Four M/M Romance Mini Reviews

Care Blackstone O'Flaherty has put together four mini reviews of the latest M/M romance she has been reading. There is football, hot contractors and, ummm, a funeral director? If you are looking for a new romance book to read, one of the below might be just the ticket.

Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn

Oh, boy. This book. I picked it up on a whim, thinking the worst thing that happened would be that I had a new book, right? Oh, this book. This book. I totally need to run it by a Scot, see how accurate it is, but dear LORD, this book. It's angsty as hell, but it still manages to be fun, funny, and a hell of a good time. Fergus is the captain of an all-LGBTQ football team (it's Scotland, folks, round ball!), and he's not so sure about this John kid who wants him to agree to a charity "friendly" (scrimmage?) game in support of refugees coming into Scotland. Fergus is new to his captaincy, having only just been moved into the position after his boyfriend of several years (and the former captain!) took off for Belgium - with another man. The last thing Fergus wants is to get involved in anything that will bring more scandal - or into a new relationship so soon after his last imploded. Nobody told John that, though. John is a serial one-night-stand artist, with a family that is extremely bigoted (the terminology used in the book - with post-script explanation for US audiences, even - was racist, and as defined by the culture in play, is very correct). Naturally, the target of choice for John's family is the group Fergus identifies with. Hence the angst being on BOTH sides. I don't know what the deal is with this book, 'cause sports-type characters don't usually hook me, but I'll be damned if I didn't just rush straight out and start hunting down everything else in-world. I'm gonna need 'em. It looks like the series will migrate from couple to couple (like we see in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series on the M/F front), which seems to me to be an interesting way to keep things going without pressure to keep throwing the same characters into the fire time and again.

Rescued, by Felice Stevens

Ryder Daniels is on his own. Broken hearted, kicked out by his family for being gay, all he has are his two best friends and the pitbull rescue they run. Enter Jason Mallory - a contractor with a bitchy girlfriend and a pack of abused dogs in the ruins of his new construction project. Things... well, they mostly go as expected - Jason is hot, Ryder really tried not to fall for him, but... Yeah. It sounds from this that I didn't enjoy the book, which is far from the truth. I actually really did like it! If it sounds like I have 'but face' going on, that's 'cause I do. I enjoyed the hell out of this book, reading, and rereading whenever I needed something quick and light. It's a stand-alone, so there's no extensive time commitment to the story. However, sometimes the dialogue feels very trope-y - like it's something we've all read before and can recite verbatim (usually with either deadpan or over-the-top inflection). It's a very sweet book, with enough angst to feel 'real,' without being blown over the top, and immersion-breaking. In the end, we're left with a neat wrap-up, and a tidy epilogue, and a general feeling of completeness. I really did enjoy it - and will probably be back reading it again soon!

Learning to Feel by N.R. Walker

Doctor Nathan Tierney has spent the last two decades assuming he's just not interested in sex. Nobody has caught his eye at all. Then, sick of the stress and feeling like something's gotta give, he puts in for a one-year position at a tiny hospital in a tiny town in Maine, leaving his time in the ER of a major metropolitan hospital. He arrives in SmallTown USA, only to find that his house - which is included as a deal-sweetener - has a contractor living in one of the bedrooms while he finishes fixing it up. Nathan is stressed enough that you know what? It doesn't matter anymore, whatever. And off he goes, keys in hand. When he arrives at the house, he meets Trent Jamieson. Trent is the contractor, and damn is he hot. Even Nathan notices. There's a fair amount of internal wrangling from Nathan, who just isn't sure what to make of all this mess, and a whole lot of flirting from Trent, who knows exactly what to make of this - especially since he's going to be gone soon anyway. This book gets a lot of flack in the reviewing world for the giant volume of sex contained in it. The reason I tend to overlook that is simply that it all advances the story somehow or another. It's not thrown in there for shits and giggles, it's there either as a trigger for the next issue for one of the men, or as a resolution to something else (toward the end of the story, and I'm not spoiling anything). The book, in general, feels real, genuine, and less trope-filled than others, highs and lows that mirror the struggles we see portrayed when we listen to the voices in the LGBT community, and honestly, while it was (apparently) born of fan-fiction, I find it to be MUCH BETTER PUBLISHED WORKS than anything else I know of that was once fanfic, then turned published.

For The Living by L.A. Witt

Okay, this one is a little odd. Scott is a funeral director. Jay has only just lost his wife... before he had the opportunity to tell her he's gay. Jay and Scott hook up in an on-again-off-again fashion, with a lot of "is this even ethical?!?" angst thrown in. I can't get any farther than this without commenting that holy SHIT, the sex is blazing. A guy who can kiss, and loves to do it?!? Oh, man, just sign me the hell up. Shit, this one's both gay and fictional. Damn. Anyhow. The book itself is actually very focused on specifically Scott and Jay, with very little mention of 'external' characters outside of the occasional gone-to-visit scenes that progress either the angst or the plot itself. However, it is wonderful. Read it twice in rapid succession, read it back-to-back with other M/M books, it's sappy and wonderful and scorching and I want another one. Or two. Sadly, that barn door's been closed.

Let us know what romance books you have been reading lately.


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