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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Luckiest, by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea

The Luckiest (Lucky Moon #2)
by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea
Published by Loose-ID
Word Count: 91.000


Rock star Nick Ventura has finally hit rock bottom. Jealous of his brother’s new love, he starts overindulging in his usual vices and winds up crashing his car into a department store in a drunken haze. Publicly humiliated and on the verge of jail time, he enters into a court-ordered rehabilitation program.
Nutritionist Luka Novak is flamboyant, effeminate, the type of gay man that bisexual Nick would normally sneer at. His sunny nature hides a deep hurt from a previous relationship. Luka knows he should be wary of Nick’s reputation, but he’s drawn to Nick despite himself. Their tentative friendship turns into romance, but Luka soon comes to realize that Nick's fear of losing his bad boy reputation means he'll probably never go public with their relationship.

Nick never thought he needed anyone, until Luka Novak came into his life. Now he has to reconcile his carefree past with the future he suddenly wants more than anything. And the first lesson he has to learn is how to become the man that both he and Luka need him to be, rather than stay the boy he always was. Alone.

The beginning was just continuous cussing and ramblings of Nicky and I thought I'd never get through it. I've become a fan of Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea, so I pushed through, and I didn't regret it. While Nick's grumpily adjusting to rehab life, he's sat in a room where he has to answer questions about himself. Those answers were very funny.


My first five star review at Gayrotic Reviews!

I loved the first Lucky Moon book, Moonlight Becomes You, but this one was even better. I struggled through the beginning, because Nicky was very grumpy and cursed in every single sentence (it seemed). It went on and on, but I pushed on and I'm glad I did.

Nick behaved like a spoiled brat throughout the book, but the reason for this character trait becomes obvious. Nick was practically raised by his brother, who is only a couple of years older, and grew up in an abusive household. At 30, it was time for him to grow up. I didn't really think he grew up by the end of the book, but he stopped behaving like the jerk he was at the beginning.

Luca was a very realistic character and there's nothing about that man I didn't love. His friend Jeana was also great and their friendship was realistic. Luca was very patient with Nick, but also showed "correct" behavior whenever Nick hurt him with his immaturity.

I loved the interactions between Nick and Luca after Nick got out of rehab. They were sweet and fun. They were also hot, but it wasn't all about the sex. The authors did a great job of building the romance. It wasn't all bubbles and hearts either, because there were many small conflicts in between.

The pace was good. I did think the book was a little too long and there were bits that seemed to stretch on a little without much happening, but it was okay. The plot was very nicely done. If there was one thing that baffled me about the subplot was what happened at Jeana's birthday party. I would have liked to know who mixed that drink that Luca drank (don't want to spoil things here), because something like that is a huge deal and shouldn't have been dismissed that easily. I'm not saying that Luca should have spent emotional drama on it, just that I think it should have been mentioned who mixed that drink and if the person had been caught or not. It wasn't clear if that drink was intended for Luca, though I suspect it was...but then why wasn't the person there when he drank it? Luca's ex, Brent, also just disappeared.

The writing was superb as always. The voice is strong and consistent, and different between the two characters. There's nice and slow character development and the main characters have beautiful and heart wrenching moments together. I think this book is safe for anyone to read and I don't think many would regret reading it.

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scales and a Tail, by Stormy Glenn

Scales and a Tail (Midnight Matings #2)
by Stormy Glenn
Published by Siren Publishing
Word Count: 42.000


The paranormal world is in chaos. The elders are tired of their younger people playing the field, causing trouble, and fighting with each other. Everyone who attends the UPAC Conference now has twenty-four hours to claim a mate of a different species. If they don't, they will never have a mate. The spell is cast. There is no escaping the Midnight Matings.

Beauregard Stratford is a bunny shifter. Simple enough, right? Unfortunately, he is the only white bunny shifter in existence. He also is cursed with violet eyes, hyperactivity, a strong weakness for anything shiny, and a penchant for leaving bubble gum everywhere. When he finds himself mated to Sebastian Drakus, a dragon shifter and prince of his kind, Beauregard can't seem to make himself behave no matter how hard he tries. He wants to be good, to make Sebastian proud of him, really he does, but things just keep happening to him? Bubble gum mishaps, getting drunk, not to mention that fact that he is a true bunny and constantly horny. Nothing seems to go right. Can he convince Sebastian he's worth the trouble, or will the dragon prince wash his hands of the whole bunny fiasco?


Sounds cute, right? I thought so.

I liked the story and the characters, but I had a big problem with the writing and editing. There were numerous repetitions in the text, both things we'd already been told before (sometimes twice), and words repetitions. In one place, for example, six paragraphs in a row start with "Sebastian". There were also a lot of typos that bothered me. I don't mind some, but I get annoyed when there are too many. The writing itself also bothered me. It was very "telling" with very little "showing". This is my first read by Stormy Glenn, but I'm hoping this isn't the best example of her writing style. I'm surprised Siren Publishing didn't do a better job of editing. This is also my first Siren Publishing read.

There were problems with the characters, but they weren't as big as the writing. The Wolf shifter at the beginning - the one chasing Beauregard - sounds so simple minded with his limited vocab. He kept repeating the same lines over and over. It wasn't the effects of the spell, because Sebastian was thinking clearly enough. Appart from that, I did like how Sebastian and Beauregard met and the mating ceremony was hillarious.

The interactions between the main characters were sweet most of the time. I kept waiting to see that first kiss though, but it never happened. I felt it was missing. It also bothered me how Sebastian kept calling Beauregard "bunny" in almost every sentence he uttered. It was cute at first and would have been fine, if it hadn't been so often.

I'm not a big fan of easy acceptances, and there were quite a few in this story. I felt that Beauregard should have been more bothered that Sebastian had slept around before their mating, since Beauregard was raised with high values of waiting before being mated. Beauregard just shrugged it off. I also felt that Sebastian was too quick to realize that he'd been a scum to Beauregard toward the end. It was like someone pushed a button and Sebastian suddenly saw the light. I wish he'd come to the realization more gradually.

Despite the problems I had with the writing and story, I did enjoy it. It was cute, funny, and heartwrenching. I liked the part where Sebastian was in the dog house. I would have given this book two stars if Beauregard had accepted Sebastian too easily (I half expected he would, but was glad that he didn't). The pace was also decent and I never got bored.

Writing/Voice: 2/3
Characters/Development: 4/2
Plot/Pace: 4/5
Heat: 3 (Okay sex)
Stars: 3.5

Monday, June 4, 2012

Turning Idolator, by Edward C. Patterson

Turning Idolator
by Edward C. Patterson
Published by Smashwords
Word Count: 89.000


Philip Flaxen, who strips past his jockstrap on the Internet for, acquires a rare gift — a book that transforms his life. With it, he sparks with a famous author, whittles away at a new craft, swims with an odd circle of new acquaintances and is swept up in mayhem. Philip leaves the world of The Porn Nazi and enters the realm of crisp possibilities.


Oh what can I say...I literally had to drag myself through most of this book.

Okay, first, it's a literary book, which means fancy prose. It's beautiful, but soooo slow. Serious pacing issues. The blurb doesn't indicate this writing style and neither does the topic (an online stripper).

Second, the descriptions were way, waaay too long at points. It really slowed down the reading and I think it could have gone without a lot of it. Especially at the beginning of part two, where it goes pages and pages in the point of view of a seagull, then a whale, then a cat, and finally a dog before we get to the humans. Wow, I didn't see the purpose of it and found myself skimming through most of it. A content editor would have quickly yanked that out. There are actually quite a few places in this book where I would have stopped reading, because the pace just died, if I hadn't been forced to continue for the challenge I read this for.

Third, I'm giving this story 3.5 stars despite the above faults. The main reason is that it was a beautiful story between Philip and his love interest - and by beautiful, I mean epic. I may have had to drag myself through the first 70%, but the last 30% I read with frevor, being moved by the emotions and desperate to know about those killings. The characters were deep, the plot was nicely woven, and I think this story will stay with me forever. I'm glad I dragged myself past the first 70%. With proper content editing, this would be a solid 5 star book for me.

Writing/Voice: 4/3
Characters/Development: 4/4
Plot/Pace: 4/1
Heat: 1 (No sex. Would have loved some)
Stars: 3.5

An Uncommon Whore, by Belinda McBride

An Uncommon Whore (An Uncommon Whore)
by Belinda McBride
Published by Loose Id, LLC
Word Count: 42.000


Pasha is a slave, whoring for travelers at the most dangerous bar on Warlan. He has no memory, no future of his own, yet deep inside Pasha knows that that he is meant for better things. The day that Pasha spots the dangerous pirate in the bar, he knows that he mustn't let the stranger slip away, regardless of what he must do to attract his attention.

Captain Griffin Hawke spent the greater part of a decade searching for his lost king, only to find Helios Dayspring crouched between his knees, swathed in the robes and shackles of a whore. Though he is appalled by the downfall of his king, the hardened officer finds himself falling for the allure of the sensual creature who has taken his place. Returning Helios to his position on the throne is the only right thing to do, yet Griffin knows that in doing so, he risks losing his lover forever.


This story had me from the get go. The first scenes really grabbed me...but then it tilted downwards. I'm not saying it was bad from there on out, it just lacked that intriguing explosiveness it had at the beginning. I felt Helios's original character didn't get to shine through after he was told about his past. The sex scenes sometimes felt like they were put here and there just for the sake of having sex scenes (they were beautifully written though).

Although the beginning was like an explosion, the end was like a burnt match. It felt too cut-off, almost as if the first book and second were originally one long book, but the editor decided it would be better to make them into two books. Everything felt too good in the end and it seemed a bit unrealistic. Helios also didn't seem too bothered at having been subjected to whoredom for a few years. One would think he would have been traumatized by it, or it should have at least made some profound impact on his character (I couldn't see that it had). I would have liked to see him struggle with it more.

But I liked the story, and the world, and the characters. I want to read the second book to find out things that were left hanging in this one. The writing is great and I had a hard time putting it down.

In Short:
Writing/Voice: 5/3
Characters/Development: 4/3
Plot/Pace: 5/3
Heat: 3 (Hot scenes, a little too much in the end)
Stars: 3.5