Training Season by Leta Blake

3 stars

Training Season Training Season is Leta Blake’s debut novel and the first book I’ve read by this author. It features the romance story of Matty Marcus a once Olympic skating hopeful and Rob Lovely a rancher/cowboy with a heart of gold.

Matty’s lack of discipline previously cost him the gold and a back injury completely sidelined him from skating. Now recovered he’s in search of a top coach and a comeback. But in-demand coaches don’t come cheap. A wealthy skating patron steps in to generously contribute to his Olympic dream in exchange for a six-month housesitting stint in rural Montana. This leaves Matty with plenty of free time to train and make enough money to hire the best coach in skating.

Much to his surprise, local residents in small town Montana turn out to be tolerant and friendly, especially his next-door neighbour rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. They begin a relationship and Matty learns much from Rob and about himself. With his newfound self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top. But competition has a timetable and to achieve his Olympic dream Matty must leave Rob behind to join his new coach in New York City and focus on winning the gold.

Continue reading

Reading Round Up: The Best in LGBTQ Literature for 2012

If I were to choose a theme to characterise my reading year in 2012 it would be the year of the debut and independent author. The majority of books I read either for my own pleasure or specifically for review were by first time and/or predominantly self-published authors. While self-publishing tends to get a bad rap in some reading circles, in general, my personal reading experience with self-published and independent press authors has been positive as I find that they are able to push creative boundaries not always readily achievable within the realm of more mainstream publishing. Works by several such authors have made the list of my reading best for 2012.

The list also features works by some of my favourite authors that have become staples in my reading life, they include Alex Jeffers, Erik Orrantia and Brandon Shire. Several new-to-me authors such as, Drake Braxton, Kergan Edwards-Stout, John Goode, Red Haircrow, Jeff Mann, Tom Schabarum, Lee Thomas and Arthur Wooten joined this list in 2012 and I look forward to reading their previously published and future books.

My reading best for 2012 includes a mix of novels, novellas, compilations and short stories across a variety of sub-genres and within the realms of LGBTQ fiction and non-fiction that were published in 2011 and 2012.

Continue reading

The Art of The Delaneys by Anne Brooke

Liam is determined to prove to the Delaney twins that he’s more than just a good bed-partner for them. His chance to show them what he’s worth comes unexpectedly soon when his boss at the art gallery, Melissa, is asked by the Delaneys to take part in an art scam, and Liam agrees to help her.

When the Delaneys turn up with their henchmen on the night of the scam, Melissa and Liam are startled to discover that it will involve a painting by one of their best artists.

Can Liam make sure the gallery doesn’t get too seriously involved and keep the Delaneys satisfied, in the only way he knows how, at the same time?

Continue reading

Entertaining The Delaneys by Anne Brooke

Since his initial encounter with the Delaney twins, Liam’s thoughts have turned back to them time and time again, and he can’t help hoping for another meeting. His chance happens one night when Mark Delaney rings and tells him to get into the car waiting outside. Liam does so at once, eager to see the twins again.

Once at the Delaney estate, Liam is at first overawed by the grandeur and style of his surroundings, the lush gardens replete with nude statues and the opulence of the residence itself, but seeing Mark, together with Johnny, focuses his mind on the entertainment to come. And it looks as if entertainment is certainly what’s in store. A business associate of the Delaneys, Mr. Buchanan, has agreed a deal with the twins, and part of that deal is Liam himself!

How will the evening end, and will Liam be able to handle the salacious challenges thrown at him this time?

Continue reading

Reading Round Up: The Best in Gay Fiction for 2010

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.

Continue reading

Reading Round Up: April-May 2010

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.

The Boy Can’t Help It: Sensual Stories of Young Bottoms by Gavin Atlas (Lethe Press) – Read Review

The One That Stayed by TC Blue (Torquere Press) – Read Review

Safe As Houses by Alex Jeffers (Lethe Press) – Read Review

Still The One by Shawn Lane (Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure) – Read Review

Tales From The Sexual Underground: Fact, Fiction and Stranger Than Fiction by Rick R. Reed (MLR Press) – Read Review

Happily Ever Before by Jaye Valentine (Noble Romance Publishing) – Read Review

Blue Ruin 4: Need You Tonight by Katrina Strauss

Blue’s summer is heating up in more ways than one. When he befriends Dusty Sterling, he sees the opportunity to give his master Derek their first true threesome. But first, Blue must meet a requirement issued by Derek.

Derek is content with Blue as his exclusive lover, but when offered the chance to bring the beautiful Dusty into their bedroom, Derek’s definitely tempted. He agrees to Blue’s idea under one condition – it’s Blue who must seduce Dusty.

Blind since birth, Dusty is proud, independent, and knows what – and who – he wants. In need of temporary shelter, he accepts an offer to stay with Derek and Blue. The fact that he finds them both attractive doesn’t hurt, but Dusty must let his hosts in on a secret – his unique and sometimes frightening way of “seeing.”

When Dusty’s nightmares reflect a pair of real-life murders, Blue uses his connections with the police to bring Dusty in on the case. The friends grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, but their bond will truly be tested by the evil that lurks in plain sight.

Continue reading

Blue Ruin 3: Chains of Love by Katrina Strauss

As Blue’s master, Derek has plenty of toys and ingenuity at his disposal, but his high-priced loft isn’t the best environment for raising Blue’s BDSM training to the next level. If only he had a basement and the proper “hardware …”

Blue has other worries. Still conflicted between his love for Derek and his feelings for Cameron, he’s due to face a killer in court and the accompanying publicity storm once the press connects the star witness to his powerful father. On top of that, he’s waiting to be accepted into cosmetology school. Seeking a break from the real world, he expresses his darker fantasies to his master.

Blue should be careful what he wishes for. When Blue lands himself in the clutches of the Balkan mob, Derek must negotiate his freedom. The highly dangerous, very sexy Sasha offers the couple playtime in his private dungeon during Blue’s stay. The catch? In exchange for Blue’s release, Sasha gets to supervise. It’s a hot and wild ride as Derek becomes the trainee, while Blue faces off with a stern dominant determined to break him of his headstrong ways. But could it be that Sasha is in store for a lesson or two?

Continue reading

Blue Ruin 2: Close To Me by Katrina Strauss

Blue finds pleasure in playing pet to Derek, but is eager to pursue goals outside of their relationship. When Blue starts GED classes and expands his social circle, Derek affords him room to grow, trusting their love is enough to keep his restless pet in line.

That love is put to the test when Cameron Carter reappears in Blue’s life. An abusive crush from Blue’s school days, Cameron is a reformed adult now and seeks absolution for old wrongs. While Blue must find it in his heart to forgive Cameron, the greater challenge lies in keeping his unrequited desire for the former bully at bay.

Derek’s torn between enforcing boundaries and allowing Blue closure to heal old wounds. Meanwhile, Cameron struggles to forgive himself for the pain he once caused the boy he secretly loved. As Cameron and Blue begin the road to recovery, the sizzling chemistry between them can no longer be ignored.

Caught between two strong-willed men, can Blue prove his loyalty to one while denying his attraction for the other, or, is it maybe just possible that Blue can have them both?

Continue reading

Blue Ruin 1: Some Kind of Stranger by Katrina Strauss

Derek Graves’ desire for the perfect sexual “prisoner” has left him with a dark reputation and a string of jilted lovers. He needs a partner who wants the pleasure and the pain he can give. After his search lands him on the wrong end of the fantasy at the hands of ruthless predator, Derek returns to his accustomed hunting ground of Blue Ruin with one purpose in mind: revenge.

He gets it, but he also ends up rescuing the predator’s next intended victim, a homeless blue-haired waif who is just Derek’s type. He brings the incoherent young man home, needing to find out what he saw, and ensure he won’t tell anyone. The scenario couldn’t be more perfect to service Derek’s dominant fantasies.

Shane “Blue” McGowan wakes up groggy, blindfolded, and chained to a stranger’s bed. Upon finding himself in luxurious surroundings, the cunning Blue realizes two things: he has no desire to return to a life on the streets, and his handsome captor stirs strange and unfulfilled longings in him.

Manipulating the terms of his own “imprisonment,” Blue swings a place to stay in exchange for his silence about a second stranger left beaten and unconscious behind Blue Ruin. To sweeten the deal, Blue agrees to become Derek’s submissive. But as their relationship progresses, Derek finds himself wondering whether Blue is truly at Derek’s mercy, or is Derek at his?

Continue reading