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.
September and October were steady reading months with some very good to excellent reads. Early in September I revisited (and reviewed for the first time) two of my favourite books by gay romance/erotica author Sean Michael – The Center of Earth and Sky and its sequel Painting the Desert now available only in a compilation entitled, Center (Torquere Press), and made a small dent in my reading pile with Tere Michael’s third book in the Faith, Love and Devotion series and the eagerly awaited sequel to Faith & Fidelity – Duty and Devotion (Loose Id). I also had the opportunity to review for Rainbow Reviews The Guardian Angel of South Beach by Neil Plakcy (Loosed Id) an author I’ve been wanting to read for a while, as well as reviewed for Three Dollar Bill Reviews Test of Faith by Aleksndr Voinov and Raev Gray (eXcessica Publishing). Finally, I had the pleasure of reading George Seaton’s Big Diehl: The Road Home (MLR Press) which I reviewed for Three Dillar Bill Reviews and his short story entitled Continuum (Untreed Read) for Rainbow Reviews, both of which I absolutely loved.
After their happily ever after in Faith & Fidelity, Matt and Evan move forward to a new chapter of their lives – inside the bedroom and out – with some surprises in store for both. Evan struggles with labels and feelings even as he wants to give in to his baser desires. Matt, now the ideal househusband of Queens, New York, has his own set of struggles – who is he now? What does he need and want?
A visit from Matt’s friend and one-night stand Jim Shea (of Love & Loyalty) throws everything into disarray as Evan’s jealousy and unease push Matt’s buttons – and not always in a good way.
Despite regular work-outs, out-of-shape computer geek Leo can’t build the body he dreams of. Then he meets a strange old man who mixes up some magic pills, and Leo’s body blossoms. But even though he’s developing a killer body and having lots of great sex, he’s not happy, until he begins to change his personality, too. Can becoming The Guardian Angel of South Beach, protecting the weak, weird, and drunk from predators, make him happy and help him hook up with Dan, the man of his dreams?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?