When I began writing this post I had the intention of listing ten of my favourite books in gay fiction for 2010. But it quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to restrict the list to only ten. Despite the fact that my reading time was more limited over 2010 due to the demands of real life and work and I read much less than in previous years, there were too many reading gems that I did read and could not omit from the year’s best.
Over the course of the year I made several wonderful discoveries in new-to-me authors, finally got around to reading books that had been sitting on my shelves for years, I received some great recommendations from online friends, some of my favourite authors released incredible stories and I gave myself permission to re-read some past favourites without guilt.
In the end, twenty books (novels, novellas, anthologies and short stories) made the final cut of my best in gay fiction for 2010 across several genres – contemporary, erotica, horror, historical, mystery, romance and young adult. Some were weighty stories, others lighter fare with happy endings, and several had unforgettable characters that continued to haunt me long after I was done reading their stories. But all the books listed as my best of 2010 in their own way dealt with the stuff of life and fed my mind, heart and soul.
Given all the activity and travel over the months of July and August I’m quite surprised that I managed any reading at all. Not much actually, but certainly more than originally anticipated. Reviewing was another matter altogether as I found it extremely difficult to sit still long enough, especially on the many glorious sunny days, to actually write reviews for all the books read over the course of both months.
In all, I managed to read five books of which I reviewed three. Two books read were from new to me authors, Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy and Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia, the latter of which I reviewed for Rainbow Reviews. I also read the first book in a new series by two of my favourite authors Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine entitled, Let Them Try, which I reviewed for Three Dollar Bill Reviews. All of the books read over these two months range within the good to very good categories and some are excellent.
With autumn just around the corner (although you wouldn’t know it with the 40° Celsius sweltering heat of this past week) and the cooler weather setting in soon I hope to fall back into my natural state of reading and reviewing more.
The business of real life continued to interfere with my reading and reviewing during April and May. Too much work and lack of free time prevented me from reading as many books as I normally would over a two-month period.
On the positive side, virtually all of the books I did read fall into the category of very good to excellent reads. So the theme for Spring 2010 is quality over quantity. I’m starting to get through the backlog of reviews and hope to fall into a more regular pace of reading and reviewing for the month of June.
“I wanted to write about people who were not just out, but out there, people who lived their sexual lives in ways most of us could only imagine … and for whom the flavor vanilla had absolutely no appeal. I interviewed porn stars, prostitutes, self-proclaimed sex pigs, and delved into bizarre sexual practices. It was eye-opening, arousing, and a lot of fun (but never, never good clean fun). I also include here my favorite dirty stories. They all explore a side of life that exists not in the twilight zone, but in my favorite destination … the sexual underground.” ~ Rick R. Reed ~
Tales From The Sexual Underground: Fact, Fiction and Stranger Than Fiction by Rick R. Reed is a daring and provocative collection of forty-three short non-fiction essays and fictional stories that explore the fringe of gay male sex – “fetishes, porn, misdirected affection, misguided objects of affection, polymorphous perversion or just plain perversion.” Both the title of the book and much of its substance are borne of a weekly column Mr. Reed wrote for a Chicago entertainment magazine called Nightspots. These non-fiction essays are complemented by the author’s favorite fictional dirty stories and the collection represents some of the author’s best writing to date.
At some point, hasn’t every bottom yearned to be ravished by a powerful, inescapable top? What dominant hasn’t fantasized about a gorgeous young sub with an incredible ass, so horny he could never say no? The Boy Can’t Help It offers over a dozen such stories of beautiful young men: a gymnast, a diver, a surfer, a marine and an assortment of college boys submitting to construction workers, horny professors, butch jocks, corporate titans, insatiable miners, and even one’s own psychiatrist.
Despite an extremely busy period at work I did manage to do a bit of reading over the months of January and February with a mix of books from some new and familiar authors and a reread of a beloved anthology.
Is romance over in this age of online cruising and anonymous hook-ups? For anyone who believes that love has left the building, here is an exhilarating collection of new gay fiction designed to reignite your belief in the power of romance. Follow the travails of a dog walker enchanted with his new client; check out the restaurant owner who catches the eye of his most loyal customer; don’t miss the blind date fix-up, as they stumble upon romance and a chance at real love. Featuring new work from well-known gay writers, these stories will make you remember what joy romance can bring to your life.
Virtually all the books I read this year are in the area of gay fiction (erotica, romance, horror, suspense, urban fantasy, western/cowboy, young adult, etc.), and as the year draws to an end I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite books and stories for 2009.
The two books that standout the most and I consider my #1 reads for 2009 are Amnesic Nostalgia by Zea Miller and Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction by editors Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane. These two gems rightfully take their place as part of the list of some of my most favourite books.
Forbidden Love is an historical anthology edited by Jill Noble featuring four short stories by authors (in order of appearance) Stormy Glenn, H. C. Brown, Anna O’Neill and Aleksandr Voinov.
My Outlaw by Stormy Glenn After getting injured and losing his horse during a cattle drive, Daniel Branson is ordered to ride the stagecoach back to his home ranch just outside of Brownsville, Texas. Little does he realize that it will put him in the hands of notorious outlaw Black Bart and his posse who take Daniel for ransom. While Daniel should be afraid for his life, all he can think about is getting naked with this handsome outlaw and Black Bart has plans for Daniel that don’t involve holding him for ransom!
Forbidden by H.C. Brown It is England in the year 1075 and Sir Renoir Danier finds himself in an intolerable situation when he is ordered by King William to marry an elderly Spanish countess Lady Isabella d’Coutier. Five years earlier, he met the great love of his life, Sir Sebastian. This deeply sensual dark angel taught him all that a man could give to another. Renoir became a slave to his erotic punishment. After a month of bliss, Sebastian sailed to Spain leaving Renoir with a shattered heart. A wedding gift from El Cid sees the return of Sebastian to England and the possibility for a second chance for Renoir and his dark angel.
Poisoned Heart by Anna O’Neill In Edo-period Japan, a prominent family might choose to foster a son from another clan in order to encourage peaceful political relations. When Raiden’s family invites twenty-three year old Masashi into their lives, their gesture has the opposite effect: Masashi kills Raiden’s parents. Now years later Raiden is studying with a master of magic who allows Raiden the chance to go back in time to kill Masashi before Masashi can lift a finger against his family. But when Raiden is faced with his guest-brother once again, much to his horror he finds that his old feelings for Masashi return. With the weight of the future bearing down on Raiden’s shoulders, can he overcome these troublesome emotions, or will his new weakness destroy everything?
Deliverance by Aleksandr Voinov Deliverance takes us on a journey to Jerusalem during the time of the Crusades. Former professional tournament fighter and mercenary William Raven of Kent has joined the Knights Templar to do penance for his sins. He has pledged his life to God and to the defense of the Christian heartlands. One evening during prayers, the Templars are summonsed to battle in defense of Christian pilgrims who are under attack. As the fighting ensues, William takes notice of a pilgrim who is fighting along side displaying “knightly” skills. It is Guy de Metz his former lover and one true love. Their unexpected reunion brings William face-to-face with a past he thought he’d escaped and one that now threatens to shatter the life he has vowed to God.
A collection of poignant short stories ranging from a two-minute read to longer tales of ordinary people leading ordinary lives until they fall in love and their lives become, for a little while at least, extraordinary. Written with tenderness, humour and compassion, some of the stories are heart-warming, whilst others will break your heart.