Review: “After the Romance Novel” by Susan Laine

TITLE: After the Romance Novel
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
SERIES: Before… and After Book
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Bisexual; Come To Age; Gay For You
LENGTH: 96 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 22, 2017
PRICE: $3.96 -e-book


Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?

Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.

This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.

When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.

How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.

jologooptimummThis was a quick read, heavy on the ‘will they, won’t they?’ suspense! What would you do if your best friend read a personal file on your computer? What if that file was gay, erotic fiction that YOU had written? What if the characters had the same names as you and your best friend? Well, that’s the position Evan finds himself in when his best friend, Adam, gets bored waiting for him to get ready to go out and decides to look at his laptop! Adam finds himself in the reverse situation of having broken Evans trust by looking in the first place. Will their friendship be able to survive the subsequent upheaval?

Of course, Adam is a good friend so he has to read all of Evans books. He then has the added complication that Evans books turn him on when he reads them! Evan decides to tell Adam everything, about his writing, his research, watching gay porn and discovering along the way that he thinks he may be gay or at least bisexual.

Adam doesn’t quite know how to handle this new version of their old relationship, and he’s not actually sure of his own feelings either. Is he jealous, afraid of losing his best friend to another guy, or is there more to it? I liked both Adam and Evan and the way they tiptoe around their feelings for each after the truth comes out, it feels right for two seventeen-year-old, teenage boys. The angst and misunderstandings are spot on as is their emotional journey on the road to discovering who and what they are. Look out for the bathroom scene when Adam makes up his mind to act on his feelings, it’s hot!

For a short book, the plot and characters are well developed, and the sex is steamy! The ending ties up the plot lines well, even if it’s a bit predictable, but that was OK. I enjoyed the book a lot, and I immediately empathized with both Adam and Evan. It was easy to understand their emotional confusion and motivation. The plot is original, and it really works with the characters which isn’t easy in a book of this length, credit to the author.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***


Review: “Darkest Desires” by Noah Harris

TITLE: Darkest Desires
AUTHOR: Noah Harris
SERIES: City of Sinners
PUBLISHER: Books Unite People
COVER ARTIST: Stefan Morgan
GENRE: Paranormal; New Adult; Come to Age
LENGTH: 508 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2017
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book / $17.99 –paperback


New York City, 1977

Disco. Gay liberation. The Son of Sam. Urban blight. It was a wild time in a wild city, and no one wanted to get wilder than a young man from a hick town in Missouri. Fresh out of high school, Richard Miller has come to the Big Apple to take a big bite of forbidden fruit.

But among the dark corners of the city’s cruising scene stalks an ancient evil. It is hungry for virgin male flesh, and it knows just how to tempt a young man eager for thrills and new experiences.
As Richard learns, this temptation threatens his new community, and even the city itself.

Darkest Desires is a dark romance with steamy scenes and bad language. It’s only recommended for readers 18+.

jologooptimummThis book is not just maturely and cleverly written, it’s a unique vision of dark desire, twisted with snippets of, well researched, historical fact and erotic imagination. I warn you this book is not for the faint hearted! However, if you’re open minded and strong hearted enough it carries you, slowly at first, into another world. It’s like climbing the first incline of a roller coaster and then, when you reach the top, hold onto your hats as you’re plunged over the edge into a descent the likes of which you rarely get to experience in a book.
It’s 1977, Richard has just left high school and moved to New York City to get away from the small-mindedness of his hometown. He’s finally able to openly shout ‘I’m gay!’ Noah takes us on Richard’s tortured journey as he finds lodgings, is mugged and tentatively takes his first steps in a seemingly open, gay environment. He eventually makes good friends within the gay community and quickly finds out about the reality of life as a gay man in a big city. In the process, he also loses his virginity and learns so much more about his own desires and needs!

The 1977 Everard Bathhouse fire is part of his journey, and Noah offers his own fictional explanation as to the origins of the tragedy. Noah also gives the reader an eye opening, incredible sense of life as part of a minority often persecuted in the 70’s.
Although it actually starts out as a typical gay ‘coming of age’ tale it quickly becomes a much more mature, darker and more erotic, paranormal offering than even Noah’s usual stories. The plot includes, among other things, drug use, demons, the occult and rape, which some may find disturbing. However, they’re not gratuitous and add, deliciously, to the edgy feel of the book. There are so many incredible layers to this story it’s hard to put into words what I felt when reading it, which I did in one session as I couldn’t put it down. Time meant nothing as I was carried away on a tide of emotion, erotica and yes, horror!

The ending is well finished off, and the final chapters are a real high as Richard fights his demons, literally, realises his potential and comes into his own as a powerful, gay man. Noah also very cleverly leaves enough open for a second book! This is Noah’s mature, creative talent, clever intellect and twisted imagination working at it’s very best to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. I believe I’m going to enjoy this series immensely and can’t wait for book two. Miss out on this book and you miss out on an awesome reading experience! But…as I said before, this is not for the faint hearted!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book***


Review: “It Started With a Dare” by S.L. Danielson, Julie Lynn Hayes

TITLE: It Started With a Dare
AUTHOR: S.L. Danielson, Julie Lynn Hayes
SERIES: Southern Comfort
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Carmen Waters
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Come To Age
LENGTH: 231 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 13, 2017, 2nd edition.
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book


Boredom at the Junior Prom leads to a dare that leads to a kiss between two seventeen year old boys. Being gay in rural Georgia is no picnic. As circumstances force them together, Mark and Blake uncover truths about themselves, embarking on a daring relationship. But they’ve got one major strike against them already—Mark is unwilling to come out about his sexuality, and Blake doesn’t want to live in a closet.Can they fan the flames of their relationship, or will it sputter and die?

I had such a good time reading this book.
The story it develops in New Liberty where Dylan, Mark’s friend dare him to kiss the nerdy Blake. Mark being Mark just does that in the middle of prom in front of everybody.

Blake, mortified, runs out. That’s where the story begins…

Mark is living with his grandpa George. Nobody knows, not even his best bud Dylan, that his grandpa is regularly disciplining him, sometimes with belts and sometimes with his fist. That makes Mark have anger issues. He’s hot headed and he’s harsh with everybody.
Summer comes, and he finds a job in a burger house, not that there’s many offers in the small town of New Liberty. But there is Todd, his coworker, who’s teasing him about his “boyfriend”. Words lead to action, and Mark finds himself suspended from work for a week. Later, when Todd comes along to apologise, things become even worse. George comes to find out that Mark got suspended and he kicks him out of the house. He ends up in Dylan’s parent’s house.
Blake is a shy guy, and ever since Mark kissed him, he’s been battling between hating him and wanting to be kissed again. When all his hope is gone to have a summer job, him having applied late, he got a call that he can start at this burger house he likes to go. He doesn’t know just yet that he will end up being coworkers with none other than Mark.
With them being forced to work together, they call a truce…and that truce moves forward to friendship…and that friendship moves forward being…more.

Reading the book, it brought me into that hot summer lazy atmosphere, where you can hear the fly buzzing. It’s a sweet story about two teenagers finding themselves and each other in a small town where being gay is not accepted. Through losing family and friends, they manage to fall in love and be intimate for the very first time in their lives…

***The ARC was provided by eXtasy Books. My review is an honest opinion of the book***