Thu
May 21 2015 11:00am

Is This the Real Life... Male/Male Best Bets for May 2015

Shotgun by Marie Sexton

If you like contemporary romance and/or fantasy, this is your month. Sadly, I didn't run into anything in the way of frock coats or sword canes (though some of the fantasies do get into armor.)

Shotgun (Coda #7) by Marie Sexton

As a young man, Dominic Jacobsen already suspects he’s gay, and he gets all the confirmation he needs when a rich boy from out of town climbs into the back seat of Dominic’s GTO. One night with Lamar Franklin is all it takes to convince Dominic he’s found the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, that one night is all he'll get before Lamar returns to Tucson.

Fifteen years later Lamar returns to Coda, Colorado, after ending the latest in a string of bad relationships. He’s alone, depressed, and plagued by late-night phone calls from an unidentified caller. Lamar's ready to give up when he comes face-to-face with his past.

Since he was seventeen, Dominic has dreamed of a reunion with Lamar, but that doesn't mean he’s ready for it now. Facing small-town rumors and big-family drama is bad enough, but Dominic won’t risk losing custody of his teenage daughter, Naomi. The only solution is to make sure he and Lamar remain friends and nothing more. Clothes stay on, no matter what.

It seems simple enough. But for better or worse, Lamar has other ideas.

After 9 novels and short stories about the same three couples, it's interesting to see this small town series branching out. Some previous Coda favorites make an appearance, but this can be read as a stand alone. (Although considering the series contains Promises and Strawberries for Dessert, why would you want to?)

Signal Boost (Off the Grid #2) by Alyssa Cole

When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended.

In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.

Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.

The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.

This intriguing series has included m/f and m/m romance (so far) and has a racially diverse cast of characters. Reviewers say it has a YA feel.

Truth & Tenderness by Tere MichaelsTruth & Tenderness (Faith, Love & Devotion #6) by Tere Michaels

Newly promoted police captain Evan Cerelli takes command of his own precinct as Matt Haight’s security business begins to expand at a rapid rate. Both of their careers require more and more of their time—away from home and each other. When his most famous clients, Daisy and Bennett Ames, suffer a traumatic breakup, Matt is drawn into a dangerous and dramatic situation. With attentions diverted, Evan and Matt's tight-knit home life begins to unravel.

As Griffin Drake’s movie nears final edit, his thoughts turn toward building a home with his new fiancé, Jim Shea—and maybe even starting a family. Before he can think of a new family, Jim is caught up in his past. The possibility of putting Tripp Ingersoll in jail once and for all beckons, and Jim wants the closure that has long eluded him. As a new lead spurs him on, Jim begins to lose sight of the future by chasing an old ghost.

Both couples struggle to remember that “happily ever after” requires hard work, trust, and tender, open hearts.

The formerly straight friends to lovers continue to face challenges in the sixth book in the popular series.

Starting with the Unexpected by Andi Van

Zachary Blaise is having a weird week—even by his standards. Though he's gay, the radio personality has been dumped via text by a girl named Marian—and he's never even met her. On top of that, he's developed a massive crush on Marcus, the new waiter at his favorite diner. His best friend thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Marcus’s week hasn’t been his best either. He's been betrayed by those closest to him, and although he isn't the guilty party, Marcus is the one getting harassed.

Impossibly, things are about to get even weirder. Marian has secrets, and those secrets are going to make some serious ripples in Zach's life. When he discovers that the girl called Marian is actually the man named Marcus, Zach stumbles down a rabbit hole of abusive ex-boyfriends, psychotic relatives, and revelations from his own past. If he can survive the chaos, the journey might prove worth the effort.

This breezy first-person contemporary has two instant grabbers for me: love in disguise and an epistolary element. (The two do tend to go together.) This is the author's first full-length novel.

Immortal by Amy Lane

When Teyth was but a child, a cruel prince took over his village, building a great granite tower to rule over the folk. Greedy and capricious, the man will be the bane of Teyth’s existence as an adult, but as a boy, Teyth is too busy escaping his stepfather to worry about his ruler.

Sold into apprenticeship to the local blacksmith, Teyth finds that what was meant as a punishment is actually his salvation. Cairsten, the smith, and Diarmuid, his adopted son, are kind, and the smithy is the prosperous heart of a thriving village. As Teyth grows in the craft of metalwork, he also grows in love for Diarmuid, the gentle, clever young man who introduces him to smithing.

Their prince wants Diarmuid too. As the tyrant inflicts loss upon loss on Teyth and Diarmuid, Teyth's passion for his craft twists into obsession. By the time Teyth resurfaces from his quest to create immortality, he’s nearly lost the love that makes being human worth the pain. Teyth was born to sculpt his emotion into metal, and Diarmuid was born to lead. Together, can they keep their village safe and sustain the love that will make them immortal?

Looking at Lane's backlist, I'm surprised to see what a versatile author she is. Whatever genre she writes in, I'm always about the angsty stories, and this high fantasy looks to have it in spades.

Sacrati by Kate SherwoodSacrati by Kate Sherwood

As an elite Sacrati fighter in the mighty Torian military, Theos is blessed with a city full of women who want to bear his children, and a barracks full of men proud to fight at his side and share his bed. He has everything he needs—until he captures Finnvid on a raid.

Finnvid is on a secret mission to prevent the Torian invasion of his homeland Elkat. Being enslaved by Torian soldiers wasn’t in his plans. Neither is his horrified fascination with the casual promiscuity of the Sacrati warriors. Men should not lie with other men—and he should not be so intrigued when they do. He definitely should not be most intrigued by the leader of the soldiers who captured him and plan to invade his home.

For Theos, everything would have been easier if the infuriating, lying, bewildering Elkati had never come into his life, but he can’t stay away. When betrayal and treachery threaten both their nations, they must work together to stop a war that could destroy their homes forever—even as they begin to question everything they’re fighting for.

Sherwood moves away from her usual contemporary settings to explore a world in which homosexuality is viewed as a behavior rather than an identity. Be warned that there's explicit violence and potentially upsetting themes.

Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding

Two guys, a train, and lots of steam.

Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.

Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie, and realizes that for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built.

When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.

But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan's job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention puts both Ryan and Bess in deadly danger.

Oh boy, yet another geeky virgin hero. YAY! This is also one for readers who enjoy an author exploring a topic in depth, with lots of train info.

Have you found any special m/m books this May? What subgenre are you hoping for in June?

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Learn more about the books mentioned in this post: 

Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole  
Truth & Tenderness by Tere Michaels  
Starting with the Unexpected by Andi Van  
Immortal by Amy Lane  
Sacrati by Kate Sherwood  
Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Willaful has been diligently reading and reviewing romance for the past seven years, but for some reason just can't seem to catch up. She blogs at A Willful Woman and Karen Knows Best.

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2 comments
Kareni
1. Kareni
Thanks for a fun post. I've noticed that a number of Dreamspinner Kindle books are available for $1.00 including books by authors such as Tere Michaels, Marie Sexton, Damon Suede, and Amy Lane ~
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st_price-asc-rank?keywords=dreamspinner+press&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Adreamspinner+press&qid=1432229086&sort=price-asc-rank
willaful
2. willaful
Oh, I didn't realize that sale was still on! Thanks for the tip -- some great titles there, including Promises. For those who aren't Kindle users, the books are also on sale at the Dreamspinner site.
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