I started this series almost a year ago to introduce new M/M readers to older books that I loved. Most of these books are 2 – 3 years old and you might have missed a few of them, which is why I decided to write another post about some of my favourite M/M books that resonate. I tried to choose stories that were very different from each other to give you a range depending on your taste and I hope you’ll enjoy 2 or 3 of these books. Here are links to the first 4 posts in case you haven’t seen them:
Now on to the current selections:
VGL Male Seeks Same by Rick R. Reed. This was the first book that I read by this author and it was refreshing and very funny. The blurb:
“Poor Ethan Schwartz. It seems like he will never find that special someone. At age 42, he’s still alone, his bed still empty, and his 42-inch HDTV overworked. He’s tried the bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find one another, but for Ethan, it never works out. He wonders if it ever will. Should he get a cat?
But all of that is about to change. At work, Ethan hears about a website that promises to deliver more than just the tawdry hook-ups associated with so many other sites. Ethan wants romance, and although he’s always been a little shy about the whole cyber-dating scene, he figures he has nothing to lose. Well, maybe he does have something to lose: his self-esteem. After he posts his profile, he gets zero responses. But Ethan realizes one thing about the cyberworld that isn’t true in the real one: Online, Ethan can be anyone he wants to be.”
Here’s a short paragraph from my review:
The author, Rick Reed, has a wonderful sense of humour and timing. His characterization of Ethan was superb and consequently I had no difficulty imagining him sitting in his tiny, fussy, bachelor apartment getting mad at all the action he was missing out on. He had a boring job, the gay office receptionist “Bubbles” who was not at all helpful, had no respect for Ethan’s position and gets on his last nerve, sex was non existent and generally life sucked. Then out of the blue comes Brian who just might be his knight in shining armour but there is an emerging problem, a major fly in the ointment, when Brian has flowers delivered to Ethan’s office and he realizes that his cover is about to be blown before anything else gets a chance to be blown.
I loved this book which gave me more than a glimpse of what life is like for a gay forty something bachelor whose bloom is somewhat faded and whose equipment is not getting its share of spit and polish.
The Protector N.L. Gassert’s debut novel is set on Guam and here’s a synopsis of the story:
“Soren Buchanan no longer wishes to work for his father, crime boss James Buchanan, nor does he want to continue his relationship with the dangerous and sexy Jolina Miciano. But Jolina has connections that would make James Buchanan more powerful than he already is. Unwilling to be a pawn in his father’s game, Soren decides to stop seeing Jolina even if it means having to suffer through one of his father’s vicious beatings. Beaten and bruised for his defiance, Soren flees to the FBI for help.
Mason Ward, former US Army Ranger and security specialist, lives a quiet life on a house boat docked off the island of Guam. Despite his lack of companionship, Mason believes he is living the life he’s always wanted. Then a job comes Mason’s way, one that will turn his life upside down: hide Soren Buchanan.”
Part of my review went like this:
The Protector has one of the most unlikely pairings as protagonists. Hero #1 is Soren Buchanan: a spoiled, rich young man who has had everything given to him, hasn’t worked a day in his life, dropped out of school, lives with his abusive father who has his fingers in most major criminal activities in Guam, and his sometime-girlfriend is a criminal. Hero #2 is Mason Ward, who is 10 years older than Soren. Mason is a divorced, ex US Army Ranger, security specialist, who lives on a boat and thinks that his life is heaven on earth, but he has a weakness for redheads and Soren is definitely a redhead.
The romance between Soren and Mason is as delicious as the rest of the book. The thrills were almost non stop and the author only gave us a break when Mason and Soren explored their attraction to each other, which neither of them really wanted but they were drawn like a moth to a flame.
Before I opened this book I thought it would be the usual escapist fare with a couple of adventures that would allow our heroes to show their mettle and then live happily ever after in the Guam sunshine. It was all that and much, much more!
The Protector is available in paperback. The ebook format is here
Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell is probably my favourite book by this author. Joey is one of K.A’s really memorable characters. He’s always on the hunt for the elusive man of his dreams, and while he’s doing so he has adventures of the carnal kind, (or some would call them accidents). This is part of the blurb -
“Paramedic Aaron Chase doesn’t have anything against love. It just comes with a lot of responsibility, like when he had to raise his sister and brothers after their drug-addicted mom took off for good. Now that the last one is off to college, Aaron’s anticipating enjoying life on his own terms. He certainly wasn’t expecting Joey Miller to accidentally drop into his life.
Joey’s sexy, funny and annoyingly optimistic, and his tendency to get into trouble keeps sending him Aaron’s way. Even the fact that Joey works for the hated social work system isn’t reason enough to keep him out of Aaron’s bed. Joey knows all about love. He’s fallen in it ten times—he thinks. It’s not that he can’t tell the difference between sex and love. All that experience has to count for something, right? With Aaron it’s different. Maybe because there’s something to fight for.
This time Joey’s fallen for good. He’s not going to let number eleven get away.”
This book has some serious smoking hot lovemaking but what makes it different and such an incredible read is there’s a compelling story with an intricate plot and complex characters. Collision Course is not a light book. It deals with issues most of us have never experienced and would never wish on anyone. Aaron is from a dysfunctional family and had to be responsible for his siblings at a very early age when tragedy struck. This led to their mistreatment at the hands of the Department of Families and Children and Aaron’s hatred for all social workers. Unfortunately Joey is the face of the DFC.
The writing is exquisite and the story is poignant at times giving us glimpses of a family still in crisis even though most of the members are now adults. The characters were vulnerable and real, and Aaron who tried really hard to be cold and detached was no match for Joey who loved him and wanted his heart in return.
If you haven’t read Collision Course I strongly recommend that you do so.
Captain’s Surrender is Alex Beecroft’s very first book and my first experience reading a story set in the Age of Sail. The blurb outlines very clearly why it would be a bad idea for two men to get involved with each other:
Despite his looks and ambition, Midshipman Joshua Andrews hides urges that, in his world, make him an abomination. Living in fear of exposure, unnecessary risk is something he studiously avoids. Once he sets eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon, though, temptation lures him like the siren call of the sea.
Peter is the darling of the Bermuda garrison, with a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future.
Then the two men are forced to serve on a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew. As the tension aboard the vessel heats up, their unexpected friendship intensifies into a passion neither man can rein in.
In the end they must decide whether love, too, is worth dying for.
Captain’s Surrender opens with a horrific scene in which the Captain of the Nimrod made it clear what would befall anyone who dared to cross him or show any tendencies he considered abhorrent.
“In the masterful telling of this tale Alex Beecroft made me believe that I was actually on the Nimrod riding the waves with those unhappy midshipmen. The sustained beatings for minor misdemeanors may have been brutal but I suppose they were historically accurate for the era and made the story authentic. What really impressed me was the amount of painstaking detail in the book about every aspect of life on board the Nimrod and I found it remarkable that the writer did not shy away from the blood and gore. Alex Beecroft must have done an incredible amount of research to make this book feel as genuine as it did.
Captain’s Surrender changed any biases or notions I might have had about historical romances, particularly those involving men at sea, as I was absolutely captivated and transported to the Age of Sail. The characterizations were very realistic and the author used the minor characters in a way I have seldom seen and they added to the story rather than detracted from it, as at times I was able to see the action through their eyes.”
If you like adventure and historical romances and don’t mind a bit of violence with your romance, this is a not to be missed story. Captain’s Surrender surpasses genre – it is a superb story that would rank up there with any mainstream book, and the story is what drew me in and kept me enthralled until the very last page.
Soul Mates by Jourdan Lane is a series that I absolutely adore. I wrote about Soul Mates when I did a piece about why I love paranormal books and I’ll recap briefly some of what I said about the series, and paranormals in general:
I’m a huge fan of the genre because paranormal beings are limited only by the authors’ imaginations and we’re hardly likely to meet them on the street, which is probably a good thing and a major part of the attraction.
One of the most controversial paranormal series may be Soul Mates by Jourdan Lane. So far there are four books starring vamps, weres, demons, incubi, and half breeds and the author is probably not going to stop there in terms of different beings. :) The latest book, Soul Mates: Secrets, was written in October 2008 and there’s no release date for book 5, Soul Mates: Ascension.
A word of warning. There is no monogamy in this series as everyone is sleeping with someone else in addition to their own partners so if that’s your personal turnoff then Soul Mates is not for you.
When Peter, a human, met Lucien, a vampire, in a bar in Soul Mates: Bound by Blood (which in my opinion is still the best book in this series) his life changed drastically and I haven’t decided whether this change is for the better or worse. This is the blurb for BBB
Houston nightclub Rave is famous for nearly-naked male dancers and beautiful bartenders, like Peter, a young man with a strict rule about one-night stands. He breaks that rule for Lucien, the owner of The Den, a rival gay nightclub where there are no boundaries, no taboos. Anything goes at The Den, including vampires.
When Peter finds out about Lucien’s vampire nature, he figures he should have stuck to his rule, because Lucien pulls him into a dark world of vampires, werewolves and feuding in-laws. No one approves of the human vampire match, and Peter and Lucien have to struggle to stay together. Can they beat the forces that will try to tear them apart forever?
Here’s part of what I said in my review of book 1, Bound By Blood:
Do I say that this book destroyed all my preconceived notions about vampires and other paranormals?
That the author approached this book on a scale I have not experienced before?
That the story is like a wrecking crew that never lets up?
I was totally blown away as the author gives it to the reader with both barrels right between the eyes.
The characters, intricate plots and their execution made me a fan right from the first book and I keep hoping that Jourdan Lane does write Book 5 some time soon.
On a lighter note for a totally fun book I have to go with On Fire by Drew Zachary. This is escapist humour at its best. I bought the book because it was set in Canada then I fell in love with the characters. Here’s the blurb:
Robert and Sam meet at a Canada Day fundraiser for a local firehouse, and man do the sparks fly. Sam is a college kid, only a year over legal. Robert is a studly thirty-something fireman. They come together and make a blaze that’s hard to put out.
There’s a lot of living between nineteen and thirty-something, though, and Sam and Robert find they have a lot to work out. Can they keep fanning the flames of their romance, or will family and friends, and their different places in life, throw a wet blanket over their love?
“It started out as a perfect summer’s day in Victoria, British Columbia where everyone had turned out to celebrate Canada Day. 19 year old Sam who loved men in uniform, was having a great time checking out the firemen’s charity car wash when he saw the incredible 6 and a half ft. fireman whose uniform was totally soaked as he was washing a car – pure Grade A Canadian Beef. Sam immediately decided that he had to meet the fireman of his wet dreams and when he ‘arranged’ a convenient meeting he didn’t waste any time getting Robert into the sack. Robert at 32 felt that Sam was much too young for him but there was no way that he was looking this gift horse in the mouth. What started out as a simple one night stand evolved into something more when Robert calls Sam two months later to invite him out.
The plot centered around their diverse lifestyles and age difference and the family and work conflicts this generated. Robert had to play “catch up” most of the time with Sam who is the typical 19 year old with priorities like school and a father who didn’t approve of their relationship. In addition, Robert’s friends had very little in common with Sam the sex kitten who wasn’t even old enough to drink in a bar. Robert loved Sam and wanted him as his life partner, but can two such different people make it together?
Sam was wonderful – young and bubbly and so likeable that I wanted to take him home. He was a mix between a man slut and a happy puppy but he was quite serious where it counted – his relationship with Robert and his education, but boy did he love sex, which was hot and frequent.”
Although this was a fun book there were many serious moments in this May/December romance and I loved the way Drew Zachary made it seem realistic.
My final recommendation this time is Sean Kennedy’s and Catt Ford’s Dash and Dingo. This book is newer than the others but it’s such a wonderful story that I didn’t want you to miss it. Here’s the blurb:
Stodgy British archivist Henry Percival-Smythe slaves away in the dusty basement of Ealing College in 1934, the only bright spot in his life his obsession with a strange Australian mammal, the thylacine. It has been hunted to the edge of extinction, and Henry would love nothing more than to help the rare creature survive.
Then a human whirlwind spins through his door. Jack “Dingo” Chambers is also on the hunt for the so-called “Tasmanian Tiger,” although his reasons are far more altruistic. Banding together, Dingo and the newly nicknamed Dash travel halfway around the globe in their quest to save the thylacine from becoming a footnote in the pages of biological history.
While they search high and low, traverse the wilds, and fight the deadliest of all creatures—man—Dash and Dingo will face danger and discover another fierce passion within themselves: a desire for each other.
My review, in part, about this book:
The first thing you need to know about Dash and Dingo is that it’s a glorious adventure with a wealth of world building set mainly in a part of the world that most of us don’t know – Tasmania, an island off the coast of Australia.
The contrast between the protagonists could not be more marked when they met for the first time. Dingo is the quintessential adventurer – devil may care, charismatic and sexy as all get out while Henry (Dash) is repressed, dull, and a stick in the mud who has no life outside of his job. Sparks fly between them during their initial exchange, and even though Dash has no idea what to do with Dingo, he is only too happy to escape his old boring life when Dingo proposes that they team up and hitch their stars to each other in the search for Tassie, the thylacine. As they travel to Melbourne, Australia, via Bangkok, Dash falls in lust and in love with his new partner, Dingo.
Dash and Dingo is extremely violent towards the end and if you’re squeamish I’m not sure this book is for you. However, if you love adventure (and this is an old style adventure with thrills and chills in almost every chapter once the initial world building is over) this is a tremendous plot with a lot of complexity and originality.
I hope you enjoy some of these recommendations and please leave a comment on the post if you do get a few of them, to tell me how you liked them (or not).
Till next time.