Crossing the Line by MD Saperstein and Andria Large

22596837Parker Hamilton – movie star! That’s what the world knows about me. Oscar winner, prominent bloodline, playboy. But there is so much more to me. My friends are my real family, and they are what matters most. But I’d be lying if I said that I’m not concerned about my reputation. Everyone who lives in the spotlight is.

Listen, I can play any role – drama, comedy, romance. You name it. I can act my ass off, and I have the proof on a shelf in my office. But when my agent calls me into his office to offer me the role of a lifetime, I am hesitant. Not only would I have to act opposite Chance Steele, the most egotistical schmuck I know, but we would also have to pretend to be intimate. Really intimate. As in gay lovers.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I am as open-minded as they come. People can love whom they want, screw whom they want, even marry whom they want. But when you ask me to make out with a dude, pretend to roll around in a bed with him, well, that’s where I draw the line. Maybe.

Sometimes lines are blurry. And sometimes lines are just meant to be crossed.

Crossing the Line is book 3 of the Taboo Love series and picks up where Unmasking Charlotte left off. As with Hey There, Delilah and Unmasking Charlotte, it is a standalone – so don’t worry if you haven’t read them yet – with a HEA. That means no cliffhanger! Oh, and expect to see some of your favorite characters.

BUY LINK: Amazon

REVIEWER: Dolorianne, 4 Continue reading

Northern Star by Ethan Day

NorthernStar_100dpi_cvr-210x330Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.

Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.

That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.

Buy Link: Wilde City Press

Review: Lynn, 5

As with all Ethan Day books, I expected humor and fun loving characters. We get that and a whole lot more with this book.

The two main characters Steve and Deacon are dealing with some pretty major life changes. Deacon, who grew up neglected and unloved with his alcoholic mother, moves back home to be with his teenage sister when his mother goes to jail for a DUI. While back in town he runs into Steve, someone he never thought he’d see again after their one night hook up months ago. Steve, who is fresh out of the closet following a six year marriage, never stopped thinking about Deacon and the one night they shared together.

This book is both charming and sweet but deals with some serious issues too. Deacon, after years of neglect from his mother, feels unworthy of love and is damaged in many ways. Steve’s patience and understanding is just what Deacon needs to help him overcome his insecurities. Steve is dealing with his guilt by not being honest with his ex wife during their marriage. They both help each other in ways neither one ever thought possible.

One of the scenes in this book I truly loved was between Steve and his very straight colleagues. They’re all standing around the fire pit while at a backyard barbecue talking about gay sex and asking Steve all kinds of questions. It was laugh out loud hysterical, in true Ethan Day style.

I really loved how this story was delivered. The words just flowed off the page and had me hooked from page one. As with the author’s previous books, there is a lot of humor, but he also deals with some darker issues that I haven’t seen from him before. I really enjoyed how he incorporated the humor he’s known for within a story that was just a little darker than we’re used to seeing from him. It was a nice balance and very realistic.

In a nutshell, this was a story of two people getting a second chance to love and be loved. Another great story, not to be missed from Ethan Day.

My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! by Wade Kelly

MyRoommatesaJock It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock!

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

ISBN-13: 978-1-62380-255-4
Pages: 262
BUY LINK: Dreamspinner

REVIEW

There are so many things about this book that I like. It is strong from beginning to end. And I say this even though I wasn’t happy with some of the events that go on.

Out first impression is of Cole, a self admitted control freak with OCD tendencies. We are in his POV for the majority of the book so if Cole rubs you the wrong way then that could hamper your enjoyment of this story. For me, though, I found him to be just the right balance of charm and nuttiness. (I have a little control freak in me so I can relate.) His methods are a little over the top sometimes, but is written in such a way that works. For all that he is trying to stay in the shadows, he has A LOT of fire!

The reasons for his behavior are explained well. His background experiences are hardly new or original, but instead of dragging it out, it is presented in a way that says “this is it, I’ve dealt with it, so should you, let’s move on.” I think it would have been fine for his history to have taken up more page time, but by limiting the past, there was much more room for developing more original here-and-now content.

I knew I should throw out any preconceived notions as soon as the first kiss happened around the 11% mark on my kindle. I’m always worried when the couple gets together too quickly. Either the rest of the book turns too fluffy for my taste, or they go through hell and back to earn their HEA. MRAJ?WC! has given me a third option. There were so many things that happened in this book and none of them felt rushed or incomplete or over dramatic. Every event had it’s own space. (Kind of fitting for a book about a control freak 🙂 )

Another thing I was not expecting but worried about as soon as it presented itself was religion. I find a lot of the religious content of MM books to be heavy handed … either in a nasty, bigoted way or by preaching to the choir. Not so in MRAJ?WC!, at least not in my opinion. A supporting character is religious. His views are discussed and other characters are free to disagree and there is no harm or ill will, no drama, no hidden agenda. Religion happens, that’s about as worked up as anyone gets over it.

POV and timeline a huge sticking points for me. As far as I could see, the timeline was pretty tight. MRAJ?WC! is paced well and written clearly. The POV threw me a couple of times. Cole is the dominant POV, but there are 5 other characters that share their POV at one time or another. 4 POV changes are from supporting characters. Each one brings something necessary to the story even though they originally confused me. The first time it happened I went back to re-read the book blurb because I thought I forgot who the love interest was supposed to be. Why are we hearing from a secondary character, is his POV going to pop up again? The easy answer turned out to be no, but his insight added a lot to the story. As did the other 3 who made singular POV appearances. I didn’t always like what they had to say or how they behaved, but they were all important. Depth, and lots of it!

The 5th POV is obvious, Cole’s roommate, Ellis. We don’t hear from him often, but it’s a doozy when we do. His journey is surprising. The book blurb doesn’t hint too much to Ellis’s inner debate. And his sticking point isn’t his sexuality, not really. There is a little, but it turns out to be much more than that. A self-aware, self-perception kind of thing. This part could have been really insulting if it were written badly. I haven’t seen any reviews mention it, so I can only assume that, like me, they felt Ellis’s feelings, experiences, and actions were written very well. Add in the very real life truth that every sexual escapade isn’t as perfect as most books would like to portray, and Ellis is an awesomely unique character.

The only thing that still has me baffled is Cole’s interaction with Stan, the school’s housing something-or-other. When he is first introduced everything seems fine. I don’t recall anything standing out about the man. Not surprising since he doesn’t have a huge part to play except as the one responsible for saddling the jockaphobe with a jock roommate. When he reappears mid story, he is more developed … but nothing like I assumed based on his and Cole’s earlier encounters. Not his age, not his job, not his personality, and certainly not his intentions. Stan isn’t shown in a good light and I’m not too sure why. Was this just because we are seeing him through Cole’s dark-colored glasses after a bad morning? Cole’s new impression of Stan totally overshadows everything in a distracting way. What was the point? Toning down Stan’s dialogue would have just kept the scene as an essential step along the way. Leaving the scene intact but following it up later with something to re-enforce Cole’s reaction would have given the scene purpose. But as-is, the scene seems to stick out like a sore thumb to me.

But don’t let that stop you. MRAJ?WC! is a really good book that may challenge your perception of college nerd/jock stories. I was not expecting anything more than a few hours of banter reading but got something so much more original and complex.

Giving It A Name by Elizabella Gold

When his divorced father remarries, twenty-one-year-old Aaron Wood suddenly finds himself adjusting to living with a stepmom and younger sister. Then his smokin’ hot stepbrother moves in too. A recent college grad, Jordan seems adrift—but Aaron’s sure Jordan feels the same attraction toward Aaron as Aaron does toward him.

Aaron and Jordan begin with teasing, which turns to flirting, which leads to more. Jordan seems happy to fool around with him, but when Aaron insists they put a name to what they’re doing, Jordan pulls away: He’s not gay. He’s not bi. Why is Aaron being so pushy?

Aaron’s still in the closet, and he’s never had a real boyfriend. He knows they could be good together if Jordan could face the truth—but if he keeps pushing, he risks losing Jordan for good.

Elizabella Gold WEBSITE | Dreamspinner

Are you going to like this book? Really depends on what you are in the mood for.

The majority of the reviews I have seen since finishing this story have not been very pleasing. I could see many of their points. The overwhelming criticism being that the characters and overall tone of the story seemed much younger than the blurb might suggest. I agree 100%.

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Even though the characters on page are 21, I would have no problem categorizing this story in the YA section. Looking at it from that perspective, I have no doubt that anyone who enjoys YA fiction would find Giving It A Name entertaining. There were many funny inner dialogue moments that made the main character of Aaron quite charming.

The coming out theme definitely seemed geared to a younger crowd. Aaron’s reasoning, and his friends advice seemed oversimplified so as to be very enlightening to teens who were struggling themselves.

Aaron’s complete and instant crush, fits in with the YA tone of the overall story as well. For anyone fearing the pseudo-incest taboo, though, there really is nothing to the step-brother aspect of the story. Aaron’s Dad and Jordan’s Mom get married after 3 years of dating. Jordan and Aaron, both 21 years old, had never met because Jordan was off at college and barely interacted with his family … rarely speaking on the phone aside from holidays. They may technically be step-brothers but are actually complete strangers.

I have no problem at all with how this story was written technically. It flowed well enough that I finished it in no time. And up until about 75% in I was on board with a simple, yet refreshing YA surprise.

It is about this time that I began questioning the direction the author chose to take her characters. While written well, I did not like how Aaron was being treated, and how Aaron was treating other people. I don’t know that I ever warmed to Jordan but now I was starting to dislike Aaron, too.

And, of course, like almost every other review has stated, the book just ended … without giving anything a name.

So, in wondering who I would recommend Giving It A Name to, it would be my YA and/or fluffy readers who would enjoy this story the most. As much as I hate to discourage anyone from giving an author a try, I think the readers looking for a more adult book should probably skip this one in favor of trying her next release.