He Becomes A WILLFUL ROMANTIC–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for the third book in the Ganymede Quartet from Darrah Glass. As you may remember from my reviews of A MOST PERSONAL PROPERTY and A PROPER LOVER the Ganymede world is an alternate history universe where slavery still exists and Companion slaves, like Martin, are bred to be sold to the wealthy. They are meant to be sexual outlets for wealthy unwed teens, and to later become personal advisers in business and household affairs. It is the year 1901 and Henry is the son of NYC’s most wealthy man. He’s also in love with his Companion, Martin. Henry has always known he was a “fairy” but with Martin he not only embraces his unnatural urges, he’s scheming to celebrate them…

This is an adult read with explicit gay sex between two teens.

A Willful Romantic (Ganymede Quartet #3)My review:
Disclaimer: I am a super fangirl of this alt historical M/M romance series and stalk the author, unashamedly, so I can get my next Henry and Martin fix.

This is the third novel in the Ganymede Quartet series. It is best to read them in order.

Okay. Where we start in this book is New Years’ Day with Henry bursting with love for Martin. He so desperately wants to share his joy–it is a wonder to him how intelligent, beautiful Martin can truly care for him–about having a companion who is so caring. It troubles Henry that Martin may only love him because it is his job, and often questions Martin about how he might feel if he were a freeman.

Martin thinks this is all nonsense. He isn’t free, and has no desire to be free. He feels exceptional gratitude to have a master who values him as a person, and shows genuine affection.

The two of them are absolutely besotted. Still, this is all behind closed doors. True gentlemen make make use of their slaves, but they are not to kiss them, or ensure their mutual pleasure, or –Heaven forfend–confess to loving them.

But Henry is a willful romantic, and a Valentine has been procured. He is still nervous about Martin’s close friendship with a fellow slave, Tom, and he desires to know more about Martin’s history of training at Ganymede, but the edge of jealousy is wearing off. (Yay!) I really enjoyed Henry’s attempts at closeness with Martin. He laments the difference in their station only because slaves are free to be gay, and free men can be (secretly) gay, but a master/slave gay relationship is doubly tricky. His attempts at public claiming/closeness grow ever more dangerous.

Both Henry and Martin get a bit more voyeuristic in this book, but Henry continues to claim Martin all for himself–never sharing him. There is talk and fantasies about including a third, but Henry’s possessive stance soon garners him a bit of recognition, in a good way for a change. Slave relations are definitely in the forefront of this book, and we end with the knowledge that these boys are in for big changes.

Cannot wait for the next book!

Interested? You can find A WILLFUL ROMANTIC on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

A Vital Chemistry (Ganymede Quartet #3.5)If you want to know more of Martin’s story, each Ganymede book comes with a “companion” novella. A VITAL CHEMISTRY is told in Martin’s POV and recounts not just his current situation with Henry, but also a bit about Martin’s first, love, Richard–a fellow companion-n-training who dies during his 15th year at Ganymede. This is such a lovely book, very sweet, with a 14 y/o, tentative Martin having his first crush!

There is a lot of tenderness in the flashback sections, illustrating how all these boys came to depend upon each other emotionally, as well as physically. I really enjoyed getting more of Martin’s history.

I also really enjoyed Martin’s perspective on his current relationship with Henry. He is very pragmatic, and understands the social risks of Henry’s ardor. He must keep Henry in check–for Henry’s own good–even if it means denying his own desires. Still, he very much loves Henry and I so swoon for books with swoony love stories.

I’m not sure who adores Martin more:  Henry? Or me?

Interested? You can find A VITAL CHEMISTRY on Goodreads, Amazon and CURRENTLY FREE on Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Darrah Glass is a writer and generally inquisitive person who likes her fantasies to be as historically accurate as possible. She loves research, sex scenes, and researching sex scenes. She’s married and happily childless, does yoga, never cleans her house, likes shoes and toenail polish, and is vain about her hair. As far as her priorities are concerned, she’d rather write than do just about anything else, and she drives a 15-year-old car but carries really nice purses.

You can catch up with Darrah on Goodreads, her website and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Love Within ODIN’S SHADOW

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for ODIN’S SHADOW, a historical semi-romance from Erin S. Riley.  It is set in 870’s Ireland and Norway and features the troubles between an Irish bride and her Viking warlord husband.

Odin's Shadow (Sons of Odin Book 1)About the book:

Obsession. Treachery. Revenge. Redemption. Certain themes resonate across the centuries.

Odin’s Shadow is the first book in a series of three about a young Irish woman and the two Viking brothers who love her. The novel is set against the harsh backdrop of the Viking era in the 9th century, a time when the sight of a Viking longship sailing up the coast of Ireland would chill the blood of any man, woman or child. One young Irish woman, however, is not afraid of these Northmen, and a fateful encounter with one of them changes the course of her life forever.

Selia is a girl on the verge of womanhood, frustrated by the confines of her gender and resentful of the freedom her brother boasts of. She is intelligent and resourceful in a time when neither is valued in a female, and longs for an escape from her sheltered existence. Selia is fascinated by the tales of Viking raids told by her maidservant, and her hunger for independence is fed through the stories of heathen ferocity she hears at the woman’s knee.

A decision to sneak to the city’s harbor to view the Viking longships leads to an encounter with Alrik Ragnarson, a charismatic Viking warlord whose outward beauty masks a dark and tortured mind. With the knowledge that her father is about to announce her betrothal to a man she doesn’t love, Selia marries Alrik and within a day is on the longship bound for Norway and a new life.

As Selia’s relationship with her new husband grows, her friendship with his brother Ulfrik grows as well. The tension mounts between the two men, and as Alrik’s character flaws come to light Selia begins to have misgivings about her hasty marriage. Ulfrik’s desperate love for Selia causes him to reveal a secret from the past that threatens to destroy them all, and Selia is left to make a heart rending choice between the two Viking brothers.

My Review:

This is well-crafted historical semi-romance. I say “semi” because it is a rather strained romance between people who have opposed loyalties.

Selia is a foundling child, with a twin brother Ainnileas; both were adopted by a bachelor merchant, Niall, and raised in his home in Ireland. At the time, the Finngalls (vikings) often raid the Irish coastline raping and pillaging. Selia and her brother are casualties who escaped death. Selia suffered a head injury which leaves her prone to strange visions, and though beautiful she is petite and unsuitable as a match to the nearby tradesmen. She is betrothed to an ancient man, and upset about it, when she encounters a Finngall in Dubhlinn.

Alrik would normally just take a woman he wanted, but something about Selia is captivating and he chooses to abide by her wishes–and arranges a marriage against her father’s objection. Still, learning Alrik is bloodthirsty and a murderer doesn’t quell the desire Selia soon experiences for her strange husband.

En route to Norway on Alrik’s dragonboat, she speaks often with Alrik’s half-brother Ulfrik. Ulfrik is the son of an Irish slave, and spends time teaching Selia their Norse language. He is as attractive as Alrik, and Alrik is particularly sensitive to infidelity. He is moody, jealous prone to sudden violence and often isolates Selia–something which happens in his own home as well.

The more time Selia spends with Alrik, the more she wonders if she made a poor choice; it doesn’t help that Ulfrik is constantly warning Selia of the danger of her husband. It is soon that Selia learns of Alrik’s father’s madness, and Alrik’s own Berserker nature. Though terrified, Selia is still committed to helping her husband–and she can reach him when others do not try. Their bond becomes deeper, and still more dangerous. Alrik’s family warn her not to conceive, something completely foreign to Selia’s Irish Christian upbringing.

Entanglement in Norway only make Selia’s new life more difficult. Alrik’s daughter hates her, a slave may be pregnant with his child, and Ainnileas may just make good on his promise to find and rescue her from the heathen vikings.

Underlying all of this are Selia’s misgivings about marriage, parenthood and her new home. Ulfrik seems poised to take over Alrik’s duties–both as Selia’s husband and as warlord. Alrik’s walking a razor edge between sanity and berserking. And someone in their midst is a poisoner, who could end Selia’s new life before she even decides how to live it.

For a historical, this book is hands-down awesome. The richly detailed descriptions of the time are seamlessly interwoven in the narrative. At no time did I feel as if I was being instructed in Medieval history. Selia is a good narrator, and the bulk of this story comes through her point-of-view. I really was able to connect with her, and her plight: a young naive woman now married to a madman and target for destruction by any member of Alrik’s household.

The story has sexytimes, but they are on the down-low and not tender or erotic. There are some instances of bonding between Selia and Alrik, but that are even more which are questionable and leave Selia doubting her marriage. For me, it didn’t read like a romance. There was love and affection, but there was far more intrigue and mayhem. It really felt more like a mystery-caper with romantic elements. It was an exquisitely told story, regardless of the genre.

Interested? You can find ODIN’S SHADOW on Goodreads, and Amazon.

About the author:
Erin S. Riley has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in clinical counseling. She is also a board certified lactation consultant and has had extensive training in maternal-child health. Since Erin was a child, she has been fascinated with human nature and what motivates behavior. She enjoys writing stories that reflect real life: Erin’s books feature complicated, imperfect characters who love deeply, make reckless decisions, and try again until they get it right.

A lifelong lover of books, Erin taught herself to read at the age of four and hasn’t been without a book since. She is an equal-opportunity reader of fiction and non-fiction, and her shelves are filled with books on psychology, archaeology, anthropology, and general history. The social history of women and their place in society across the ages is a favorite reading topic of Erin’s.

Erin is drawn to any creative pursuit, from making hand-stitched quilts to producing mini-movies for family and friends from home videos. But writing has always been her passion. When Erin isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her two wonderful children, reading anything she can get her hands on, watching football, and renovating her house with her husband of 17 years who just happens to look like a Viking!

You can catch up with Erin online on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Tales of Dating and Marriage from Jay Northcote

Hi there! Today I’m chatting about a two-book contemporary M/M series from Jay Northcote. THE DATING GAME and THE MARRYING KIND are two sweet romances featuring Owen and Nathan, young men who find love when they didn’t expect to.

The Dating Game (Owen & Nathan, #1)My Review of THE DATING GAME:
4.5 stars for this quickie, British, New Adult M/M romance.

Owen and Nathan went to Uni together and had mutual friends but were never close. Owen, out and loving it, had a crush on (supposedly) straight Nathan, but never toyed with Nathan because why bother? Plenty of gay mates were available. That was then.

Now, Nathan has returned to Bristol and is out with Owen and his good friends, Simon and Jack, who are a committed couple. Owen decides to risk hitting on Nathan, having just learned Nathan is gay. Well, Nathan may find Owen sexy, but he’s not up for a one night stand.

No, if Owen wants to be with Nathan, he needs to work for it. Owen’s thrown off by Nathan’s insistence on not one, but FIVE sex-free dates. Try as he might, Owen can’t remember ever going on a single date with a bloke. (He is, admittedly, a tart.) But there’s something in this challenge that strikes a chord with Owen and he agrees.

They set up their dates for Saturdays, and over the course of the first few weeks develop a rapport. Calls, texts, and of course their shared time on the dates pull both Nathan and Owen in closer than either had imagined. Their make-outs resulting in aborted physicality ups the stakes, too. Funny how quickly they take to phone sex!

This is really a sweet read with two men who find a connection they didn’t anticipate. Nathan didn’t want to be a conquest, and Owen couldn’t imagine finding a boyfriend. It was a rewarding short read with plenty of titillating moments and a couple hot scenes. The two POV narrative worked for me because I was able to find both men charmingly vulnerable and hoped that they’d decide that five dates just wasn’t enough…

Spoiler: It wasn’t. HEA all the way.

Interested? THE DATING GAME is currently on sale for $.99 at Amazon, regularly-priced on AllRomance, and Barnes & Noble.

The sequel, THE MARRYING KIND is really just delicious. Owen and Nathan have stuck together for two years, and despite Owen’s great misgivings over marriage, he proposes. Then, he learns he’s on the downsizing list for his job. His lukewarm feet start feeling colder by the minute… Let the drama begin!

The Marrying Kind (Owen & Nathan, #2)About THE MARRYING KIND:

Nathan wants to put a ring on it, but is Owen the marrying kind?

Two years on from their first date, Owen and Nathan are living together and life is good—except they’re not on the same page about marriage.

A traditionalist at heart, Nathan wants it all: the wedding, the vows, and a pair of matching rings. Owen, on the other hand, believes marriage is old-fashioned and unnecessary. They don’t need a wedding to prove their commitment to each other. Love should be enough on its own.

All it takes is one moment of weakness on a night out to force the issue. Owen finds himself engaged after a half-drunk proposal, and Nathan’s enthusiasm sweeps him along. But as the big day approaches, the mounting tension finally combusts.

If he’s going to save their relationship, Owen will need to decide once and for all if he’s truly the marrying kind.

Feel free to check out my full review for THE MARRYING KIND over on Joyfully Jay.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Challenged to CARRY THE OCEAN–Review & Giveaway

Hi there! I’m so glad to join the blog tour for Heidi Cullinan’s newest release CARRY THE OCEAN. This is a contemporary M/M romance that absolutely smashes the common perceptions of depression and autism. I absolutely Fell. In. Love. with this book.

About the book:
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.

My Review:
There are books that change people for the better. CARRY THE OCEAN is one of them. I know not everyone cares for gay fiction, but this book is phenomenal, and should be read by anyone who knows a person with depression, or autism. Or anyone who has heard of a person having depression or autism. Or anyone who has no idea what in the Sam Hill depression or autism are. You there, the guy with the hat! Yes, you! YOU should read this book!

Seriously.

Because this book is about humanity, and being a whole human even if your humanity is complicated by depression or autism.

Here’s why: for people who are on the outside of these diagnoses, you maybe can’t appreciate the person who struggles with them. That is not to say you can’t see and notice them, but getting the whole scope of their existence is difficult. Most people only SEE the diagnosis; the tics or flaps of autism, the withdrawn flat affect of a chronic depressive. Emmet and Jeremey are not caricatures of their diagnosis. They are flesh-and-bone young men who have dreams and aspirations of a life, a REAL adult life. And, love.

Emmet is a 19 y/o certified genius. He has a highly-functional level of autism that is both amazing (he can count cards and write computer programs) and daunting. He is easily overwhelmed by too many stimuli and has a whole menu of adaptations to keep him from acting out.

Add to all of these challenges, Emmet is also gay. He has never had a boyfriend, and was homeschooled most of his life. He moved to Jeremey’s neighborhood ten months before, so that he could attend Iowa State Univ. Emmet and Jeremey’s properties align in the back, split from each other by a railway line. Because Emmet is fascinated by trains, he spends a lot of time watching his backyard, and that’s how he spots Jeremey.

It took me ten months to meet Jeremey Sampson.

Emmet recognizes his limitations, and starting college and a friendship is too much. He does a little bit of online stalking to discover Jeremey’s identity all to one purpose:

I wanted to meet him and find out why he was sad. Maybe make him happy. But I couldn’t. The truth was, I had a crush on Jeremey Sampson. I didn’t want to just be his friend. I wanted to be his BOYfriend.

And this is a big problem because, despite being a genius, Emmet’s hampered by his diagnosis.

I also have autism spectrum disorder. It’s not even close to the most important thing about me, but as soon as people see me, watch me move, hear me speak, it’s the only thing that seems to matter. People treat me differently. They act as if I’m stupid or dangerous. They call me the R word or tell me I should be put in a home, and they mean an institution, not the house where I live.
When people find out I have autism, they don’t think I should be allowed to be in love, not with Jeremey, not with anyone.

Did anybody feel a truth bomb explode in that passage? *raises hand*

Emmet knows the “people on the mean,” the “normals” don’t consider him, an adult autistic person, as more than a half-person, not someone who might have great aspirations to live without being watched, to love a partner without backlash. It is increasingly complicated for Emmet to find a partner, because of his sexuality, but I can imagine this is difficult for any heterosexual autistic person, too. Still, his character is so incredibly brave. He makes all sorts of plans, rehearses his first words, trying to vary his inflections so that he sounds “normal” all for the moment that he gets the chance to speak to Jeremey.

It took me ten months to introduce myself to Jeremey Sampson. To learn and memorize the etiquette, to find the right words that would show ME to Jeremey, not my autism. It took a long time and a lot of work, but I did it.

But this is why I fell for Emmet: he doesn’t hate himself.

I shouldn’t have worried so much about it. Frankly, I’m awesome, and anybody who doesn’t agree should get out of my way.

I had to agree.

Until EmmetJeremey, is a another animal entirely.

When you have an invisible disease, your sickness isn’t your biggest problem. What you end up battling more than anything else, every single day, is other people.

Jeremey unequivocally suffers severe depression. He is withdrawn and struggles even to get out of bed. He’s also prone to panic attacks and clinical anxiety–which mostly happens in public places. He is 18, newly graduated from high school, and his parents (misguidedly) shove him at colleges–a place Jeremey knows he’ll never survive.

Mom wanted a bright, smiling, charming son….I wasn’t the son my mom wanted.

His parents, in some sort of denial, will not allow Jeremey to take medication. Meeting Emmet is a shock to his system, in the best way.

If Emmet thought I was a tool, he didn’t show it. He waited patiently, rocking gently on his heels, staring at the place beside my head. His posture was so odd. His shoulders were too high, and his hands were all twisted in front of him. Sometimes he moved them, but only for a moment, and then he’d go rigid again.
He was cute. His hair was light brown and a little long, fanning around his face like he was in a boy band.

Emmet’s not sure if Jeremey’s gay, but he’s willing to at least be a friend to Jeremey. They strike up a tenuous communication via text and email which leads to visits. Jeremey’s mother is especially critical of Jeremey’s association with Emmet, but she recognizes that no other kids want to hang around her son and begrudgingly allows it. Well, until their friendship progresses to something…more.
I think Jeremey said it perfectly:

People saw us walking down the street to the grocery store or wantdering the aisles of Wheatsfield and acted as if we were escapees from the Island of Adorable, puppies dressed up in people clothes. Like we weren’t boyfriends, like we were fake.
No wonder I feel alienated. They’re the ones telling me I’m not like everyone else. It doesn’t matter how normal I am, somebody’s ready to tell me I’m different.

Nonetheless, Jeremey’s mom wasn’t happy to learn that her son was gay, and especially not happy to have him “dating” an “R” word…

Cue the meltdown that leads to the next meltdown, that leads to Jeremey in dire straights. Here’s the thing: Emmet is a superhero, to me and Jeremey. He makes a plan to get independent, so that he and Jeremey can live together. Emmet recognizes the toxic environment in which Jeremey exists and wants to help him escape it. Not one step of this road is easy, and yet there is no angst; there is only struggle and the drive to overcome.

Couple things…whole people have whole lives, and this includes a sex life. Emmet, due to his autism, is an extremely forthright person. He cannot operate in subtlety, yet struggles to make his needs plain in speech. Emmet wants a sexual relationship with Jeremey, and Jeremey reciprocates this desire. I’m not going to belabor this, but it is freaking beautifully, tenderly rendered. Sex happens, and it’s on the page, and it’s not lewd. It is as honest as every other experience in this book. It probably comprises 0.05% of the text. The rest is a fantastic story about two young men being THEIR normal, and finding love, and plotting their way in a confusing, overwhelming world.

I’m glad to have read this book. It changed me in ways that will undoubtedly resonate for decades. I hope it changed me so much that my kids learn to act better to special needs people because they will see me act better to them. (Not that I’m a demeaning person or ever treated an autistic or depressed person in a mean fashion.) I think WE, people on the mean, have unfair ideas in our “normal” brains that isolate autistic or depressed people because we see only how different that they are from us without even beginning to question how they are the same.

CARRY THE OCEAN is not a challenging read, it simply challenges the reader to see persons with these diagnoses as equal, not other. As human, not diseases. That doesn’t mean the book is a downer. On the contrary, the deft writing keeps the story from getting mired in misery. There are definite high points, and a constant sense that the book will have an HEA. The humor is light, and quiet, but present. (Think /facepalm v. LOL!) So many times I found myself smiling and cheering from this side of the screen. If I ever meet Emmet and Jeremey IRL I’m not gonna look at them like puppies in people clothes, I’m going to respect them and their struggle. They would have certainly earned it.

Interested? You can find CARRY THE OCEAN on Goodreads, Samhain (ebook & paperback), All Romance Ebooks, Amazon US (ebookpaperback), Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble (Nook & paperback), Google Play, iTunes, Kobo. I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a CARRY THE OCEAN prize pack.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Heidi CullinanAbout the Author:

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Love Made a MEMORY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a historical M/M romance from Doug Lloyd. MEMORY is set in Boston 1952–and features a Korean War vet, and the man he meets upon his return. It’s a sad-sweet story centered on personal freedom and frustrating social mores.

MemoryAbout the book:

Paul Nelson, a military veteran home from Korea, refuses to stand by and watch Kenneth Pittman, a young man he’s just met, get beat up by a group of teens. After a few chance encounters with Kenneth, Paul questions parts of his identity he’s been trying to suppress, and despite his struggles re-acclimating to civilian life and his personal fears, Paul finds the courage to ask Kenneth on a date. The two then begin a relationship.

But in the 1950s, cultural and societal norms threaten openly gay men. Paul and Kenneth can only see each other in secret, and Paul’s new boss, a former investigative journalist and proud bigot, has a habit of meddling in his employees’ lives. After tragedy strikes close to home, the two men question whether their slice of happiness is worth the trouble or if safety is more important.

After vacationing together in Provincetown, a gay haven, to escape the chaos, they decide to stick it out, only to return to the consequences of being outed to everyone they know. Ultimately, Paul realizes the freedom he fought for should apply to them too, and he must bravely act in defiance of society’s expectations to be with the man he loves.

My Review:

I got drawn into this story because I adore historical fiction. The setting, Boston 1952, was fully accessible to me as I grew up in an urban area listening to my aunts, uncles, and father talk about their cable car adventures and soda shops. Having three uncles and a father who served in the armed forces (between Korea and Vietnam) I was also drawn to the plight of a veteran returning from war.

Paul is confused. He just spent 18 months in Korea, fighting for a purpose he didn’t understand. Unlike WWII, the fighting in Korea didn’t seem to be Good v. Horrendous Evil. There were lots of gray zones, and it really didn’t help that both of his parents died while he was overseas.

His younger brother, Dave, is away at Yale when he returns to their neighborhood via bus. Almost immediately, Paul is drawn into conflict–saving a man from a beating in an alley a few blocks from his home. The streetwise brawlers weren’t happy to have their “fairy” prey escape, but Paul is a sturdy man, and still dressed in his army uniform. He prevails. Ken, the man he saved, was thankful, but gruff.

While airing out his empty house, Paul ponders the meaning of the war, and his own conflicted feelings about men and women. He’s only been with women, but has never been much attracted to them. In the war, there were men who had relations with other men–always under cover. It was seen as acceptable given that no women were present. But now, here in America, land of the free for which he put his life in the line, Paul doesn’t feel so free.

Paul takes a job in the city as a junior editor for a newspaper. His boss is a loudmouthed bigot who rails against women, “darkies” and gays, while having an outrageous office affair with his secretary. His childhood friend, Billy, with whom Paul served in Korea, thinks nothing of running down the homos, especially after a hate crime is committed in a nearby (suspected) gay bar. Clearly, the morality of these people is in conflict with Paul’s burgeoning awareness.

Meeting Ken again, and finding acceptance for his amorphous–but clarifying–desires, puts Paul in harm’s way back on home soil. His boss is suspicious, Billy is confused at Paul’s “freedom for everyone” stance and Dave…well, Dave starts to poke around. Especially when Paul takes Ken in as a “boarder.”

Paul, for his part, is filled with righteous indignation. He fought for freedom, but can’t be free to love the way that he wants. He gets a brief taste of freedom when he and Ken travel to Provincetown for a long weekend to write a travel review for his paper. There, the community is gay-friendly–having been settled by free-loving artists and bohemians. It is almost too good to be true, in fact. The differences between the life Paul wants to lead and the one society is pressing upon him are too great for him to stand.

I really liked this. The quietly-building romance is tender. Paul takes a lot of time to consider his feelings. He makes mistakes, and he makes amends. He deals with the toxic people in his life, and he finds the courage to be who he really is–finding people who will support him. There was a twist at the end that nearly killed me, as a reader, but the epilogue earned my heart back.

Interested? You can find MEMORY on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance. I won a paperback online at a Facebook party…

Doug LloydAbout the author:

Doug Lloyd is an author in his late twenties who moonlights as an attorney and business consultant in his spare time. Despite his many attempts to be artistic (music, drawing, film, clay arts), he has found writing to be the only creative outlet he is marginally good at. He is a trivia sponge—a trait which tends to make writing novels take substantially longer during research—and former *Jeopardy!* one-day champion.

Despite being born and raised and living his whole life in the Boston area, he is not a fan of the cold weather and snow and plans on one day moving someplace where the climate is a bit more balanced. Until then, he continues to wear one of his many orange sweaters during the winter months.

Doug enjoys writing across many different genres—romance, thriller, science fiction, and more—though his works tend to feature LGBT characters in major roles. When not clacking away at the keyboard, Doug spends time with his husband Eric and their three pets in Massachusetts, where they live. He is also an avid board- and video-game enthusiast, chef in his own mind, chocoholic, and insomniac.

You can find Doug online on Facebook, or via email: authordouglloyd (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

This Time it’s HIS SECRETARY: UNVEILED

Hi there! Today I”m sharing a review for Melanie Marchande’s latest release, HIS SECRETARY: UNVEILED. I really enjoyed the first book, HIS SECRETARY: UNDONE and thought I’d take a go on this billionaire romance sequel. Glad I did!

His Secretary: Unveiled (A Billionaire Romance)About the book:
There’s a sexy, sarcastic billionaire in my bed, and he’s wearing a wedding ring.

How did this happen? Oh, right. Last year, I found out my insufferable boss was secretly a steamy romance author, and me? I was his unwitting muse. That kind of thing can really charm the pants off a girl – if she’s a little bit nuts. Thankfully, I’ve never had more than a passing interest in normalcy.

Next stop, marital bliss! I mean, what could go wrong? It’s not like I have any ambivalent feelings about hooking up with the guy who made my life hell for five years. And it’s not as if Adrian accumulated a long list of enemies in his rise to the top. And we’re *definitely* not so stubborn that it’ll be a struggle to put away our pride and make things work.

Okay, so maybe all those things are true. But at the end of the day, all you need is love…and spankings.

At least, I sure hope so.

My Review:
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This is the second book in a series; it is best to read these in sequence.

Meg and Adrian are back–married this time. Adrian is a billionaire, owner of Risinger Industries, and taking a break from his CEO duties having resigned a few months back. He’s also a best selling erotica author whose books were a CEO/Secretary love affair based on Adrian’s own infatuation with his admin, Meg.

They had heat and clashes in book one, but resolved all of that to become Mr. and Mrs. On a whirlwind Hawaii vacation. Coming home to real life has been…stressful, however. Adrian isn’t used to sharing his personal space, and spend hours upon hours writing, and ignoring Meg.

Meg is confronted by her father, from whom she had been estranged, regarding the health of her love affair/marriage, and she doesn’t want to upset Adrian by discussing this advent in her life. He knows she’s keeping secrets, and he’s frustrated–and afraid she is getting too isolated from him.

Plus, one of Adrian’s former (male) employees is suing him for harassment and wrongful termination, and insinuating that Meg is a “beard” because she’s voluptuous and Adrian could clearly have a supermodel…

So, there’s a lot of conflict and not a lot of communication. We get some fun flashback insight, but the sexytimes are too few–which could be said of many marriages, perhaps. This is a “growing” book where the initial connecting passions have cooled and the”getting on with life together” phase is in full effect–which is not as exciting as a subject matter, but it’s still very real and approachable. I liked the way Meg and Adrian came together to work on their relationship, and how they made their lives more complete as a team. There is a clear resolution and a happy happy ending.

Interested? You can find HIS SECRETARY: UNVEILED on Goodreads,
Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

Melanie MarchandeAbout the Author:
Melanie Marchande claims she has “always been fascinated by that feeling, that little spark – that tingle – the way your stomach can flip-flop at just hearing someone’s name. We all remember what it’s like. With my books, I hope to make you remember that feeling, to experience that thrill one more time. And the best part is, you can always come back and experience it again, and again, and again…”

She is the author of the “I Married a Billionaire” trilogy. You can find Melanie on her blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Reunited in THE STORY OF JAX AND DYLAN–My review for Joyfully Jay

I’m back on Joyfully Jay reviewing a new release from Jamie Dean. THE STORY OF JAX AND DYLAN is a cute friends-to-lovers, contemporary reconnection, M/M romance form Jamie Dean. If you’ve ever wondered “Whatever happened to…?” about someone from your past, and thought about contacting them on Facebook, you’ll totally get this book. I really enjoyed it.

The Story of Jax and Dylan

About the book:

Dylan and Jax were typical best friends, until Dylan fell for Jax and kissed him the night before senior prom. Dylan had to move away before they could talk about it, so he has spent ten years thinking Jax hated him for that kiss.

Reconnecting on Facebook allows them to meet again, and they quickly become as close as ever, spending most of their free time together. Dylan falls for Jax a second time, even though Jax has a girlfriend and appears to be straight.

Important secrets about Jax may lie hidden in the books he’s written, but Jax has asked Dylan not to read them, and Dylan refuses to break his promise. When the truth finally surfaces, their lives will never be the same.

Head on over to Joyfully Jay Reviews to check out my full review.