it justice in my review. I want more. I want a sequel. Geoff and Robin deserve it.

Lisa

Ms. Gormley does an absolutely brilliant job here. My overwhelming takeaway was with how real this all felt. So often BDSM feels like utter fantasy and not real. But here I was instantly connected. I felt like I was peeking in on a real relationship. Flaws, miscommunication, emotions are all palpable here and made me feel part of rather than apart from the story.

And here’s the thing, Gormley doesn’t rush this at all. We get lots of up’s and down’s, starts and restarts, because that’s what these guys need. It’s how relationships develop. No insta-love here. But believe me, it doesn’t drag, each twist and turn is necessary to solidify this complicated relationship.

Lots of kink, but lots of story too. Perfect combo.

THE THREE QUESTIONS FOR LISA

1) Sequel?
2) I need to know about your thoughts and feelings as you read this. (I know, not a question).
3) Hot? Or not? If so, which scene did you feel was the hottest?

THE THREE QUESTIONS FOR OJ

1) I think from now on I’m going to seek out Clever Kink. Gormley has raised the bar for me. As someone with “experience” did any of this surprise you?

2) Do you still love me even though I have a character flaw? Seems I’m the one with the disability here, Geoff is golden.

3) I had one tiny, tiny issue with this, not worth mentioning in the review, but I was left wondering if Geoff’s tattoo studio was successful. Did that bother you?

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank Amelia C. Gormley and Riptide Publishing with providing OJ He Say! with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

THE AUTHOR

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the fourth grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas— they really should know better by now). She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun.

Risk Aware Copyright © 2016 by Amelia C. Gormley
Cover art: L.C. Chase
Editor: Kate De Groot
Layout: L.C. Chase

ISBN: 978-1-62649-412-1

Riptide Publishing
PO Box 1537
Burnsville, NC 28714
www.riptidepublishing.com

Nate and The New Yorker, by Kevin Klehr

Nate and The New Yorker
Nate and The New Yorker

Rating: 4.5 stars

BLURB

Cameron has it all. He’s rich, lives in Manhattan, and even has a cross-dressing butler. But then he meets Nate, an Australian who’s bitter about love. Cameron is determined to turn this realist into a dreamer by sharing his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows and fabulous parties. And while Nate’s friends see the makings of a fantasy romance, it’s Nate who has to learn that in order to open his heart, he has to face a painful secret.

Nate and The New Yorker

Did a book ever call out to you because of the blurb and then you pick it up and it turns out way different in a strikingly good way? Well, this is what happened to me with Nate and The New Yorker. Talk about an awesome experience!

I read the blurb and I thought: cute, it’ll make some nice, easy summer reading. Well, let me tell you! At first I felt it was kind of slow and then quickly the story kicks into high gear and I literally couldn’t put it down. The twists and turns, the rich characters, the rich food, and the surprise about the surprising ex! Yeah, you really need to read this one. I’ve found a new author to follow.

THE CHARACTERS

Nathan:

Handsome Nathan, who still pines for his ex that he misses dearly, is the down to earth realist and self-sufficient man that captures Cameron’s fancy while on a vacation in Europe with his friends, Lucy and Ben. Nathan has never been able to let go and move beyond Elliot, his ex, who he still sees and talks to. Or does he? As he becomes more and more enamored of Cameron we find the real story within the story.

Cameron:

The culprit stood at the entrance of the restaurant. Shortly cropped dark hair. Rosy lips that curved as if a sculptor had created them by smoothing their surface with the tip of his finger. His stylishly knitted red sweater hung loosely, making his upper body a mystery. And thick black-rimmed glasses that had me picturing him on my couch, reading quietly before I’d slowly pull them off his face, exposing my own superhero.

THE STORY

The story of Cameron and Nathan captivated me. Cameron is the rich scion of a well to do family, never having to work a day in his life, with a sumptuous apartment in Manhattan when he decides to run away for a while and escape to Prague where he meets the handsome Aussie, Nathan, on vacation with his friends Lucy, his boss, and Ben, his co-worker.

As Cameron and Nathan get closer and closer Nathan’s ex, Elliot, pops back into his life. Or does he? Here’s where the story took on the turn I didn’t expect and floored me. The rich backdrop of the secondary characters of Lucy and Ben, and Cameron’s aunt Bev and his butler’s alter ego of Rowena the transvestite, make for a book I fell in love with. I couldn’t put it down. Yes, it was summer reading all right – but was it ever excellent reading! I really recommend this one.

THE WRITING

The writing is what really got to me. This starts out nice and slow, like a good orchestral piece and you’re thinking “nice” and then the other instruments start to chime in, each one at its exact moment in queue, until I was surrounded by a full crescendo of such rich characters, each one developed exactly right for the story, not overdone or lacking in any sense. Crazy Rowena and wild Bev, dedicated Lucy and Ben, and estranged Graham and Tony.

If you’ll notice I haven’t delved into Elliot much, and there’s a reason for that. I’ll leave Elliot for you to explore and to come to your own conclusions. Share them with me, if you will.

This book made me laugh, made me think, and it made me cry with its bittersweet tang, but most of all it really rocks!

Take a bow, Mr. Klehr.

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank Kevin Klehr and Wilde City Press with providing OJ He Say! with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

THE AUTHOR

Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again. The result was Drama Queens with Love Scenes, the first in a series of Afterlife tales.

Kevin is looking forward to thumping the keys on his laptop and churning out stories until it’s time for him to gain firsthand experience of the hereafter.

Nate and the New Yorker © 2016 Kevin Klehr
Published in the US and Australia by Wilde City Press 2016
ISBN: 978-1-925313-72-7
Cover Art © 2016 Wilde City Press

Keep in touch OJ He Say!

In The Middle of Somewhere, by Roan Parrish

In The Middle of Somewhere

Rating: 4.75 stars

BLURB

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in―not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

In The Middle of Somewhere

I kept hearing about this book on line, on Facebook, on Twitter and everyone kept saying the same thing – how great it is, so I decided to check it out and bought a copy. What a smart move that was! Turns out all the chatter about In The Middle of Somewhere doesn’t even begin to give it justice. This is one of those you can’t put down, you stay up late into the night reading and when it’s over? One heck of a book hangover! I want more! This is storytelling at its finest, characters so well developed you feel as if you know them, unexpected developments, one hell of a story twist (sorry, no spoilers!) and toe curling, shiver inducing, steamy, romantic, full of feels hot sex. Yowza!

THE CHARACTERS

Daniel Mulligan:

Handsome, fit, dark, tattooed, snarky Daniel. Son of an Irish Philadelphia family, brought up in the world of car mechanics and garages, youngest of four brothers and the only one to go to college and want a life beyond his blue collar background. Tormented by his brothers as the youngest, and even more tormented when they find out he’s gay, he wants to move on. Add a crushing experience with his first steady boyfriend in college and you get the final varnish on the emotional wall he’s built for himself and his inability to let himself be vulnerable enough to show love.

“You know,” he says, and he sounds a little shy. “You kind of look like you could be one of those old-time Hollywood leading men.” I look up at him, startled. He’s looking at me intently, leaning forward, but his eyes are sad, dark. “You’d be wasted on black and white, though. Your eyes.” He makes a vague gesture toward my face, then turns away.

Rex Vale:

Gentle, intelligent Rex. A towering man shaped and molded by growing up with his mother, a woman unlucky in love, moving from town to town, man to man in order to care for and give her son a decent life. Always shy, Rex is even further molded by a horrible incident in his youth with his first love (no spoilers!) and a deep secret about himself that he’s ashamed to share with anyone. Learning early on that life is cruel and that one way, or another, people will leave him he lives the life or a loner in the pristine forests of Michigan.

He has dark hair and eyes, and a sharp nose. That’s all I can see in the dark. But he is definitely much younger than I assumed. His low voice sounded older, but he looks like he’s in his midthirties. And up close, he is massive, with hugely broad shoulders, powerful arms, and broad hips—how much of that is flesh and how much is flannel remains to be seen. He’s nearly a head taller than me, and I’m not short.

THE STORY

What a great story this turns out to be. Daniel and Rex, such two different men yet so much alike in the walls they’ve built around themselves, unable to trust and love someone for fear of emotional and physical pain. Daniel scarred by his family, his ex-boyfriend and his rough and tumble upbringing in Philadelphia, and Rex. Rex terrified of losing anyone close to him, scarred by his loss of everyone close to him in his youth, he becomes determined to protect anyone the he can even remotely get close to, thus becoming a towering fortress of a man. It’s the interplay between these two characters, and those closest to them, that makes for this absolutely riveting read.

THE WRITING

Holy Cow, Batman! What writing! Such descriptive, smooth flowing, delectable prose is a beautiful thing to find, a true joy. Ms. Parrish weaves this story flawlessly, no hiccups, no having to go back because huh?! All of the characters, every single one of them, even the smallest characters, are so well developed you feel you know them – no nagging questions. Daniel and Rex come alive through Ms. Parrish as does an excellent supporting cast: Ginger, Daniel’s best friend and tattoo artist extraordinaire with her own story line; Will, Rex’s ex-boyfriend and current best friend; Leo, the young gay man that reminds Daniel of himself at a younger age; and a whole host of other characters that make this such a rich, satisfying read. Add in Rex’s deep secret, incredibly, impossibly hot sex and a grand story twist at the end and you have yourself a classic!

THE DISCLAIMER

I purchased my copy of In The Middle of Somewhere because the many positive comments made me curious so I thought it’d be a good personal read, instead I found I absolutely had to review it.

THE AUTHOR

ROAN PARRISH grew up in Michigan and lives in Philadelphia, but is always a few minutes away from deciding to move. A former academic, she’s used to writing things that no one reads. She still loves to geek out about books, movies, TV, and music—now, though, she’s excited to be writing the kind of romantic, angsty stories that she loves to escape into. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, wandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. One time she might or might not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and cheese. But mostly cheese. You can find her on her website or on twitter. Have questions/comments/ pictures of octopi? Want to recommend a strong cheese or express a strong opinion? Drop her a line on e-mail. She’d love to hear from you.

Website: http://www.roanparrish.com
Twitter: @RoanParrish
E-mail: roanparrish@gmail.com

In The Middle of Somewhere, by Roan Parrish
Published by DREAMSPINNER PRESS
5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886 USA
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

In the Middle of Somewhere © 2015 Roan Parrish.
Cover Art © 201AngstyG.
www.angstyg.com

ISBN: 978-1-63476-212-0
Digital ISBN: 978-1-63476-213-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015906026
First Edition July 2015

Man Under Construction, by R.M. Olivia

Man Under Construciton

Rating: 2.5 stars

BLURB

After his father’s sudden death, Dominik has to take over as CEO of Under Construction LLC. His personal life is hardly better. Having caught his long-time lover Léon with another man, Dom’s heart is frozen and he has firmly put all men out of his life.

When the need arises to hire a new construction worker, handsome Ian Colbee joins the team. Dom finds Ian way too distracting and tries to distance himself, but Ian is persistent. In the meantime, Léon’s attempts to gain back Dom’s affection begin to escalate.

Can Ian teach Dominik to lighten up and trust again? Will Léon get the message and go his way quietly?

Man Under Construction

So, here I was minding my own business (yeah, right) and I bump into Man Under Construction. Wow, what a great plot! Especially for me, the son of a civil engineer. I mean, I grew up with construction workers and construction sites. Yeah, I know, rough for a young gayling! So, anyway, here was a story ready made for me, right? I lucked out and got a review copy, here’s what I found: not bad, a good first M/M start and yet not an ‘erotic’ romance.

THE CHARACTERS

Dominik Alrizzo:

Ian put an invisible check mark next to his Imaginary Man Requirements List. Handsome check, dark check, good job quadruple check. …Dominik Alrizzo appeared to be between thirty-five and forty years old. A good age. …Stocky, swarthy, Italian stallion. His boss-to-be’s sex appeal had made him glad to be alive. …His gorgeous face, eyes kind of cold and steely, …

Ian Colbee:

Ian Colbee stood around six-foot-one and two-hundred pounds. Steel tipped boots covered his feet. Startling blue eyes, the color of a glacier, peered out underneath a military-style buzz cut. Climbing ladders, laying bricks, and digging had made a god of a man. And his abs! Dom could go on for days, just staring at this motherfucker.

THE STORY

The story is a great premise. Hot scion of a construction company owner inherits the company upon his father’s sudden, unexpected death. The heir of the company, who has worked hand in hand with his father, comes face to face with his abusive ex-partner, unexpectedly, at his father’s funeral.

As he inherits the construction company, and his father’s extremely capable assistant, Gracie, he realizes that he’s short staffed in order to finish an important construction job they’re in the midst of. In comes the new love interest, the strapping, hot, sexy, younger construction worker.
Hence the fireworks between the new and old boyfriends and the angst the construction company scion must undergo in order to complete his journey.

THE WRITING

Here’s where I experienced the hiccup with the story. The very first thing I noticed was the spelling of the name of Dominik’s (Dom) evil ex. Léon. Léon is a Cuban-Puerto Rican hot mess, so one would expect his name would be spelled in Spanish, as in León. Instead throughout the book the French spelling, Léon, is used. As a Cuban-American who has lived and studied in Spain and Venezuela I just couldn’t get past this. Sorry.

At first reading the writing seemed hop-sketchy and to not flow smoothly. Upon a second reading I did get the thread of the writing, vis-à-vis the story. The point is I shouldn’t have had to re-read it in order to get the flow of the writing. Upon second reading it’s not bad. I wish the characters were more developed, especially Ian. There’s so much potential that I was waiting for from Ian and it never materialized.

The erotic romance quotient didn’t seem to materialize. I waited for a hot, steamy, toe-curling sex scene. Alas, it never came about *sigh*. The potential was so there, especially with a ready-made character like Ian. The possibilities with the evil, ex-boyfriend are limitless for some reminiscing scenes or even, if you want to get really twisted, kinky between the evil ex-boyfriend and the new love interest. Just sayin’.

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank R.M. Olivia and JMS Books, LLC, for supplying me with a copy of Man Under Construction in exchange for my honest review.

THE AUTHOR

R.M. Olivia writes sexy romance. She believes love is for all and doesn’t discriminate in her choice of characters or stories. She is never without a pen and paper in case one of her random characters decides to speak to her. If you dig through her handbag you will find scraps of paper with ideas that may make their way into future stories.

R.M. Olivia is a member of Rainbow Romance Writers’ of the Romance Writers of America. She has been scribbling for a long time and if you look in her many notebooks stuffed inside her drawer, you will find other hidden stories screaming to get out. R.M. Olivia credits Spanish telenovelas and an active imagination for getting her started. When not typing away at the computer, she enjoys snuggling with her cats, shopping on Amazon, or catching up on some reading.

Man Under Construction, by R.M. Olivia
Published by JMS Books, LLC
Visit jms-books.com for more information.
Copyright 2016 R.M. Olivia
ISBN 9781634860758
Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com