Monday, May 4, 2009
Mini Reviews: M/M Reading Challenge
I am participating in the M/M Romance Reading Challenge started by Christina from I Heart Paperbacks. I joined this great Challenge as part of a wonderful team of enthusiastic ladies from The Manhole at The Phade where everyone is having fun sharing recommendations, points of view and coming up with unique category ideas. The official challenge started on April 15 and will end by August 31, 2009. Here are some highlights on three of the books I have read so far.
Three Day Passes by Sean Michael
I wanted to start this challenge by reading not a Romance, per se, but the rawness of Gay Lit previously experienced through Sean Michael's work. In this, the first book in the Jarhead Series, Mr. Michael delivered. Our main characters are two Marines and a military EMT. Two of our characters have known each other for years and are more than "bedroom buddies," although we don't know exactly for how long. It almost feels as if we are introduced to them in the middle of the story, and as there are seven books to the series there is room for development. The third character is initially introduced as a "play" partner. A year later these three men are still sharing each other as lovers.
Each chapter is a three day pass, or encounter, where our characters meet and each is chuck-full of raw sex and passion. It is through those sexual encounters, the "almost" conversations, and all the important things left unsaid, that we become acquainted with and eventually invested in these characters. Surprising? Not really... it's Sean Michael's style of writing and what I enjoy about his work; his ability to convey feelings and emotions with few words, while placing you smack in the middle of a sexually overloaded scene. I recommend Three Day Passes be read by Chapter, and in my opinion, it would be best enjoyed if savored slowly and not rushed, otherwise you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sexual scenes.
Gay Lit Grade: A
Three Day Passes can be found at Torquere
Star Crossed 1: Demon Tailz by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine
Halloween night, Salem, Massachusetts. Jace Burton, a Demon who co-owns the successful bar, Tailz with his brother Konnor, meets Cash Rowan, a Hunter. Jace can feel Cash's darkness, pain and senses mystery, loss and danger -- as a demon he is attracted to all of it and has to find out more -- and this dark tale begins...
This IS a dark tale and one that kept me on edge wondering what else was coming, I quite enjoyed it! The darkness, the creepiness, the sexiness and the angst. These are not your run of the mill demons. I'll be following through by reading the second and third installments in the Star Crossed series. It was short and it made an impression. Not for everyone.
Paranormal Grade: B+
Star Crossed 1: Demon Tailz can be found at Torquere
My Only Home by Pepper Espinoza
Noah Hill has been away from home for 5 years and during that time, he did not keep in touch with friends or family. He left home and never looked back. He is now returning in an attempt to help his aging father. Luke Wesson has lived in Mountain View all his life where he and Noah had been best friends from first grade until Noah left town. Luke was married to his High School sweetheart and is now divorced and the single father of a little girl, Lili.
The "big misunderstanding" as a trope is not one of my favorites and although initially used to launch the story, it did not bother me here as it was cleared up quickly and things started to move. However, when Noah makes the same exact mistake he made the first time -- he decides to leave without explanation -- things started unraveling for me. It took me a couple of days to process this book, I had to really think about what it was that left me feeling so flat after finishing it, I enjoy Ms. Espinoza's writing and had high expectations.
In the end, I concluded that it was the fact that we were told these two men were friends since childhood, and yet, I did not really feel that connection between them... yes, they share some recollections, but that connection was not there to be shared with us as readers. There was a certain coldness to both of them -- even in their wanting of each other -- I didn't really feel the warmth or buy into their HEA.
M/M Contemporary Romance Grade: C-
My Only Home can be found at Amazon