Saturday, September 8, 2012

Complete Faith, by Sue Brown

Complete Faith (Morning Report #2)
by Sue Brown
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Word count: 71,000


For Tommy Bradley, a hand working on the Lost Cow Ranch in rural Texas, admitting his sexuality is impossible, even if his bosses, Luke and Simon, are gay—Tommy has spent his entire life hiding the truth from his homophobic parents. Then Tommy meets pastor Noah Taylor in Luke’s father’s hospital room, and his difficult secret becomes that much harder to keep.

Noah is unlike any man of God—or any man—Tommy’s ever met. For one thing, his congregation is made up primarily of GLBT individuals and their families. For another, he isn’t afraid of the attraction he feels toward Tommy, and he makes his intentions very clear. But Noah won’t hide his sexuality or his love from the world, and he won’t start a relationship with Tommy while Tommy hides his, either. Faced with the choice of losing Noah or coming out to his parents, Tommy takes his first steps out of the closet.

But Tommy isn’t the only one facing challenges. Thanks to an outpouring of hatred from Pastor Jackson and a group of ranch owners, Noah must cope with the possible loss of his church and his livelihood.


First, this is the second book in a series. I haven’t read the first (Morning Report), so do yourself a favour and read the first before reading this. I’m sure that I would have become more invested in the characters if I had. There were many things that were obviously put in for those who’d read the first book that I didn’t find necessary to the plot. For example, the big scene toward the end where there’s rain and a cowboy goes missing (don’t want a spoiler here). That whole event was pretty pointless to Tommy and Noah’s story. It didn’t even have anything to do with them and everything to do with the characters from the first book. The event was exciting after the previous pages, but the result of the event was anticlimactic. The author could have used the event better and made it more about Tommy and Noah. Tommy wasn’t even in the party that found the missing cowboy. I probably wouldn’t have minded if I’d read the first book, but I hadn’t.

There were other things that rubbed me the wrong way. Like Tommy’s closet issues. He accuses Noah of blackmailing him to come out. Noah says that maybe he is. I say that he definitely is! I understand that Noah wouldn’t want to be kept in a closet next to Tommy after having come out, but the way he went about things and the things he said just didn’t do it for me. I felt he had no compassion for Tommy’s struggle. I was rooting for Tommy to turn on his heel and just walk away. But that would have ended the story at 12%.

The prose in the book is very good. Sue Brown can write, that’s for sure. However, the book is slowly paced, especially at the beginning. It was too easy to put down. Again, this is probably not a problem for those who have read the first book as they’re getting re-acquainted with the farm, characters, and situations. As a standalone, things started looking up at 30% and even more at 40%. Finally at 50% the story was really good and stayed that way from then on.

I loved Tommy. I wasn’t as fond of Noah, but that initial blackmail thing had me on guard toward him. There was some character development for both characters, but nothing major. Tommy had a decent voice in the story and it was persistent throughout the book.

All in all, a good romance. Good for a rainy day, curled up in the sofa with a cup of tea. I think that the first story is probably better, more exciting, but this wasn’t bad. It wasn’t fantastic either. It just...was.

Writing/Voice: 5/4
Characters/Development: 4/3
Plot/Pace: 3/3
Heat: 3
Stars: 3.5

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Real Boys Kiss Boys, by Joe Filippone

Real Boys Kiss Boys
by Joe Filippone
Word count: 30, 265


It's a brand new school year and Mitch is not looking forward to it. He has also felt like an outcast in his small town, never fitting in and never having any friends. But suddenly that all changes when Luka, the new boy from California transfers to his school. For the first time Mitch has a best friend and is truly happy but he soon finds out that things are not always what they seem and life can be pretty complicated when you're in high school.


I know I should have listened to the internal voice telling me to stop reading, but I kept thinking that the book would get better. This is the last time I let myself buy a book based on a captivating title.

I try to be fair in my reviews. I look at many factors while I read: voice, writing, pacing, characters, story idea, overall enjoyment etc. I simply cannot find a way to justify more than one star for this book. The writing was...poetic. Poetic (or literary) is fine, however, this is supposed to be a YA book and the language was way too advanced to come out of the heads of the young characters in the book. There’s also no voice in the story, it feels like what it is: written for teens by an adult. Take this for example. The two boys were hauled into the office by the principal for “being gay” at school. The principal starts talking:

“You don’t love him. Teenagers can’t be in love. You don’t know what love is. You’re too young. This is just a fad. Something you’re doing because some movie actor or singer said it’s cool to be gay. Well, let me tell you, son, it’s not.”

That’s right, it’s just ticked off the fingers like that. Here’s Luka’s answer:

“Who are you to say who can be in love and who can’t? Who are you to say what’s right or wrong? Or tell us how we feel? I love Mitch. I do. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t express my love to him.”

That’s not a teenager talking to an adult, that’s the author preaching a message to the reader.

I also found big, BIG faults with how the story was executed. The PoV character is short and scrawny. He’s always been ashamed of his body, but suddenly he stops in front of the mirror and thinks:

“Wait, I thought, what do I have to be embarrassed about? Why should I feel ashamed? My body isn’t ugly. My body is beautiful.”

Just like that! There were many spontaneous mature revelations in the book. They just didn’t feel plausible for a 17 year old. In fact, the whole book felt like a lecture on how wrong homophobia is (I agree, it’s very wrong, but there are ways to show it in a book and there are ways to lecture it).

While we’re on the subject of homophobia, I have to wonder when this book is supposed to take place (today, I presume, since the media's saying that it's "cool to be gay"). Every single person the two MC’s encounter is homophobic, except for one teacher (who can’t help them at all or give any guidance). We’re talking kids at school, parents, and the principal. Not a single person beside that one teacher was supportive. Okay, I live in northern Europe where things are pretty open, but come on, is it really that bad in America today that every single person forsakes basic civil rights? The principal claims that the media says it's “cool to be gay”, but still every single teenager at school sneers at the couple? I’ve seen news about American school policies going against LGBT rights, but that seems to be something that gets into the papers and they often have to change their policy because of pressure. The worst thing is that none of the homophobic people in the story have to deal with the consequences of their behaviour (which is what characters in a book should have to do). No, I do not consider the “revenge” in the book a good enough punishment - the police should have been involved.

There’s homophobic bashing in this book. What I can’t wrap my head around is that after that much abuse, why the MC didn’t get taken to the emergency room. Why wasn’t the police involved? Don’t give me crap about the MC being too embarrassed for being beaten up. You get beaten up badly like that, you go to the police (but, deducting from everyone else in the story, the police would probably have been homophobic too and brushed it aside). Why didn’t that one supportive teacher at school see the horribly mangled face of the MC and ask about it? The MC was also able to shrug the whole thing off very easily. Not scared of shadows, not scared of going back to school and face his attackers, not scared of going out after dark on dates. No thoughts back to the night or jitters when someone rings the doorbell. Nothing. Sorry, I just don’t buy that. That’s not plausible reaction after such an attack.

I didn’t empathise with the characters, even though they went through horrible injustice. I think it’s the lack of showing in the story. We’re "told" everything - in weepy ways, might I add - and I never felt the feelings through the writing. There were what should have been heartfelt moments, but the feelings just didn’t come through because I was told how the character was feeling, not shown it.

Pacing? Sure, the pacing was fast, but the book felt choppy, cutting from one scene to the next and sometimes those sections were half a page with leaps in time in between. I had trouble keeping up with the timeline.

I was curious to see how the hell the author was going to end the story...but found that there was no ending. Well there was, but it felt completely out of the blue and implausible. Nothing was solved.

Why the one star, then? Because if I give none, it won’t be reflected in the overall rating in places like Goodreads. So we’ll just say this book gets one star for a captivating title.

Writing/Voice: 2/0
Characters/Development: 2/0
Plot/Pace: 0/0
Heat: 3 (Non-explicit, but still sex. I’ll give it a neutral rating)
Stars: 1

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The 4th of July blog hop is over and I've chosen the winners with a random method. The requirement was to follow this blog to take part in the contest, but not everyone did that. I didn't think it was fair to exclude those from the contest, so I entered those who followed twice.

These are the winners:

Pati and Kassandra

I will contact these ladies today.

Thanks for participating!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Celebrating Independence Blog Hop

I'm Terra Noah and I review m/m romances. I review unread titles I have on my Kindle, but also books from Netgalley. I'm not accepting review requests, but I intend to in the future.

I'm doing the Celebrating Independence Blog Hop with a lot of other people. Hundreds of prizes to be won. I'm giving away two m/m romances I've enjoyed very much. All you have to do is follow this blog and leave a comment with your email address. Here are the titles I'm giving away:

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken, by N.J. Nielsen:

The lines of Marsden were born into existence for a reason: to right the wrongs that had once taken place. Destiny fated that they must destroy the Eldren before Evil wins.

Michael Marsden wants to die - for real this time. He wasn't meant to lead the half-life that he does. He chooses to let it go and let death take what it had already claimed.

But Christian Risely isn't about to let that happen. He is drawn to Michael and will do anything to ensure that he lives, even if that means keeping him alive against his will.

Absolutely Eric, by Erica Pike:

Eric Wesley is short and snazzy, hot and happy. Or that’s what he thought. After three years of living on the wild side he’s tired of being a playboy and wants to find love.

Eric, however, has never been in love before and doesn’t see that the guy who’s been gazing at him all summer might be Mr. Right. Boring-suit-guy Alexander Centauri isn’t only style-less and clumsy, but also terribly awkward. After a miserable date, Eric plants Alex on another guy’s lap and goes after Mr. Wrong…who looks so right.

When Eric realizes his mistake, it might be too late.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Summer of Wes, by Missy Welsh

My Summer of Wes
by Missy Welsh
Published by: Loose-ID, LLC
Word Count: 42, 377


I didn't know. How could I? All through high school, I was beaten up and teased for being gay. But I wasn't gay. Or didn't think I was. Now Wes, the guy across the street who's taken me under his wing and been the best friend I've ever had, won't stop invading my dreams, hell, my every waking thought. Am I gay? Because I'm thinking I'd like to kiss him. Actually, I'm thinking there's a lot more I'd like to do with his mouth and the rest of that tall, confident, muscular body. Ah, man... I'm so gay!

But what if he doesn't feel the same way about me? And, Jesus, what about my parents? And those bastards from school are still around. And I'm supposed to go to college this fall... Shit, I need to sit down. I can't breathe and I'm about to shake apart. Then Wes puts his hand on the back of my neck, gives me one of those encouraging squeezes and his bright smile, and everything's okay again. Yeah, I'm hooked. Oh, boy...

I try to be constructive when I give reviews and try to leave snark out of it, but it's very hard with this one. This story was about sex. And more sex. And even more sex. If you want a book with 70% sex, 20% characterization and 10% plot, this would be perfect for you.

I like my books with approx. 30% plot, 30% characterization and 40% of everything else that makes a good story (sex, mood, setting etc.). Sex is usually nice in m/m stories, but there's sex and then there's too much sex. Here it was way too much sex. Yes, I know I'm repeating myself here. I began rolling my eyes after the first few times, and not in an oh-so-hot way, but in an oh-not-again way.

It started off well with Mal insecure and scarred after years of bullying. He meets his gay neighbour, they become friendly and at around 30% of the story Mal realizes that he is gay too and the two guys start having sex. Lots of it, with little happening in between. Wes is drop dead gorgeous with his casual commando style. He seems somewhat mature and I liked this character. Mal is okay, nerdy, and I felt sorry for him. This could have been a terrific book if it hadn't been all about the sex.

There's no climax in the story, very little conflict, and almost no build-up. There are love declerations after a week or so of knowing each other (in between the sex). Okay, they're young, but really, it's crush after a week, not love (I don't believe in love at first sight - I DO believe in lust/crush at first sight though). Some of the declerations were also too corny for my taste.

The pace of the story is...well, there's really no pace. It's just sex. I suppose I could say it was slow, because I wanted the story to move on, but it rarely did and when it did there was still mentioning of sex or desire of sex. I get that they're young and horny, so sex should be expected, but the story could still have foused on more things...

Despite this, the text flowed effortlessly. Missy Welsh can write and I'm willing to give another one of her works a chance. I read somewhere that this was her first published book.

I've decided to change my "Heat" rating system after reading this book. If I give it 5 stars, it'll seem like I really liked the sex content. I liked it, it was hot, but it was too much. I've changed the ratings for the other books based on this new system. The rating is now explained like this: Please note that the "Heat" is measured in how much I enjoyed it and if there was too much, too little, or just the perfect amount for the specific type of book I'm rating. Yes, there's such a thing as too much sex in a book and I will give it a low rating in "Heat" if there's too much. I'll give it a rating of 5 if it's just perfect for that specific book (and if it was well written and not too repetitive).

Writing/Voice: 4/4
Characters/Development: 3/2
Plot/Pace: 2/2
Heat: 2 (Way too much sex)
Stars: 2

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Small Thing, by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea

One Small Thing
by Piper Vaugn and MJ O'Shea
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 69.331


“Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.


Can you guess what first caught my attention about this book? Of course you can, the cover. It's adorable. I wanted to read it because of those cute little toes. I didn't know what to expect, but I thought there would be a little more baby stuff involved. Sure, there was a baby, but she was mostly used to bind Rue and Erik together, like a side prop. I thought there would be more firsts and more specific baby things. They could have been thrown in, but they were mostly just excluded and I was a little disappointed by that.

That's not to say I didn't like this story. I liked it very much. I'm a big fan of Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea. Their writing is perfect and I can never get enough. However, I did feel that this story dragged on a little. Or maybe it was because we got the point of views from both guys, and sometimes we read parts of the same scene from both their views (it was clearly marked when we were in Rue's/Eric's point of view, so that was never confusing). So it was a bit like replay at times. I understand why it was done, but it stilled slowed the story..

I can't find any fault with the characters. Rue is outgoing, wonderfully flamboyant, but still mature (not the innocent/oblivious flamboyant type). Erik is a recluse and has severe anxiety issues. He might even be suffering from a degree of autism with his compulsiveness, difficulty of handling people and touching them, and his slow understanding of how people work (he's not stupid, he just works differently). I don't have much experience with autism apart from what I've read, but it sounded very realistic in this story. Putting these different kinds of characters together in one book was very interesting. The characters both evolved, but Erik more than Rue (maybe because he needed it more for their relationship to work).

Their relationship was fun to read. Both funny and sweet. The only niggle was why Erik fell for Rue in the first place. I felt like there was a scene missing where he made the realization (he just suddenly liked Rue, as more than a boss/friend). When their feelings were starting to show for one another, it felt more likely that Erik would have developed feeling for Dusty (a secondary character in the book, but also wonderfully unique). But aside from that one thing, the rest worked for me.

The sex scenes were loving and beautiful. They weren't overdone and there weren't many of them. This is more a romance than erotic romance, but with the explicit scenes I'm putting an erotic romance label on it.

All in all, I do recommend this book very much. It's going into my favourites.

Writing/Voice: 5/5
Characters/Development: 5/5
Plot/Pace: 4/4
Heat: 5 (Perfect, just the right amount)
Stars: 4

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken, by NJ Nielsen

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken (Lines of Marsden #1)
by NJ Nielsen
Published by MLR Press
Word Count: 77.000


The lines of Marsden were born into existence for a reason: to right the wrongs that had once taken place. Destiny fated that they must destroy the Eldren before Evil wins.

Michael Marsden wants to die - for real this time. He wasn't meant to lead the half-life that he does. He chooses to let it go and let death take what it had already claimed.

But Christian Risely isn't about to let that happen. He is drawn to Michael and will do anything to ensure that he lives, even if that means keeping him alive against his will.


This is going to be hard to review. I liked almost everything about this book, but there was one thing that kept niggling at me throughout. I'll get to that later. This is a very long series (18 books in three parts - first part is 6 books), so a lot of questions are still blaring at the end of the book, but I thought it ended in a good place. The author is Australian, so this is not US English, but I had no trouble reading it and it felt charming.

I'll start with the writing. I liked the little italicized lines at the beginning of each chapter. The writing was great and this didn't read like most other m/m books I've read. It The writing style and the voice. I don't think I can compliment it enough.

The beginning of the book was very intriguing. The head hopping was a little confusing, but it wasn't enough to make me want to stop. I couldn't stop. I've read a lot of m/m books, but not many have kept my attention from the very beginning quite like this one. Every time there was a chapter break I kept muttering "Oh my god!" with a big grin on my face.

The characters were fantastic. I loved Christian right away. He's funny, lively, and sweet. Him feeding Michael in the park that first night was HOT. The same goes for their every sexual encounter between them. This author really knows how to write hot guys and hot scenes. That's not to say that Chris and Michael jumped into sex right away - it developed nicely and slowly and I liked that. It felt realistic. The love in this story is so beautiful it makes me want to fall in love myself.

Chris made me laugh out loud more than once. Here's a quote of Chris being adorable and funny. It happens just after their first encounter: "...some part of him wanted to rub himself all over Michael just so the others knew to keep their hands off of what was his. Christian froze at the thought; it was enough to make him stop and go woah!"

Even more funny was Michael and his interaction with his sister, Gypsy. Both of them felt alive and although Gypsy was treated like a kid at twenty-two, it didn't feel unrealistic (it just felt right with this family). Michael himself is a great character. There's not much about him that I didn't like. He's a smartass, but still mature. He's also funny and he felt real.

The other characters were Kerr, whom I didn't like at first but who developed into a very nice character. Charm was a little bit weird, but that's her charm. Doyle I didn't get to know at all as he sat on the sidelines, but that's okay because I have a very bad feeling about him (more on that later). I even liked Michael's mom and dad. Every character had their unique...character.

I liked this line: "Who said at twenty-two you had to be all grown up and act as though nothing affected you?"

I liked it because I've read a lot of reviews and some readers expect people who've just come out of their teens to behave like forty year olds (who can also be pretty immature). Kudos for including that line. There was emotional drama in this story, but it never felt over the top.

I'm very curious about all the unanswered questions about the creator and the grand plan, the Eldren, the beast and "the Boy". I want to know it all, but... (about to reveal a SPOILER, so don't read on if you don't want any)...

This is written early in the story: "You will have three great loves within you life span and two of them will be within our family. Your first true love will be family...As will be your last."

It was also said that Chris wouldn't be Michael greatest love. I can't believe the author is going to pull Michael and Chris permantly apart. No, no, no. You don't create something so beautiful and then ruin it. That's just wrong. Why mess with something that feels so right? They're perfect for each other. I hope the prophecy is wrong. Please let it be wrong...

Having that prophecy right there in the first book really spoiled things for me. I read the romance with great sadness in my heart, not enjoying it to the fullest as I could have, because if the prophecy is true Michael and Chris won't be together forever (despite their declarations). It just broke my heart. For that reason, I'm reluctant to read the rest of the books. It was hinted throughout that Doyle would be one of Michael's great loves, but I don't want that. I just want Michael to be with Chris. It's the authors own fault, because she wrote their romance so beautifully in this book. No, I think I'll wait for reviews before each book and then stop reading as soon as one mentions that Michael and Chris are breaking apart. Sorry, I won't be one of the reviewers to warn off other readers. I just can't.

But please, don't let the spoiler above stop you from reading this book. This book was wonderful and one I will read again. It's the first to receive full marks on Gayrotic Reviews:

Writing/Voice: 5/5
Characters/Development: 5/5
Plot/Pace: 5/5
Heat: 5 (Perfect, just the right amount)
Stars: 5