My Top Five Picks for Dipping Your Toes Into M/M



Until around March of this year, I didn’t even know m/m books existed. I had read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and discovered a wonderful male couple, Qhuinn and Blay (or as their fans call them, Qhuay). Suddenly they were my favourite angst-ridden couple that I wanted to see overcome all obstacles and finally get it on. This led me to begin what has been a fantastic and sometimes bumpy ride, basking in all that is wonderful about the m/m genre. I've been discovering which books and authors I enjoy, and which I don't.

After the jump are five books or series I have discovered to date. They are a great place to start if you are curious about m/m. They have certainly rocked my world this year.









1.     Cut and Run Series
          by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban


The Cut and Run series is my number-one recommendation for the virgin m/m reader. The books are easy to read and not too long. Full of action, both the FBI kind and the sexytime kind. Many of my book club friends have managed to be “converted” to the glory that is Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, a couple of hot alpha males who sizzle on the page. Both are FBI agents who at first glance can’t stand each other. Garrett is holed up tackling cyber criminals. While he is great with numbers, he is bored out of his mind. He is also very polished and classic suit and tie. Grady is ex Marine Recon and loves his job, which lets him work undercover and on the edge. Imagine someone a bit rough around the edges. I enjoy a good love/hate relationship, and this series certainly dishes up the goods in the first book, Cut and Run.

Each book has a mystery to be solved that requires Grady and Garrett putting life and limb on the line. There isn’t a single book where at least one of them doesn’t get injured — for some reason, it always seems to me to be Grady. Don’t let that stop you from checking out these books, though. They are all action, suspense and a ton of love making. Just wait until you are hooked and reading the third book Fish and Chips!! If you don’t need to change your panties at least twice in that book, be sure to let me know and I will go search out something more tantalising for you.

To date, six books are published and the seventh is in the works, due out some time in 2013. Abi Roux is now writing the books solo and doing a fabulous job. She regularly interacts with her readers to keep Ty and Zane front and centre between books.

Books in order:
  1. Cut & Run
  2. Sticks & Stones
  3. Fish & Chips
  4. Divide & Conquer
  5. Armed & Dangerous
  6. Stars & Stripes
  7. Touch & Geaux (expected release 2013)
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5199022-cut-run
2.    Faith and Fidelity
          by Tere Michaels

Faith and Fidelity is the first in a series of three books, but can also be read as a standalone. The book is based around Evan, a cop who is grieving for his deceased wife, and Matt, an ex-cop who specialises in one-night stands. When they meet, a chain of events begins that neither of them can stop. Their interaction starts over weekly drinking sessions, where Evan mourns for his wife and Matt mourns for his lost career. Over time Matt realises that his feelings for Evan are not strictly related to "just friends". Suddenly each is faced with the issue of being attracted to another man for the first time and figuring out what he is going to do about it. Matt is the kind of person who does everything at a million miles an hour. Once he makes a decision, he jumps in one hundred percent and he doesn't really seem to think twice. I love this aspect of his personality. Yes, he does question his attraction to Evan. However, once he has made the choice, it is up to Evan to decide whether the relationship will progress. Evan is more cautious. He was married to his childhood sweetheart and has four children to consider.

I love a romance with a bit of angst thrown in. There was one point where I might have wanted one character to pull his head in. Theirs is a somewhat bumpy ride to happiness, but the book balances out reality and attraction just right. I hope you will love Evan and Matt as much as I do.

Books in order:
  1. Faith and Fidelity
  2. Love and Loyalty
  3. Duty and Devotion
  4. Cherish (not yet published)
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4801582-faith-fidelity

3.    Tigers and Devils
          by Sean Kennedy

Tigers and Devils is the funniest book I have read in a long time. I was shocked that I enjoyed it so much, because there is no explicate sex. All sex occurs off page, so you need to use your imagination. Trust me: (1) I have a great imagination, and (2) The book didn’t need it.

The story centres on Devlin and Simon. Devlin is a very hot, high-profile AFL player. (Australian Rules, for all you northerners. Just imagine guys in tight shorts and tops running around a field kicking and throwing a ball.) And Simon is a film-festival organiser. It is a classic case of opposites attract. Devlin is still in the closet, so the book centres on coming out in the open and how the couple deal with the media and fan pressure on their relationship.

One highlight of this book is that Sean Kennedy has created wonderful secondary characters in Simon’s best mates, Fran and Roger. I was often in stitches reading the dialogue between the three of them. Their interaction, which is the heart and soul of the novel, made me want to keep reading. The delightful characters just make you want everything to turn out okay for them. From Simon and Roger acting like "toddlers" when they have a disagreement, to attending AFL games together even though they support different teams, you can just feel the camaraderie leaping off the page. I was tickled pink during every scene that Simon, Fran and Roger had.

If you want a good giggle and a great, fast read, then this is the book for you. I read it in one sitting. Fran and Roger are the best mates a guy (or gal) could have.

Books in order:
  1. Tigers and Devils
  2. Tigerland
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6430659-tigers-and-devils

4.    Promises
          by Marie Sexton

I loved Promises. This book is the first in of a series of five books, but can be read as a standalone. It is by far my favourite book in the series, yet I was a bit reluctant to try it. I’m finding that, as with any genre, there are some m/m themes I like and some I don’t, and this book is a contemporary m/m. I am not normally a big fan of contemporary novels myself, coming from a fantasy and paranormal background, so I hesitated to pick this one up. Don't laugh now, as I can see that, yes, all my m/m picks I'm recommending to you here are contemporary.

The two main characters are Matt and Jared. Matt is a cop though, and that probably convinced me to pick up the book in the first place. Told from the first person, I very quickly fell in love with Jared and the world as he viewed it. I enjoyed seeing what made Jared’s mind work and how he started to have feelings for Matt. Matt has a hard time dealing with his feelings for Jared and fights them as hard as he can. Marie makes this aspect totally believable in her book, as we can tell that it is an inner struggle for Matt to go from being straight to being with Jared. BAM, the bolt from Cupid strikes, and Matt can fight the attraction for only so long. Yes, there is angst along the way, but all good romances like to inject a little angst to keep their readers on their toes.


Books in order:

  1. Promises
  2. A to Z
  3. The Letter Z
  4. Strawberries for Dessert
  5. Paris A to Z
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7493186-promises

5.    Caught Running
          by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

I know I shouldn't recommend the same author twice, but I adored Caught Running. It is a standalone book that is a lot of fun to read. (From my original review on Goodreads: “I love, love, love this book. Is that too strong?” ) The two protagonists are Brandon and Jake. From the first couple of chapters I wanted them together, and it was nice to read a book that was just heart warming and fun for a change, rather than action packed. Did it help that the main characters were two very hot teachers/coaches who looked smouldering in their baseball kits? Sure it did! There was also enough whimpering, sexytime and murmurs of “Baby” to keep me enthralled. Because let me tell you, one alpha calling another alpha "Baby" just makes me melt into a pool of goo. There is a lot of humour, which is also an aspect of the Roux and Urban books that I love; anything that makes me giggle gets a big thumbs up in my book. "Go Thundercats."

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2536103.Caught_Running

Honourable mentions

I can’t get by without a couple of honourable mentions. If any of these books tickle your fancy, then check out Hot Head by Damon Suede (fire-fighters) and the Psycop series (cops, of course) by Jordan Castillo Price. These feature great writing and riveting stories that will keep you begging for more.

Generally speaking, if you can find it in the mainstream romance section, you can find it in m/m. From regency, to contemporary, to fantasy, the world of m/m is just waiting to be explored.

I love a great m/m story that includes law enforcement or sports; however, I am willing to branch out and sort the good from the bad (and there is some bad out there, trust me).

Let me know below, do you agree with my recommendations? Are there any other books you would recommend for a first-time reader of m/m? If you are new to m/m, what books or series have you enjoyed reading to date? Is there a common theme you like?



**Special thanks to Amanda Garrett-Grady for providing great insight and ideas for this post.

Comments

  1. I adore this post! It's given me so many great ideas, as I've only read #1. I, too, got my m/m start from the lovely J.R. Ward and Black Dagger Brotherhood/Qhuay. I wonder how many of us she's converted, and more importantly, does she know it?! Considering that her first m/m book is due out in May 2013 (Qhuinn & Blay's HEA), that is quite an accomplishment!

    I've also read Hot Head, and it's fantastic! Really. I can't say enough about Hot Head. I loved Channeling Morpheus by Jordan Castillo Price. CM is a paranormal m/m, and it's a wonderful combination. ;-)

    Thanks, Angela, for the mention, but girl, this post was all you! (((hugs)))

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    1. Thanks Amanda. I wonder the same thing. It is all J.R. Ward's fault. I agree. I loved Hot Head Head too. It was hot of course. I still have to get to Channeling Morpheus, but you loved it, I know I will.

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    2. When I read BDB and especially the Blay-and-Saxton part I wasn't too thrilled. Not for being a homophobic, but just not my thing. SMH. Then I hear Amanda drooling all over Cut & Run and I knew I had to read those books. M/M? So what, I have to give it a try.
      I blame Amanda for everything m/m-related. Shut up.

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  2. Ooooohhh....I didn't know Channeling Morpheus had a paranormal component. Interesting!

    Even though I've read all the BDB books, I don't know that I'd say Qhuay got me into m/m. To me, they're just another story of the brothers that I'm waiting to hear about. Weird, I know. Ty & Zane were my first. The Wenches kept sharing so many hot quotes from the books that I had to check them out for myself, and that was the beginning of the end for me.

    I'm almost done with Caught Running. It's a fun read, but I think I can predict the end. We'll see. :)

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    1. Psycops is really good too Veronica, by Jordan. It also has a paranormal element and only around 100-150 pages long, so fairly quick reading.

      Quote overload of Cut and Run is essential before any new book in the series comes out, I believe.

      Caught Running was just a fun, nice read. I agree it was predicable.

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    2. I was a little off in my prediction on the end of CR. I actually predicted more angst. :)

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  3. Great post! I also discovered M/M this year, because of Heroes & Heartbreakers recommendation of the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. Once I read that first book, I was not only hooked on Ty & Zane (who are like crack, btw) but M/M as a genre. When I heard Ward was putting two male heroes together in her mega-popular vampire series, I knew I had to go to book 1 and start reading the whole series from the beginning. WOW, I am in looooove with Qhuay. Can't wait for March!

    I love your recommendations here. PsyCop is great. I have to throw in my two cents on two books I loved that aren't on your list. First is the Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon. Lanyon is amazing writer and anything he writes is great, but the AE series is so heart-wrenching and funny and hot... And it has a cop. Second is Sno Ho by Ethan Day. So hilarious. No law enforcement, sadly, but this book is laugh out loud funny. And hot.

    Glad to have found your blog. :-)

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    1. Hi Joanna. Welcome. I think M/M has really exploded this year, especially in my book group. I love Ty and Zane and completely agree they are like crack. We go a bit ballistic before a new book comes out and we have to wait until April.

      I love Qhuay so much too and have been in countdown mode. When Ward released a quote end of last week, I went a bit nuts.

      Thanks for the recommendation. Adrien English is on my to be read list. I've read Somebody Killed His Editor by Lanyon and loved it. Unfortunately my tbr keeps getting longer and longer. I haven't read Sno Ho either, but I like humorous too, so will check it out. Tigers and Devils made me cackle so I sure Sno Ho might be right up my alley. :-).

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  4. Awesome post, Angela! I'm glad you mentioned the Promises series. I often forget about those books when recommending books to m/m newbies, and that is a great series. The first one is my favorite too. Both Matt and Jared are both so yummy! Faith and Fidelity sounds great - why haven't I read those yet? Adding to my TBR, so thanks. :) And ditto Amanda on the Channeling Morpheus rec.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. I read Promises on your recommendation you know.

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  5. Wow, Angela! Great post! And thanks for the book recs!

    I am definitely going to put Faith and Fidelity and Promises on my TBR list now! Psycop series is already there. :D Faith and Fidelity especially sounds awesome. I too love the cop and sports books.

    I've read Tigers and Devils and enjoyed it, but I have to say that I was disappointed by the lack of sex in it..I'm a perv, what can I say? :D But I will get around to reading Tigerland eventually because the first book was a good read even without sexy times.

    I ADORE Caught Running. Brandon and Jake....asdfl;jkasdgasdf And I love Cut & Run series even more than that. Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are my loves, my passion, my OTP!

    And just like you and Amanda, I took the BDB, Qhuay, Ty and Zane path into my m/m love. It still kind of amazes me to think that at this time last year I probably wouldn't even have THOUGHT about reading books about two men falling in love. I wouldn't have given any consideration at all to trying it. And now I'm sooooooooooooooooo glad that I have. :D

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    1. Exactly the same Lisa. What a year it has been for me as well. I adored Tigers and Devils. I think the main reason was the humor really appealed to me, but I do wonder if part of that is because New Zealand is not too dissimilar to Australia in a lot of ways. So some of the says were very familiar to me.

      I love you Cut and Run passion. A common theme how fantastic that series is.

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  6. I started to read your blog because I found m/m exactly the same way..through blay and quinn =) I absolutely 100% agree with your list. Ty and Zane I have to admit may have surpassed my BDB obsession..never thought that was possible! Maybe it's because Abigail Roux has the interrogation room to keep my passion alive while the Warden hasn't been in the Cell with the brother in years..

    I must say that my 2nd favorite couple is D and his doctor in "Zero at the Bone". If your tastes are anything like mine (and I would say they are identical by your list!) I can't wait to hear what you think if you read it!!

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    1. Welcome. I have read "Zero to the Bone". Don't shoot me as I didn't really enjoy it that much. I got irritated by D's voice and the whole story really. I believe it started as a Brokeback Mountain fanfic - which I've read a lot of and that might have been the issue for me personally. However I do know a lot of people who have loved it. That is one of the great things about m/m is that there is something for everyone. So glad you found us and so thrilled you love Ty and Zane as much as me. :-)

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  7. Great post, Angela! I never read BDB (I hope to soon), so I got my m/m start with Ty & Zane, which I loved! I then went on to read a SPN fan fic, then read Hot Head, all of which were awesome. :-)
    I need to add your recs on my TBR list, especially Caught Running. I'm dying to read that one!

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    1. Thanks Jaym. Caught Running is a great story. Easy to read. Love adding to peoples TBR lists.

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  8. Amazing post, Angela. Thanks for the recommendations. Thanks to people like you, my TBR list is endless.
    I lost my M/M virginity with Ty and Zane, and GOD did I ever enjoy it. And then it was Hot Head (thanks to Lisa). My next will be Channeling Morpheus, thanks to Amanda.

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    1. I know that feeling. My TBR is ridiculous now. I'm never going to get through it unless I when the lottery and can retire ;).

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  9. What a fun post Angela :) I've only read the Cut & Run book so far and even though the m/m sex scenes don't do that much for me, I'm more of a f/m type when it comes to that, I really enjoyed the book. And the chemistry between Ty and Zane was intense, whoa :) Plus they are hilarious and I just loved the humor in the book. I will one day check out Sticks & Stones but my darn TBR list is getting sooo long, filled with so many books calling out to me, some more than others.

    The story of Faith & Fidelity and Tigers & Devils sound interesting, I might check them out one day... in the future... and LOL I personally don't mind the sex off pages, if there's a good story, lots of humor, a bit of an angst, great characters and a good chemistry, I'm good :)

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    1. Thanks Beta. I really enjoyed Tigers and Devils. It was the humour which made it a lot of fun for me. Plus I can't emphasise how funny Roger and Fran were. A real highlight in the book.

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