Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Waiting for Rain by Susan Mac Nicol

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Waiting for Rain by Susan Mac Nicol
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 280pgs
4.5 Pants Off

The village of Stamford, the quintessential chocolate box English scene, seemed an impossible dream for foster kid Toby Prentiss. Now he’s found a home among the haystacks and village fairs as the general manager for the Duck and Drake Hotel. With the fears and demons from his youth hidden away in this bucolic oasis, he’s very protective of who he lets in. Until he stumbles across shirtless carpenter Rain Engel building the hotel’s new custom-designed bar. 

Working in the countryside, Rain prepared to face his biggest fear: sheep. He didn’t expect to deal with his second biggest fear: commitment. Toby’s controlled, tough guy façade coupled with his “find happiness where you can” optimism calls to Rain like nothing before. While Rain may be an exhibitionist, his romantic history forces him to hold his emotions close. As their relationship develops, secrets from their pasts drive a wedge between them: the ex-boyfriend who tore apart Rain’s trust and Toby's history with the law. But can the secrets hiding among the quirky villagers bring them together? With missing sheep, pole dancing at the winter festival, and a crippling drought, everyone is waiting for Rain.

This sweet story is about two men who each came from different circumstances and yet, they find the home that they’ve always wanted in each other.

Toby Prentiss is a young man who has had such a hard life. Foster care, living on the streets, rented out his young body for a job and a roof over his head. But he has such integrity. He makes no excuses for how he grew up and how he got to be where he was. I love that he is so very honest about his past. He’s done some things that he’s not that proud of, but they have helped him get to where he wanted to be. He’s worked long and hard to have the position that he has. He truly deserved the happiness that comes his way in the form of Rain Engel.

Rain is a transplant from South Africa to England even if he did spend most of his life in England. He’s a good looking man who has also started over in this quaint little town. He had a bad break up with his ex about a year ago, with whom he was going to ask to marry him. He went off the rails for a bit and now he’s gun shy about starting a new one. He’s also a hard-working man who has this AMAZING talent with stripper pole. He’s so not sure he’s ready for a relationship, but Toby is barreling in his life and nothing is going to stop them.

So, this wonderful character driven story had me hooked. I loved that Toby, who had gone through so very much, was still willing to make a relationship happen and work with Rain. I loved that Toby had to help Rain see that falling in love again wasn’t a bad thing that they were able to help heal the wounds that the other carried.

I loved the secondary characters. Both good and bad. They really helped our characters see that they were strong and that they were loved. That they may do stupid things, but that they had people who cared about them. Now, some of the bad characters, they just hurt my heart. The things that they felt justified in doing, just to hurt our boys. Well, I was angry on their behalf and partly wanted to smack them in the head, REPEATEDLY. But that’s me.

There was some really great laugh out loud moments in this book. I’m on the bus to work and just started laughing like a loon, good times. There were also moments of such hurt and despair in the retelling of the guys’ stories that I had to stop reading and just find a way to make it through those parts. I’m glad I did. Toby and Rain worked hard for their HEA. Two men who started out thinking that this was just a good time, and seeing that with a bit of time and patience and work that they were falling in love.

Now, I will say that this book was pretty heavy on the sex. Not that I mind in the least. It was how the boys first got together and it was always something that they fell into. However, with that being said, it wasn’t just about the sex. It might have started that way, but Toby wanted and needed more. So did Rain, even if he didn’t know it. Some of the sex was hot and very steamy and yet, there was also the tender moments of being intimate. It was beautiful to see how they could show each other how they felt while being intimate that they couldn’t say otherwise. Sweet.

I will say that this book is a wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. I loved that it made me laugh and cry. That it broke my heart and yet found a way to put it back together again. A definite worth reading and read again story. You won’t be disappointed with this book.

4.5 Pants Off

Review: The Boy Next Door by Taylor Foxx

The Boy Next Door by Taylor Foxx
Novel: 204pgs
4 Pants Off

When the Roths move in next door, Lyle is immediately enamored by the three guys in the family: Jacob Roth, the handsome father; Kevin Roth, the rambunctious older brother; and Marcus Roth, a wild and friendly boy his own age.

As Lyle grows up, his relationship with the three men changes drastically. Each member of the Roth family teaches Lyle a new lesson about love - both carnal and romantic. While navigating the difficult waters of gay teenage life in small-town New England, Lyle must learn to balance his relentless libido with his confused heart.

Lyle is a young boy when the Roth family moves in next door. A family of three all made up of men, a boy his age, another older, and the father. He never expected how important the Roth men would become in his life, and as his age changed and he became older his relationship with the men changed right along with it. Lyle is like any other horny teenaged, but his sexual experience gets to another level when he starts to keep it all in the family.

Kevin Roth the older brother to his best-friend teaches him to suck cock for the first time which begins a sort of deal for them. He gets to suck him off and live a fantasy knowing exactly that nothing more will come of it, and when it ends it will be no hard feelings (although it hurts Lyle just a little). When summer rolls around and he's alone without his favorite Roth, his best-friend Marcus Lyle comes up with the crazy idea to sink his hooks into the father and thus begins his summer of love. While guilt plagues both men as they feel they're betraying Marcus their passion is lava hot and Lyle is a seriously horny boy but of course nothing good will come from sleeping with the father of your closest friend.

When Marcus returns from vacation with a boyfriend, Lyle can’t help but feeling a bit betrayed, and with Kevin bringing home his girl and his summer of love at an end Lyle is feeling a bit bitter. So of course he becomes an asshole and spill all the beans over a family dinner and leaves shit all types of awkward. Again, he finds himself alone and possibly without the men that were a deep part of his life. If only he had kept his dick in his pants.

First, I really like this book and the authors writing. I'm all about reading new things and this book didn't bother me in the slightest, while the content won’t be for everyone I surely liked it. You need to know that Lyle sleeps with that entire family and so at the end I can't take him seriously, but in the end I feel like Kevin and Jacob used him and Lyle was just too foolish to see. I don’t know how they'll cope with Christmas dinners cus shit will be weird as hell. The ending I feel was a bit over the top and crazy weird, and while I understand wanting to see something for yourself, that scene was just on a different level (talk about keeping it in the family).

Overall, really enjoyed it and recommend to those who want to read something fun and aren’t easily bothered. If you're like me and don't get shocked easily then this book might be up your ally. I look forward to reading more from Taylor Foxx and am so glad I took the chance and read this book definitely made my fave of 2014 list.

4 Pants Off


Guest Post & Giveaway: Working Backwards by Megan Derr

~WooHoo, the wonderful Megan Derr is stopping by the blog and dishing on her amazing series Princes of Blood (Amazing) and she brought an awesome giveaway. Help me welcome Megan Derr once again.~

I have always admired writers who can write out of order. They write part of chapter one, then a piece of chapter twelve, then all of chapter seven … and then somehow later they bring all those pieces together. I can't do that. I've tried, in the interests of learning new skills and wanting to be as flexible as possible when it comes to writing, but that particular skill is just not one I possess. When I write a story, I have to write 1,2, 3 … I can make notes on stuff that will happen later, but I can't write those bits until I get to them.

Past that, though, I have no particular need or desire to write in order. So something like Dance with the Devil, where the chapters go back and forth in time, is pretty easy for me to write. That might seem weird, but I wrote them in the order they needed to be. That they weren't in sequential order was completely irrelevant.

But Princes of the Blood is definitely the first time I've been compelled to write a series backwards. I know many people were disappointed the story did not move forward from Of Last Resort, but the story never came to me that way. It very clearly gave me three stories, and by the time I had them sorted out they lined up best going back in time. I maintain this is the best way to read them, though if you absolutely need them in sequential order you can read them backwards.

The amusing thing is that I actually started working on With Pride first. I got about four chapters in before I realized that no, I needed to stop, give in to the voices, and work on Of Last Resort first. Somewhere in the middle of that I also started In Despair because I needed to make certain I could line everything up correctly.

As exhausting as something like this, there's still a lot of fun to be had. Telmé and Korin are interesting because in OLR and WP they are very much rock-steady, in control characters. They keep Guldbrandsen and the Legion in line. Then comes In Despair where they are still extremely young and have no idea what they're doing (and are put through fucking hell. People think I was a jerk in Engineered Throne, ahahahahaha. That was a warm-up).

Kristof and Håkon are also fun in that backwards respect, because they're established and happy in OLR. I think of the three, their story is the closest to being light-hearted, and it makes a good break before the much more somber stories of OLR and ID.

So as weird, and occasionally frustrating, as I know it has seemed to readers, these books are stronger for having been written in reverse.


With Pride comes out April 16th from Less Than Three Press (third party vendors will follow after about 24 hours).

Of Last Resort can be found all over. In Despair comes out July 9th.



Leave a comment to enter, one lucky winner will get a free copy of With Pride. Giveaway will run until April 22nd, at which point I will randomly draw the winner. Make certain to leave a way you can be reached! Winner has 24 hours to respond, after which another winner will be chosen.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!


Megan is a long time resident of m/m fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she's not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies (especially all things James Bond). She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all around the internet.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: The Foster Family by Jaime Samms

Reviewed by Whuppsy
The Foster Family by Jaime Samms
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 330pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch. 

Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for fifteen years. Despite Charlie's willingness to accept Malcolm's unspoken domination in bed,something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed out Kerry from being washed away by the tide and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry's submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic. 

But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.

This story had so much going on that I was confounded just a bit. These three men were so I don’t like saying broken, but they were broken for lack of a better word.

Kerry is this young guy who has been in foster care since he was a wee lad of three. He’s been bounced from home to home. He’s found a way to protect himself by pushing most people away. Keeping them at an arm’s length away. That way, it won’t hurt if they have to part ways. He’s allowed his high school nemesis to have sex with him without any real boundaries or care about himself. He’s this lost boy that doesn’t know his worth. That he matters and during this story, he’ll have to learn his worth.

Malcolm Holmes is one half of the two men that Kerry falls in love with. He’s in his mid-30’s and he’s also been brought up in the foster system. His experience was a bad one. He’s use to cut himself when he felt out of control. Now, for Mal, control is a very big thing. He prides himself on keeping control at all times. However, Mal still has some issues that need to be worked out. Not just with himself, but in his long-term relationship with Charlie.

Charlie Stone is the other half of the couple that Kerry finds himself in love with. Charlie works as a personal assistant in an art gallery. Charlie used to be a photographer, but he no longer does that. Charlie also was brought up for a brief time in the foster system, but he was adopted out. His life isn’t all that he thought it would be.

Charlie and Mal have been in a relationship for 15 years and they keep adding guys who could be their third. Someone who can give each of them what they need. For Mal, it’s someone to spoil and take care of, like he wasn’t as a child. For Charlie, it’s someone to give him the submission that he requires. Mal and Charlie have been in this relationship that has worked but that there is something missing. Something isn’t quite right. Kerry comes in and it shatters the illusion that their relationship is fine.

I like that all of these characters weren’t perfect. I liked that each of them had issues that they really needed to work out in order for them to actually have a true relationship. I liked that that they really had to work on themselves. That no one else could fix them. That they had to do the work. They had support, but they had to do the work.

The secondary characters were really good in this story. I liked how they really pushed the characters to see themselves. They made them take accountability for their actions. That showed that they cared. They were honest and loving to the MC’s. Gave them what they needed, but also allowed them to have the room to make mistakes and also to grow.

I will say that this book did have some confusing parts to me. I didn’t understand why Kerry went back to Seattle for months on end to his last Foster Father’s house. I mean, I got it but I wasn’t ok with the length of time that he was there. I get that he needed to work on himself, but really? I also get that he needed to leave for Mal and Charlie to get their relationship back on track for them to grow as a couple and as individuals.

I will say that I had a hard time getting into these characters. I didn’t really care one way or the other about them. I find that the story wasn’t as enjoyable to me as I’d hope. The premise of the story was so amazing to me that I think I had such higher expectations than what I got.

I would say, it’s an ok book. It wasn’t bad just different. There was so much going on that I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. I liked that each of the MC’s weren’t perfect. That Mal and Charlie weren’t perfect. That Kerry wasn’t perfect. I liked that all three of these men had issues that they needed to work on and that they did. That they wanted to have a relationship that included all 3 of them, but they knew that they each had to fix the issues that were holding them back.

Overall, it was an ok book. It didn’t live up to my expectations, but it was a pretty good book, nonetheless. Good character growth, which I really liked.

3.5 Pants Off

Review: Final Admission by Sue Brown

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Final Admission by Sue Brown
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 230pgs
4.5 Pants Off

2nd Edition 

When Ethan Williams lands a job at Bingwell, Brock and Bacon, he realizes his coworkers aren’t exaggerating about James Trenchard. He really is a dick. But after Ethan is forced to work closely with James, he realizes there’s more to the lawyer than meets the eye. 

Vibrant Ethan is a desperate reason to live again as James endures silent guilt and abuse from his husband after an accident. He calls Ethan for help after a beating, and stolen moments soon become the norm, but they can’t hide forever. 

Ethan’s coworkers think he got his promotion because James is sweet on him, James is still being beaten despite his family’s concern, and the situation is swiftly becoming intolerable. Ethan and James need to find a way out of the cycle that’s hurting them both before their brand new love suffers as well. 

The book starts off with a bang and barely lets you go until just about the end. We start off the very first words of the story” Trenchard is a dick”. How can you not like a book that starts off with such a bang.

Ethan is just starting a job in Seattle at this great advertising firm as an advertising executive and he is getting his feet wet with the atmosphere of the company. He’s this wonderful guy. Big, handsome, kind and very generous he’s such a sweetheart. He is smart and a hard-worker. He’s also an outish gay man. He’s not hiding it, he just doesn’t advertise.

James Trenchard is the handsome, flirty, amazing lawyer. He’s loyal and passionate. He’s got life that isn’t what it was a couple of years prior. He and his husband were in a car accident and his husband was hurt. He’s now the abused spouse resulting from the accident that changed his husband’s demeanor.

James contacts Ethan after seeing him in a bar earlier that night. He stated that he was mugged, but the hospital personnel know better. Thus begins the friendship and affair that they will embark on that will change their lives.

This is such a great story. I liked how the author brings about a subject that is rarely told. Domestic abuse in a gay relationship. How this person stays thinking that love and perseverance will help the abuser stop the behavior. His love and loyalty to his husband is the thing that he knows will probably kill him before it will ever end.

James and Ethan meeting and falling for each other is probably the best thing for both of them. Ethan has to deal with knowing that the person that he’s fell in love with is in an abusive relationship and that there is really nothing that he can do to stop it. James has to be the one. James finally has found someone that means enough for him to live for. James knows that what he’s doing isn’t really working, but he’s been trapped for so long, he can’t see a way out.

I love that the secondary characters are loving, kind people. Well, most of them. They know that they love the main characters and yet, they admit that mistakes were made. Even knowing and some not knowing the full extent of what was going on. I really liked how they all grew, all the characters regarding what had happened and what was currently happening.

I will say that the author got me a bit confused towards the end of the story. James leaves town for his rehab and Ethan is left in Seattle by himself. Like it was mentioned and the next thing you know, its six months later and Ethan is banging some twink. I think the chapter should have said, six months later. Given some clue as to what’s going on in the story instead of reading it and being like, WTF? It jarred me enough that I was pulled from the story. That sucked. I was very invested in what was happening to our MC’s and then, boom…confused.

Overall, I liked the story. It was touching and very heartfelt. I liked that Sue brought up this subject that is largely silenced. You don’t really get a lot of stories about abuse in gay relationships unless it’s in a BDSM genre. Not that all of them are like that, but if there is abuse, it’s only in that regard. I like that the person being abused wasn’t some small twink, but a big, strong man a successful lawyer. It was a really good book and I enjoyed reading it.

4.5 Pants Off