Romancelandia 1: Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino

Title : Too Stupid to Live                         Word Count :80,500
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong…can they?

My Review : Sam can be described as a dorky flaming gay guy. He is a little bit shy and far too insecure. He has his head in the clouds and his nose stuck in a romance novel most of the times. It is definitely not surprising when he gets run over by a horde of rugby players when he gets a little too close to their field. Sam looks up a little bit dazed, only to be confronted with the most beautiful blue eyes on the most brawny highlander. Welllll, that would definitely be the case if he was a character in a historical romance. He is jarred back to the present when the rugby player gives him a hand while smirking at him. Sam decides to take his chances and awkwardly asks the sexy rugby player out. He is brutally shot down when the guy lets him know that he is not his type.

When Sam’s best friend Nik has a party, he eagerly attends hoping that he can just forget his humiliation with the sexy guy. Sam is utterly shocked when he comes face to face with the same guy , only to realize that it’s Nik’s boyfriend’s cousin Ian. Ian can be described as the worldly fuck’em and leave’em type. He immediately notices Sam as the dorky guy he knocked over on the playfield. As the night goes on , he becomes more intrigued by Sam, especially since his cousin Jurgen warned him to keep his hands off. He is a bit like a kid in a candy store, he just can’t resist the chase. By the end of the night, he has decided that he has to get into Sam’s pants.

When Ian corners Sam in his room, Sam is torn because he knows he is not Ian’s type, but he greedily accepts the attention showered upon him by this sexy stud. Ian pushes all of Sam’s hot buttons and he has the right commanding presence to make Sam fall to his knees and worship him. Sam is a little bit ashamed by how eager he is, but he has never had a hotter night than he did with Ian. Ian’s foundation is altered as well, because something felt different about his experience with Sam. There is just something about the geeky guy that he can’t forget.

Ian comes up with a proposition that he thinks they can both benefit from, but he has certain ‘parameters’ set in place. He makes it very clear that they are not boyfriends, they are just guys hanging out who occasionally have sex. Sam would really like to tell him where to shove it, but he is also excited by Ian’s dominance and he can’t resist exploring the glimmer of hope in the back of his mind.
Sam lives his life by the mandates of the romance novels he likes so much and the more he gets to know about Ian is the more he realizes that Ian is far from that ideal …..or is he?

Ian is a tortured soul who has some issues he is working through with a therapist. He is still navigating fully coming out of the closet to some of his coworkers, friends and family. Ian knows he will lose some along the way, but he is ready to take that chance to be with Sam.He is soon able to acknowledge that the parameters that he set for their ‘relationship’ is not able to confine the ever growing feelings he is having for Sam. On the other hand, there is Sam who is very insecure and definitely not sure of his own footing in whatever it is that they are doing. He is trying to shield his heart as best as he can , so that whenever the inevitable heartbreak happens, he will survive.

A turning point comes in their relationship when they come across one of Sam’s ex boyfriend one afternoon. Ian feels a sense of jealousy, but moreover he wants to protect Sam when he gets a glimpse of how the guy treated Sam. He sees where Sam’s insecurities stem from and makes it his point of duty to help him see his self worth. Their bond becomes stronger when Ian teaches Sam to trust him when they explore Sam’s submissive tendencies. He takes a scene out of Sam’s romance novel where he role-plays the part of a highland laird. As corny as it sounds , this solidified their relationship in a way that nothing else could. This was the means to show Sam how perfect he is, just the way he is in all his awkward dorkiness.

Like most romance novels, there is a big misunderstanding in the plot where Sam thinks Ian is trying to break up with him. It takes Sam being almost gay bashed for them to reconcile and admit to each other how much they love each other. I really enjoyed this one, there were funny moments and hot and steamy sessions between these main characters. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Sex & Mayhem 9: Heart Ripper by K. A. Merikan

Title: Heart Ripper                               Word Count: 303 pgs
Genre: Dark Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: You always want what you can’t have. —
David. Catholic. Gay. Set on keeping his purity ring.
Raja. Biker. Manwhore. Never refuses a bet.

David has always tried to be the best son his parents could dream of.
Always at church on Sunday.
Always eager to help with the garden.
Always trying his best at school.
Prim, proper, innocent, and kind.

But deep inside of him, there is a yearning planted by the devil himself, and when a cocky, foul-mouthed biker pulls him a step too far, David doesn’t fall into the abyss. He leaps.
Raja is all he’s ever dreamed of, yet didn’t dare voice. Older, dangerous, a wall of muscle with a grip so strong David can’t resist him no matter how hard he tries.

As a freshly appointed president of a motorcycle club on the verge of ruin, Raja has a lot to live up to. Being gay doesn’t do him any favors in terms of commanding the respect of his men. He has his way of compensating though.
Always first in a fight.
Always bragging about his sexual conquests.
Always up for a bet.
Daring, tattooed, sexy, and unapologetic.
After he boasts he can have any man he wants, he gets challenged to hook up with the preppy guy wallflowering at a party. Raja can’t wait to pop the innocent cutie’s cherry. But when he finds out the guy is his friend’s younger brother, life gets a whole lot messier.

Why is the one guy who should be off-limits always the most tempting?
POSSIBLE SPOILERS:Themes: Outlaw motorcycle club, organized crime, religion, homophobia, bet, good boy meets bad boy, coming out
Genre: M/M romance, suspense
Length: ~100,000 words (Standalone novel)

WARNING: This book contains steamy content and graphic violence.

My Review: Raja is the newly appointed president of the Coffin Nails MC in Toledo. When he sees the pure innocent wallflower David at a party thrown by the Detroit chapter, he is quite intrigued. David’s purity sticks out like a sore thumb amidst the sea of foul-mouthed bikers. Raja is dared to take a slice of this man’s innocence and he relishes the challenge. Raja corners his prey in the bathroom and sweet talks the good choir boy into dropping to his knees and worshipping him. David succumbs to Raja’s charms and for once he wants to take a walk on the wild side and not be such a goody two shoes. Raja soon has David panting and begging for it. Even though he is embarrassed by the things he does, something is unleashed within David. He personifies the slutty little cocksucker that Raja wants and he is thrilled by this forbidden behaviour. Their little session is super hot and David is totally debauched when Raja is done with him.
Raja makes his mark on David’s body by leaving him his phone number.The self recriminations start for David as soon as Raja leaves the bathroom. He feels incredibly ashamed and like the dirty slut that Raja had called him.Raja soon regrets his hasty hookup when he realizes that David is the brother of his bestfriend Hunter. He vows to stay away, but he can’t seem to get the innocent sweet boy out of his head. The same can be said for David. David feels really overwhelmed by his feelings, not only of guilt but of remembered exctasy. He makes a partial confession to the handsome young pastor at his church. When the pastor comes on to him, he is further confused. He decides to get away from his overzelous religious family for awhile by staying with his brother Hunter.
My two favorite characters Lucky and Tooth from the previous novels are reintroduced. They are getting married and Lucky gets David a job interview with the flower shop which is catering his wedding. David has a green thumb and he is very excited when he gets the position at the flower shop.He tries to set Raja straight by telling him that he is not gay and that their brief interlude was a mistake. Raja knows that David is fooling himself. He gets very angry and storms off when David mentions that he is thinking about conversion therapy, but he is also very concerned for David. It is this concern that leads him to send a pleading message to David telling him to forget about conversion therapy. It opens the line of communication for them again and it leads to them chatting back and forth in a civil manner.
Raja is called to his duties as the president of his club and he takes to the open road in order to establish himself with other chapters. He hoped that while he was away he could forget about David, but that is not in the plans. As soon as he gets back, he goes to see David at work. These two have an irresistible pull toward each other and it makes for some steamy make out sessions. They both realize that they have feelings for each other and David is living in idyllic bliss while they keep their rendezvous secret. This bliss turns to betrayal when David finds out about the long ago bet that Raja made with his friend. David is hurt and when Hunter finds out that Raja broke his baby brother’s heart all hell breaks lose.
Raja acknowledges the seriousness of his feelings for David when he loses him. Raja begs for forgiveness and tries to open up and let David see a side of him that nobody else knows. David sees the strength in their relationship when Raja reveals some of the clandestine plans that he wants to implement to take his chapter to the next level. It is very dangerous for David to learn all the nuances of the club’s business, but he decides he is in for a penny, in for a pound. With the help of Tooth and Lucky, Raja realizes that the ultimate commitment to his relationship is ‘coming out’ and claiming David for all to see. Hunter is definitely not happy with Raja, but he acknowledges that Raja coming out for his brother is a big step forward to having a committed relationship. I loved these two characters and it was great revisiting some old favorites and keeping up with their current life. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Blue Collar by Sean Micheal

Title: Blue Collar                                      Word Count :42,500
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Kendall Webber is deep in the closet. Between working in a garage, having been in the army and a fundamentalist preacher step-father who sent him to summer camps to make him straight, he’s learned to hide his sexuality from absolutely everyone.

Still, when Barton Willis the Third roars into the garage with his Mustang, Kendall can’t help but look, just a little. When Barton not only looks back but invites him in, Kendall’s whole world is turned upside down.

Can Barton help Kendall let go of the past and the attitudes he had literally beaten into him?

My Review : From the moment that Kendall meets Barton Ellis the third at the mechanic shop where he works, he knows he’s in trouble. Barton is just as flashy as the cherry red mustang that he wants to be serviced. It soon becomes clear that’s not all he wants serviced. Kendall is a bit uncomfortable around Barton and this feeling intensifies when his boss suggests that he should drop the flirty Barton home. Barton invites him to dinner as a thank you and Kendall tentatively accepts not wanting to offend a customer .
Kendall is very nervous around this man who exudes class and money. Barton pushes Kendall to open up to his desires. He sees something in Kendall that he can’t wait to tap into. Ken is very resistant to his advances at first, but clearly he is attracted. Barton stirs something that has been long held dormant inside him. Barton pushes him to explore their passion for each other and even though it feels really good it is tainted by shame. Through their conversations Barton realize that someone has had a hand in making Ken feel that his homosexual desires are wrong and needs to be repressed.
Kendall reveals that he was sent to conversion therapy when he was younger and this makes Barton want to hurt the people responsible. Barton makes it his mission to make Ken feel good about himself and he offers his home as a safe space to be free. Their explorations become less one-sided and Ken revels in these new feelings that Barton brings out. It takes awhile for Ken’s shyness to disappear, but there is a whole new world that Barton would like to gift him on a silver platter. Barton loves his toys and he has a wide array that he wants to introduce to Ken. The first toy he tries on Ken is the sound which he inserts in his penis. Barton explains that this will give him a more intense orgasm without the ejaculation. Ken is a bit unsure, but he gives in to Barton and truly let go. The feeling is exhilarating and so overwhelming that he breaks apart in Barton’s arms.
The more time they spend together is the closer they become to each other. Ken starts opening up about his horrific experiences as a kid at the conversion camp. Barton heart goes out to the little boy who was abused , but surprisingly not broken . He is amazed at how remarkable of a man Ken has turned out to be. He continues to show Ken just how much he adores him by inviting him to come live with him.
They get really comfortable with each other and start to live a blissfully idyllic life. All this changes slightly when they go on a shopping trip to the mall. Kendall is brought back to the real world and all his fears of discovery. While he is shopping he comes across his sister who he had not seen in months. It brought home how much he missed his sisters. He introduces Barton as his friend and leaves a card with her to contact Barton if ever she cant reach Ken. Its when they run into one of Ken’s homophobic coworkers where things get dicey. Ken knows he is going to face a lot of questions on his return to work.
The atmosphere definitely changes for him at work and puts a little distance between the young couple. It isn’t until Ken gets pushed at work causing him to break his wrist and leg that Barton knows the severity of Ken’s troubles. Barton is furious that someone would hurt his sweet young lover. He corals some of his high powered friends to help and convinces Ken to sue the garage and everyone involved. Ken realizes how in love he is with his sexy man. Barton has only ever encouraged him and Ken truly feels a sense of purpose in life now. In the end, he opens his own garage where he can use his skills as a mechanic and be his own boss. I really enjoyed this book, but I believe that the ending was too abrupt. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.