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.

Safe 2: Safe in his Heart by Renae Kaye

Title : Safe in his Heart                                Word Count:93,035
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.

Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.

For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.

My Review: I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to this book. Here’s why, the whole premise of this book is based on breaking marriage vows, cheating, down low and inevitably possibly pulling apart a family with young children. However, this story is real, it’s something that happens all the time. There are so many men who suppress their sexuality for the sake of their families or due to religious beliefs and lead half of a life. Andrew is one of these men, he is married with two children and he says his wife doesn’t care about his extramarital affairs as long as he is discreet. Andrew comes off a little bit as a slut. The first time Paul makes eye contact with him is while Andrew is getting skewered in the bathroom stall of the gym and loving it. Paul is extremely turned on , but is a bit unsettled when he notices the wedding band on Andrew’s ring finger. As soon as Andrew is done , he offers himself up to Paul. Paul resists as he is a bit skeptical about getting involved with a married man.
Even though Andrew is rebuffed a few more times by Paul, he is not offended and there are no hard feelings between the two men. They start working out together and give each other pointers. The attraction that Paul feels for Andrew increases and it’s getting harder to resist this pushy bottom who doesn’t take no for an answer. There is definitely no temerity in Andrew and he goes after Paul like a greedy dog goes after a bone. Andrew attacks Paul voraciously the first time they hook up in a hotel. Andrew acted like a well trained porn star and Paul was in awe of this shameless man he was getting a glimpse of.
It soon becomes clear that Andrew’s powers to compartmentalize are becoming muddled when he starts thinking about cuddling with his hookup. Andrew is greedy for more material for the Vault, the place in his mind where he keeps all illicit thoughts and moments locked away. They go hot and heavy for a few weeks and the sex between them is passionate and the best they’ve both had. Andrew knows this is more than a hookup for him, as things have certainly moved into the category of having an affair.
Unlike Andrew who just brushes off his married status, Paul feels guilty at times. It is not until an acquaintance mentions that Andrew has kids that Paul feels the serious recriminations of his actions. Paul cancels a few of their hotel meetings, but before long they are back to their routine again. Andrew is shocked and petrified when he realizes that Paul knows about his kids, but he doesn’t know what to do as he is not ready for Paul to leave. In their own way, they both come to the realization that they are in love. They try not to let on their feelings for each other as they don’t want to put pressure on each other.
Little do they know that their lives are about to be changed and even more intersected when Andrew’s wife decides to leave him for another man. Andrew is selfishly upset at his wife for going back to her former married lover. He says he’s upset at how she left her kids, not really at the fact that she was throwing away the deal that they had. It is really sad that for him their marriage was just a cover story, something to keep his down low activities separate. Paul steps in seemlessly to help Andrew deal with his kids and get his home in order. He becomes more entrenched in the day to day running of Andrew’s family which leaves Andrew feeling a sense of fear at being discovered, but also one of rightness.
It doesn’t take Paul long to see the harsh realities of Andrew’s life. He soon realizes Andrew’s selfishness as he expects Paul to just fall into a role of taking care of his kids without the outward acknowledgement of being his boyfriend. Andrew still expects to play it straight to the world. Paul is hurt by Andrew’s expectations and nips this in the bud by telling him his position on what he expects out of their relationship. From Andrew’s arguments Paul understands that he feels dirty and ashamed at being gay and that is a problem steeped in Andrew’s religious beliefs which is the foundation of his life.
They both realize that they have to make some changes if they are to move forward. Paul takes Andrew to his parents church so that he can gain a new perspective on religion and what it looks like from the Anglican denomination. Andrew and the pastor have a real heart to heart about religion and how to understand and interpret it from a perspective that is not so archaic. Andrew leaves feeling like his foundation has been shaken and with his eyes more open. Andrew has a renewed love for God and Paul is right there to give him the support he needs.
Paul and Andrew have settled into a routine with the kids and are forming their own family rituals. They work together in perfect harmony and Andrew knows it’s definitely time to come out to the world. Andrew’s wife Kristy comes back when she hears rumours of him being gay. Her first time meeting Paul is explosive but she is calmed when Andrew reasons with her. They work out the logistics of their divorce amicably and she actually stands by their side to tell their straight laced families. They are far from pleased and this is definitely not a story book ending. However ,Paul and Andrew stand strong in the face of adversity. They are not picture perfect and definitely not without faults, but they love each other. Within their love they able to grow stronger as a couple and as fathers to two beautiful children. This is definitely the stamp of a great author, because even though I was on the fence at the beginning, I really ended up loving this couple by the end. They were faced with a hard situation and harsh choices of their own making, but they really pulled together through their love in a believable way. I give this my ratings of 4 -lose the underwear.

Zack’s Awakening by Jaclyn Osborn

Title : Zack’s Awakening       Word Count : 213 pgs
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Fear. Zack Greyson had never known the true meaning of the word until he suspected he might be gay—which wasn’t an option for the personal trainer and ex-football star. He’s tried to convince himself that his attraction to men is nothing more than just a mere curiosity, but when Jackson Parker walks into his life, that façade comes shattering down.

Jackson Parker is used to rejection because secrets never stay hidden forever. Left slightly broken and with no sense of belonging after his family’s rejection, he’s sought love in all the wrong places before. But meeting Zack, the hazel-eyed jock with killer dimples, Jackson steps out of his comfort zone and fights one last time for the happiness he knows he deserves.

Falling for a supposed straight guy was crazy, but for once, Jackson feels like his luck has changed, and he’s finally found someone who won’t throw him away. However, Zack struggles to discover who he is and who he wants to be. When his fear of coming out drives a wedge between him and Jackson, only one question remains: Which is stronger: love or fear?

My Review : Fear is an emotion that can often cause us to act irrationally. Zack understands this all too well. Zack has always been this all American popular jock that everyone loves and want to be around. Coming to terms with the fact that he is gay is very hard for him to do. He keeps on worrying about the perceptions of others. I found this very strange , since his own brother Gabriel is fabulously flamboyant in his gayness. Zack is very protective of his brother, and their father loves both of his sons unconditionally.
When we are first introduced to Jackson, I immediately feel the hurt that he feels from being rebuffed by Zack someone who he has become close to, but constantly pulls away when things get heavy. I guess what they say is true that no two ‘coming out’ experiences are alike. There were times when I felt like strangling Zack for being so concerned about others’ perceptions and hurting the people who mean the most to him. Jackson showed a lot of strength and patience and tried his best to give Zack the time that he needed to come to terms with being gay.
However, it took losing Jax and hurting his sweet brother Gabriel to finally get Zack’s head out of the sand. I really liked Zack in book 1, but I just found it hard to warm up to him as a main character in book 2. It was hard for me to reconcile the sweet caring brother to the very stubborn man who refused to step out of the closet proudly. Eventually , Zack and Jax got where they needed to be to forge a strong relationship. In my opinion, it took way too long for Zack to ‘man up’ and stop hurting sweet Jackson.
The main event for me was seeing the previous beloved characters Gabriel and Michael and watching how in love they still are. Gabriel is still as fabulous as ever and Michael is very much in love and pampering his princess. Their wedding was beautiful and caused me to get all weepy. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

The Next Call by Sue Brown

Title : The Next Call                 Word Count : 44,470

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Mark Grayson volunteers for an LGBT helpline, the same one that helped him through his teenage years. One day he takes a call from “Ricky,” a suicidal man being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want. For weeks Mark talks to Ricky and provides support, but he’s frustrated by the lack of information Ricky provides and the decisions he’s making. In the meantime, Mark starts a relationship with another volunteer. Then tragedy strikes and Mark takes time away from the helpline, but when he comes back, Ricky is waiting. Mark realizes Ricky is stronger than before and their relationship changes, but Mark isn’t sure what their future holds if their relationship is destined to be at the end of the phone.

My Review :  Death is something that I don’t think you can ever really prepare for, whether it’s your own or the loss of a loved one. Actually,  it is quite unnatural to be prepared for death. There is an innate instinct in all of us to fight to the last breath or to hold on close to the ones we love in crisis. At the LGBTQ hotline where Mark answers the phones, he is faced with talking people down off the ledge figuratively or real on a daily basis. Mark is always the friendly voice of reason that reaches out to these young men to save their lives in some way. His boyfriend Ian works at the hotline as well as being a busy  nurse at the hospital. After one too many complaints about headaches, Mark urges Ian to get it checked out. Before he can even follow through  on the advice from Mark, Ian drops dead at work from a brain aneurysm. Mark is grief stricken and devastated for the broken promise of their new found love.

 His pseudo family and friends at the hotline help him in his time of grief. He takes some time off to process the change in his life. Eventually,  he gets back into the swing of things but he withdraws within himself.  One of the men that he talks to through the hotline is Ricky. Ricky is very hesitant to share any information about himself.  All Mark knows is that Ricky is leading a double life, he has a wife and he is famous but he can’t risk his career by coming out. Ricky only  wants to talk to Mark, he just wants that one person with whom he can totally be himself. Mark and Ricky become really close and they form a friendship that causes Mark to break protocol and give Ricky his personal phone number. They talk a couple of times per week and these talks really rejuvenates both of them.  It is a getaway from the quagmire that is Ricky’s life and it renews Mark’s spirit so that he can see that there is light beyond death. These talks soon turn into sexy time for both of them. They give into their needs and burn up the lines with steamy phone sex. Hot,  hot , hot.

Mark is conflicted with the three men in his life and in his head: his  boyfriend past, present  and future . He is constantly bogged down after having conversations with his cheating ex Tam. He is stuck in the present with thoughts of what could have been a beautiful relationship with his dead lover Ian. Most importantly, Mark is realizing how attached he has become to Ricky, someone who is becoming so important to him, someone who he’s never met, someone who has no plans to leave his wife and live as a gay man.He wonders if he could have a relationship with someone who is as deep in the closet as Ricky, could this be his future?

Ricky finally gets tired of his situation and decides to give it all up, to just have a chance at a normal life. He really wants to explore and see what it would be like to have a relationship with Mark for whom he’s developed strong  feelings.  Ricky’s anonymity explodes when Mark starts putting the pieces together and realize he has been talking to Dicky Lomax a famous football player all along. Mark stands by him throughout it all and he’s there to catch him when he falls and his social life comes tumbling down around his ears. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try.   

West Coast Boys 1:King of Snowflakes by Michele Fogal

Title :  King of Snowflakes             Word Count : 68,474

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Grade twelve is flying by like a pride parade of gay freedom and love until Skyler finds his gorgeous downtown boyfriend cheating on him over Christmas break. The breakup leaves him raw and not up to ignoring the usual gay taunts from soccer star Ryan and his teammates.

When Skyler loses it, he’s surprised to find a straight jock like Ryan knows what it’s like to have your heart broken and what it’s like not to belong. Behind his cocky smile, Ryan is feeling hopeless about his grades, his chances of getting into university, and his lack of real friends.

When Ryan invites him on a family ski trip, Skyler thinks escaping the city will let him lick his very private wounds in peace. He doesn’t count on Ryan’s warmth and affection amid the grandiose snow-covered mountains with their wonderland white trees, or the magical way Ryan’s silky hair fills with perfect six-point snowflakes. He certainly doesn’t expect Ryan to have secrets of his own that could burn them both–or lead to Skyler’s first truly loving relationship.

My Review : Wouldn’t  it be great if we could  all stand up to our bullies? Well Skyler sure did, after one too many jabs about him being gay. Skyler is heartbroken after breaking up with his ex for cheating on him. He already feels like the weight of the world is on  his shoulders  and he is tired of feeling downtrodden. This is probably  why when football jock Ryan starts teasing him, he flipped out and gave him the proper dressing down he deserved. Ryan becomes introspective and he is ashamed at how he has terrorized Skyler.  He gains new respect for Skyler in the way that he stood up to him. He apologized to him, stating that it wasn’t  his intention to be purposely mean or homophobic.   Skyler is very surprised when Ryan acts like they are old chums the next day at school. Ryan is persistent  and it is pretty hard for Skyler to keep on refusing Ryan’s  offer of friendship. Ryan commiserates with Skyler about their teenage  heartbreak. Ryan helps to rebuild Skyler’s self-esteem, because he feels that he was at fault for his ex-boyfriend ‘s cheating ways. Their bond is taken to another level when Ryan  convinces Skyler to go on vacation with him and his family to their ski lodge.Ryan is a sweet , caring, very obtuse individual. It takes him awhile to see that he  is falling for Skyler  and to admit that he might be gay. 

It was a beautiful  journey for both Skyler and Ryan. Ryan taught Skyler how to ski,  but most of all Skyler  gained strength of will and emotional  fortitude.Skyler taught Ryan how to capture the beautiful things all around and live in the moment. Ryan wanted to be a better man for Skyler , but most of all Skyler allowed him to embrace his true self. They were very insulated  at the ski lodge, seeing as how they were separated from the outside world. The sexual chemistry  between them was a slow build and it was intensely  hot. Ryan’s family  was very accepting of Skyler and their relationship. Wish all parents could be so understanding and love their kids so unconditionally. This was a wonderful  love story that deserves my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.    

Favorite Quotes : 1.Their cocks slid together in Ryan’s well-oiled hand and Skyler gasped. It was so slick and so smooth and so hot. He gave in to it then and let his hips go, ramming down again and again. He lifted his face from Ryan’s neck and risked a peek at Ryan’s face. His eyes were closed, his eyebrows up, his lips parted. His face was wide open. Skyler came first this time, onto Ryan’s stomach, and then had a moment to worry that the sticky cum-puddle might gross Ryan out. That was settled quite definitively when Ryan smeared it on himself and came hard. (Very sensual and erotic, it doesn’t  always have to be about penetration.  Although  penetration is right up there on the totem pole 😉.)

Lucky Seven by E. L. Esch

Title: Lucky Seven               Word Count : 56,352

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Dante Mathers, college student, fifth year, has a track record for being dishonest with himself, and is about to undergo the biggest, scariest change of his life.

Dante’s forced himself to go out with girls in the past and he does it again when he’s approached by the beautiful Serena one day on campus, desperate to prove to himself that he’s “normal.” But when he loses a drinking contest and is dared to go to the next campus GLBT meeting by his best friend, he’s not sure how to handle it. Sure, he could blow it off and say he went, but something nagging at the back of his mind compels him to go anyway. After all, he’s had problems with intimacy in the past and his first crush was a boy in high school. But is he really forcing himself to go, or is he finally starting to be honest with himself? No need to overthink this, Dante tells himself. It’ll be get in, get out. No need to talk to anyone. Easy, right?

But then he meets Sven. Sexy, toned, wearing a leather jacket with spiked up bleach-blond hair, Sven’s bad-boy flare sticks out on campus and catches Dante’s eye. But there’s more to Sven than his punkish looks, and Dante’s about to find out all the sultry little details.

My Review : This was a sweet romance.  It is always refreshing to indulge in young love, watching them bumbling about is a joy. Dante has always questioned his sexuality in the deep recesses of his mind. He is a virgin who finds girls pretty, but  has never really been attracted to them. The first time he sees Serena,  he is spellbound by her ethereal beauty. They go on one date and even though he is shy , he finds her easy to talk to. His best friend Greg dares him to go to a LGBTQ  meeting after losing a bet. He is a little surprised to see how chilled the group is and he feels a bit guilty for going under false pretenses or is he? He leaves the meeting feeling even more confused than when he went in.

 Dante  is wandering around in the cafeteria one night when one of the LGBTQ members James , introduces him to Sven. Sven  is painfully shy and not very good at meeting new people. Dante doesn’t think anymore about Sven until he sees him one morning all beaten up and bruised on his front lawn. He helps Sven inside and tends to his wounds. They talk for a bit and Dante realize how easygoing Sven seems.  

When his best friend Greg  questions his sexuality after seeing him with Sven and reveals that Sven is a known cross dresser, Dante is shocked. He sees it for himself when he finds Serena all beaten up behind the bleachers at the track. It is obvious that Sven and Serena is one and the same. Sven is extremely embarrassed and explains that because of his shyness,  cross dressing is the only way he feels comfortable meeting new people. 

Dante admits to himself and Sven that he is attracted to him. Their relationship develops beautifully and they have lots of fun hanging out and exploring with each other. It soon becomes clear that Sven is very important to Dante. They share their lives and issues together and continue to encourage each other to be better men. Dante  has to come out to his family and it was a happily ever after all around as they accepted him with open arms. The sexual chemistry between these two was sensual, lighthearted and fun. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. 

A Beautiful Lie by Tyler Robbins

Title: A Beautiful Lie       Word Count:59580       Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Jesse Reagan has had more than his share of tragedy, and he may have been dealt another blow when, once again, cancer threatens the sister who raised him. Faced with the possibility of being left behind, Jesse vows to care for her young son, though he’s not convinced he can.

When Trip Cantrell returns to town, he’s blindsided the instant he’s reunited with his kid brother’s lifelong friend, Jesse. His inability to find happiness in the years he’s been gone, suddenly makes sense. Love’s been waiting at home all along.

Life begins to look promising, except for the fact that neither have come out of the closet publicly, and that’s not even their biggest problem. Someone has a secret so shocking they may never find a way past it.

Will they be accepted in their small Texas town, or will secrets, lies, and the threat of tragedy destroy everything?

Be Warned: m/m sex, frottage, rimming

Review:This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in awhile.The author brought out all the most poignant emotions of love lost, love discovered, friendship and family coming together in times of sorrow.It was very emotional, a real tear-jerker that touched me to the core.It was very sexy and hilarious in spots.It was the perfect balance of romance and real life situations. I absolutely loved this book.It was my first time reading Tyler Robbins and it definitely won’t be the last.

My Rating: 5 – Bring out the Vibrators