January 31st, 2011

andrew potter

No Souvenirs by K.A. Mitchell

K.A. Mitchell continues in her light BDSM series: it’s light since it’s a type of BDSM that can be right for a wide audience, and above all, it’s not in your face. The type of BDSM in these stories are not the type you see inside dungeons or private clubs, but it’s more a thing of power play inside the relationship.

Jae Sun Kim is the very interesting and a bit aloof doctor that in Collision Course was the antagonist of Joey’s love interest, Aaron. It was clear that the love story was between Joey and Aaron, but Kim was indeed a very interesting character who deserved his own story. In No Souvenirs, Kim is on holiday in Belize and he has a fling with Shane, an American scuba-diver who is half losing time and half deciding what to do in life. So Shane is quite at the opposite of Kim, successful doctor and with his path paved in front of him. It’s not clear if Kim approached the vacation fling with the attitude of “right now” and then forget everything, but unexpectedly Shane turns the tables.

Maybe thanks to a dramatic experience that bonds them together, Shane shows at Kim’s doorstep; again, Shane’s attitude is of taking things easily, without planning the future, but Kim can’t be the same. Kim is tightly closed inside himself, with a thick shield around; he can’t allow someone that easy like Shane too much near him, he is too much of a threat for his safeness. In their relationship, love and sex, they have the same attitude: Shane, bigger and stronger in body, is used to be the top in the relationship, but when Kim makes clear that he will never bottom, Shane takes happily a dive into this new development, that allows him to continue being easy and free, being the top in the relationship is also hard work, something that Shane is more than willing to let doing to someone else; on the other hand, Kim’s refusal to being a bottom is another proof of his safe-shield, being a bottom means allowing another man to have the top hand in his fate, and that is not an option.

So when the relationship starts, things seem clear: it’s not something that will last, they don’t have to set up rules, since they don’t need them, they will not have time to follow them. But despite the unsteady basis, and maybe despite the involved men’s will, the relationship grows healthy and strong, and it’s almost with a drunken stupor that both of them will awake one morning to discover that there is something more than a fling between them, and now that they have it, they need to change their life to accommodate it, and in the end, to set up those rules.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/no-souvenirs  

Amazon: No Souvenirs
Amazon Kindle: No Souvenirs
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609280024
ISBN-13: 978-1609280024

Series:
1) Diving in Deep: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/259624.html  
2) Collision Course: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/453791.html  
3) No Souvenirs

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Bound by Nature by Cooper Davis

The same type of cute characters Cooper Davis had in her previous novel, Boys of Summer, are again in this new novel, even if this time the genre is different, Paranormal instead of Contemporary. But even if the men involved are werewolves, nevertheless they are innocent, almost naive, and it’s strange since both of them should be Alpha males, usually the strongest and toughest of the pack.

Hayden and Josh are born and raised in the same small town in Wyoming but in different packs. They are both first son of their respective Alpha, and so destined to be heir the power, but like in ordinary society, even in werewolves pack there are different classes, and Hayden is from a privileged one, wealthy family and with a paved path in front of him, Ivy League college and brilliant future, where instead Josh is little more than a blue collar, with only an handsome look helping him to distinguish among the crowd. But like in an old romance of the ’50, the wealthy offspring is desperately in love for the boy from the wrong side of the city, and Hayden would do everything for a simple look from his unrequited love.

There is a constant change in balance between Hayden and Josh: Hayden is richer and more clever than Josh, WASP good boy next door against blue collar bad boy; Josh is apparently more “lived” and experienced than Hayden; Hayden is a strongest Alpha than Josh, but Josh is more lively. If one excels in something the other outdoes him in something else, and then there is the common ground, both 22 years old and both Alpha heir of their packs.

As the swing between the two of them, there is also a swing in the timeline of the story: two storylines, one about them at 22 years old and one 5 years after. Something happened in the middle, and little by little, the first storyline give elements to the second to reveal a very dramatic truth, probably the only sad side of the story. Other than that, the story is very sweet, and very sexy: there are some sex scene between Hayden and Josh that are really good, enough detailed but not vulgar, the main feeling I had from them it was of tenderness; in it plays one other of the change of balance between Hayden and Josh, Josh can be the more experienced of things of life but when you narrow the focus on man on man love, it’s Hayden the one with the knife by the handle, Josh is a total “virgin” and he needs to be lead step by step by Hayden. It’s important for Hayden, it gave him strength and courage; after this experience, nor Hayden, or Josh, or the reader, has any doubt of who the real Alpha is.

Again, I’d like to highlight that, even if dealing with Alpha males, and two of them actually, the story maintains a sweet and playful tone, with just the right dose of high emotional involvement, and basically all the insecurities of two young men who are facing first and true love.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/bound-by-nature

Amazon: Bound by Nature (Forces of Nature)
Amazon Kindle: Bound by Nature (Forces of Nature)
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609280008
ISBN-13: 978-1609280000

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading+list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Amanda Kelsey
andrew potter

Last Gasp by Erastes, Jordan Taylor, Charlie Cochrane & Chris Smith

Tributary by Erastes

The first impression I had of this story is that it was lost in time; it’s set in 1936, but it could have been well 50 years before (if not for the car the hero is using at the beginning of the story) or 50 years later: the Hotel Vista atop of a mountain with a wonderful view of the valley is something you can still find in Italy, and an experience quite similar to that of the hero I did in Portugal, when I found a posh hotel in the middle of nowhere right at the top of a glacial valley. Probably the South European people tend to pick up the best places for their hotel, and it’s not a coincidence that both Italy than Portugal are favourite destinations for English travellers.

Aside from that, the feeling of being lost in time is also due to the fact that almost all the people who are spending time at Hotel Vista seem to have a reason to avoid reality. Guy, the Englishman who feigns indifference, I think is still mourning the loss of his lover, Arthur, and his escape from England and conventions is in true an escape from memories; plus, maybe, Guy is trying to live how Arthur and him would have dreamed to, without worrying of other people’s judgement; Arthur died too young, and Guy is trying to live for both of them.

Hotel Vista is also the hiding place of James Calloway and his young secretary Louis. It’s clear that they are not only boss and assistant; that James is trying to find in Louis his lost youth, same as Guy is trying to find it in the escaping. At first I thought that Louis was a gold digger profiting of a weak James, weak both in health than resistance to the allure of youth. But Louis is a more complex character of what he appears at first, and it’s not a game of who, between Guy and James is richer and though more appealing for Louis, it’s a game of understanding who, between Guy and James is more daring, who will have the courage to risk everything for the love of Louis. Among them, Louis is not promising anything to anyone, he is mobile and elusive, like youth and lost dreams, and Guy, or James, have to play careful to catch him.

The White Empire by Chris Smith

The Honourable Edgar Vaughan is a missionary, but he has not the “call”; joining a mission in Hong Kong in 1839 was another way to go far from the “gossip” of the ton, that was well aware of Vaughan’s particular inclinations. Second son of a baronet, when it was clear that his older brother would have been able to survive and reproduce, there was no real reason for him to stay around and create more trouble. Vaughan is a strange man, he is also able to pretend with himself: he claims to being fond only of men of his same social level, but then, gathering bit of info here and there, the reader understand that more r less, Vaughan enjoys men wherever he can find them willing, or maybe not even so willing but in need of money. Vaughan is not exactly a nice man, I found him quite pompous and narcissistic.

But as it often happens, even the narcissistic men find someone else other than themselves to fall in love with, and for Vaughan the man is Lord Runfold, heir to a Duke. Yes, Edgar likes to fumble in dark places with strangers, but when it’s the time to fall in love, the chosen one is someone from his same level or above. Truth be told, I don’t think it was a conscious choice for Edgar, but probably it’s in his character, he can’t really being interested in someone that is not above him, he needs to feel a sense of wonder, and respect, otherwise he will get soon bored.

Archie Runfold is a mix of debauched angel and careless chap. He is probably a better man than Edgar, but he is still young; probably in 10 years or so, the real man will be formed, for now he is still enjoying his freedom. Being him the heir, and having obligations, it would be interesting to know what he will choose, but I have the feeling that Lord Runfold could be one of those men with a wife and 2 sons (one to spare) at home, and a male lover in society.

Do you think that, since nor Edgar or Archie are behaving as perfect romance heroes, I don’t like them? Wrong, I like them even better, since probably they are more real like that, two perfect example of XIX century gentlemen.

Sand by Charlie Cochrane

Charlie Cochrane’s heroes are always good boys, even in their name they are simple and friendly, Andrew and Charles. Charles is a wannabe writer of the Edwardian England (among the two World War maybe?) who is forced to play the role of chaperon to a wealthy middle class man whose mother thinks he is better far from female temptation in a dig in Syria. Andrew is the one managing the dig and dreading the “invasion” of stranger, but at the same time, I think he is also hoping to find a matching soul in one or both the men.

The story is not long and there is not either big revelation; there is no drama, no hidden and suffered forbidden feelings, when Andrew and Charles met it’s clear there is a matching of both minds and hearts, and the step from being friends to being lovers is short. Again they have a vantage in being far from society, and so, more or less, from judging eyes and ears: who will question the strict bond between two men if they are alone in the desert with no woman on the horizon? By day they are only friends, and what happens at night is not questioned.

But Andrew and Charlie are not perfect together only since they are alone and there is no other choice around, they are really good for each other; they are very similar, clever and of few words, maybe even a bit shy, but well aware of their own worth. They are so similar that, in a way, they are first friends and than lovers, passion between them arrives only after they learn to like, and trust, each other. What bonds them is more a question of minds than guts, and so, something more lasting.

The Ninth Language by Jordan Taylor

This is the second time I read something by Jordan Taylor, and like the last time there is something in common, a slightly sadness throughout the storyline. In 1898, in some isolated land in Canada, the natives are struggling to survive the coming of different cultures that instead of mingling are clashing with the local culture. Mitsrii is willing to do everything to preserve at least a little piece of land for his people, even to kill the white man. Troy is a linguist and a dreamer, he believes that studying the language of people he will know them, but when he meets Mitsrii he finds that there is a language more that he is not able to learn on books, and it’s the language of life.

At first Mitsrii doesn’t trust Troy, not since he believes he is trying to deceive his people like many before, but probably since Troy is too naïve and innocent; men like him, in his carelessness, could be even more destruction; worst, if Mitsrii allows him near his people, and his heart, it will be hard to survive when the novelty of a new culture to unearth will end and Troy will decide that he is better in a modern city. For Mitsrii there is no choice, even if he was alone, and he is not, for him it would be impossible to live in the city; he can fight one man at time, but the hordes that are invading his homeland are too much even for him, and his only choice is to retreat even more inland, far from “civilization”.

Mitsrii’s character is so bonded with nature, that I was almost expecting from him to be some paranormal character, and instead this is a pure historical; so much my mind is contaminated by modern culture, that when I find someone who is really in line with nature, I think he is someone “unnatural”, and instead Mitsrii is only someone of a not so distant era, little more than 100 years, but of a lost, unfortunately, culture.

https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=126

Amazon: Last Gasp
Amazon Kindle: Last Gasp
Paperback: 478 pages
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC (January 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605922099
ISBN-13: 978-1605922096

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading+list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

In the Spotlight: Vestal Mcintyre

The Book: Eula, Idaho, is a cluster of steeples, oak trees, and boxlike homes sandwiched between golden fields and a wide-open sky. It freezes in the winter and bakes in the summer, but the air is so dry that neither extreme gets under your skin. It has never seen a battle, or an earthquake, or a Democrat in City Hall.

Still, life in Eula is anything but simple.

Lina and Connie are single mothers, neighbors in Eula's trailer park. Lina, the daughter of migrant Mexican farm workers, is trying to cope with her angry teenage son Jesús, newly returned after living with wealthy white foster parents. Connie, long abandoned, struggles with her literal reading of Old Testament laws against remarriage, especially when a handsome missionary visits her congregation. The women's younger sons, Enrique and Gene, are misfits whose mutual love of science offers stability and respite from schoolyard cruelties.

Determined to win the statewide science fair, Enrique and Gene devise an experiment involving "lake overturn," a real scientific phenomenon in which deadly gases collect and eventually erupt from a lake's depths. In their quest to discover if Eula could suffer from such an event, the boys come into contact with an odd assortment of locals, including the frail-hearted school principal with grand ambitions, a rich but lonely lawyer who finds love outside his marriage just as his wife is succumbing to cancer, and a woman tortured by a past of abuse and addiction who decides to turn things around by offering herself as a surrogate mother.

With sweeping perspective and a Victorian wealth of character, Lake Overturn exposes small-town America in all its beauty and treachery, sunshine and secrets.

Amazon: Lake Overturn: A Novel
Amazon Kindle: Lake Overturn: A Novel
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (June 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061671266
ISBN-13: 978-0061671265

Other Books in the List:

You Are Not the One : Stories
Amazon: You Are Not the One: Stories
Paperback: 325 pages
Publisher: Carroll & Graf (December 21, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786714336
ISBN-13: 978-0786714339

The Author: Vestal McIntyre was born and raised outside Nampa, Idaho, the youngest of seven. He attended Tufts University in Boston, and lived in New York City where he was a waiter at Restaurant Florent for ten years.

Lake Overturn: A Novel was published by HarperCollins in April, 2009. It was named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review and Out Magazine, and a Best Book of 2009 by the Washington Post. It won the Grub Street National Book Prize and Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, and was shortlisted for both the Ferro-Grumley Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

Vestal has been awarded fiction fellowships from the NEA and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His collection You Are Not the One: Stories was also a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and won a 2006 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction.

His stories have appeared in Tin House, The Boston Review, Open City, From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up, Freud's Blind Spot: Writers on Siblings, and several other anthologies.

Vestal now lives in London, where he is working on a second novel and a collection of stories based on his years in New York City.

https://vestalmcintyre.com/Homepage.html

Top 100 Gay Novels List (*)

External Link to the Top100 Gay Novels List (simple - without photos)

External Link to the Top 100 Gay Novels List (wanted - with photos)

*only one title per author, only print books released after January 1, 2000.

Note: I remember to my friends that guest reviews of the above listed books (the top 100 Gay Novels) are welcome, just send them to me and I will post with full credits to the reviewer.

Other titles not in the top 100 list:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog/top50MM
andrew potter

Vestal Mcintyre

Vestal McIntyre was born and raised outside Nampa, Idaho, the youngest of seven. He attended Tufts University in Boston, and lived in New York City where he was a waiter at Restaurant Florent for ten years. 

Lake Overturn: A Novel was published by HarperCollins in April, 2009. It was named Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review and Out Magazine, and a Best Book of 2009 by the Washington Post. It won the Grub Street National Book Prize and Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, and was shortlisted for both the Ferro-Grumley Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. 

Vestal has been awarded fiction fellowships from the NEA and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His collection You Are Not the One: Stories was also a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and won a 2006 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction. 

His stories have appeared in Tin House, The Boston Review, Open City, From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up, Freud's Blind Spot: Writers on Siblings, and several other anthologies. 

Vestal now lives in London, where he is working on a second novel and a collection of stories based on his years in New York City. 

https://vestalmcintyre.com/Homepage.html

Further Readings:

Lake Overturn: A Novel by Vestal Mcintyre
Paperback: 448 pages 
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (June 29, 2010) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0061671266 
ISBN-13: 978-0061671265 
Amazon: Lake Overturn: A Novel 
Amazon Kindle: Lake Overturn: A Novel 

The Book: Eula, Idaho, is a cluster of steeples, oak trees, and boxlike homes sandwiched between golden fields and a wide-open sky. It freezes in the winter and bakes in the summer, but the air is so dry that neither extreme gets under your skin. It has never seen a battle, or an earthquake, or a Democrat in City Hall.

Still, life in Eula is anything but simple.

Lina and Connie are single mothers, neighbors in Eula's trailer park. Lina, the daughter of migrant Mexican farm workers, is trying to cope with her angry teenage son Jesús, newly returned after living with wealthy white foster parents. Connie, long abandoned, struggles with her literal reading of Old Testament laws against remarriage, especially when a handsome missionary visits her congregation. The women's younger sons, Enrique and Gene, are misfits whose mutual love of science offers stability and respite from schoolyard cruelties.

Determined to win the statewide science fair, Enrique and Gene devise an experiment involving "lake overturn," a real scientific phenomenon in which deadly gases collect and eventually erupt from a lake's depths. In their quest to discover if Eula could suffer from such an event, the boys come into contact with an odd assortment of locals, including the frail-hearted school principal with grand ambitions, a rich but lonely lawyer who finds love outside his marriage just as his wife is succumbing to cancer, and a woman tortured by a past of abuse and addiction who decides to turn things around by offering herself as a surrogate mother.

With sweeping perspective and a Victorian wealth of character, Lake Overturn exposes small-town America in all its beauty and treachery, sunshine and secrets.


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andrew potter

Love You Forever by Terry O’Reilly

I really liked this short story, and don’t worry romantic reader, it’s not as dramatic as it could seem.

Derrick and Cooper have a good relationship, the problem is that Derrick is living 250 miles far away from Cooper and they can meet more or less once a month. But they love each other and they committed to do everything is necessary to make the relationship work. Also for this reason Derrick wants to make as much time as possible with Cooper the past weekend and when he leaves on Sunday night it’s heavily snowing. On the way back home, Derrick has a car accident and he dies on the spot, only that Derrick’s spirit seems unable to leave Cooper as his body did. Derrick goes back to Cooper’s cabin and he starts a vigil on the mourning man while at the same time re-living all their past good memories.

It’s for sure a story with an high emotional impact but I liked that the author didn’t push too much on the drama: Cooper is mourning, and of course he is hurting, but his pain is “contained” and above all, even if in pain, he is able to make his own good choices, like when he refuses Derrick’s best friend’s attempts to “comfort” him. Derrick on the other hand has the chance to see their love story from the outside, to understand that, if he is in a relationship, he has to consider not only his own good, but also that of Cooper; if he has to take a decision, the decision will impact his future but also Cooper’s.

The sex scenes, that are hot, but in a way at the same level of “comfort” as all the story, meaning that they are not merely gym exercises, are almost all in the past: Derrick is thinking back to their moment together and the sex is a good share of that thinking. In the present it’s more him watching Cooper from afar, and even if something Cooper can “feel” Derrick, the story never falls into the easy trap of the paranormal story, as strange as it can sound, even if Derrick is indeed a ghost, this is not a paranormal romance and also the happy ending will be logic and “ordinary”.

http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=12&products_id=153

Buy Here

Amazon Kindle: Love You Forever
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (October 29, 2010)

Reading List:



http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle