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Short Story Reviews #4

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Two Night Stand by Ellie Carrington

Blurb: Two guys meet outside of a small town girlie bar. Both of them would rather be anywhere else.
Gabe needs a sober ride home without his douchey ex bringing him down. Lincoln needs to put the mistakes that brought him to Hollow Forge behind him for good. A simple lift back to campus turns into one night together that leaves them both wanting more. One night becomes two, but soon their pasts are knocking at the door and the clock is running out on their weekend.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: Ugh! What can I say…..I ADORED this!
It was simple, straight to the point and adorable in a dozen different ways. I loved the characters, Lincoln and Cabe, and would love to read more about them. I love the hesitations, the uncertainties, the progression of their relationship and how impossible and silly they find it, to fall so hard for each other, so quickly.
It’s realistic, loveable and there isn’t one thing that I don’t like about it. I even love the whole discussion about having no ‘supplies’ in the apartment, how they both talk, frequently, about their exes and how it’s affected them. Too many authors try to have their characters move on from an ex, without admitting that their ex screwed them up and that it’s going to affect their relationship.

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Sleep Tight by Ivan T. Dickinson

Blurb: Sam has been in love with the MAN OF THE HOUSE for years now. With Adam’s wife out of town for a little while, Sam decides to make his move. But as he stands outside Adam’s bedroom door, he begins to have second thoughts. What if this all goes wrong? But what if it all goes right? Rather than live with a lifetime of regret, he takes that step into the room…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review: This is a 3.5 for me, because this was a book of two halves.
Part 1 was great. I really understood Sam’s conflict and angst. Although the whole step-son/step-father thing isn’t really my thing, I was intrigued and I’m glad I read it. The writing is great, the character development is brilliant and the story had real potential.
Until…
Part 2. Here, the moment Adam woke up and began the whole dom thing, with the dirty talk, just didn’t feel right. It lost me and slipped into cliches. I loved the story until this point, because it made sense for Sam, even if it wasn’t my most favourite plot. I was able to see past that and understand why it made sense. But as soon as Adam woke, the story was ruined.
I would have loved to have seen this as a novel, with a lot more angst, conflict and maybe Adam never waking up and it never going so far. Then Sam is the only one to know what happened between them, for a while. That felt more like where the story was going, from the first half.
For a short story, though, it was good. I would definitely read this author again.

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Coach (Campus Cravings #1) by Carol Lynne

Blurb: Being a gay high school football coach isn’t easy, especially in a small town. For five years, Justin has repressed his sexuality in order to keep the job he loves. His only serious temptation is the father of his star running back. Sparks fly between the two men, and one Friday night after a winning game, Justin just can’t say no. Luc is the man he’s been searching for his entire life. But is this new relationship worth risking his career?

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: Loved this! Carol Lynne is one of those great M/M authors, who was recommended to me and I’m so glad I listened. This was a fantastic read, well plotted, well explored and with characters that I get to read about again! I’m a sucker for a good series and I can just tell that this is going to be great. I love Max, Justin and Luc. They’re such a great set of characters.

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Bent Over (Tale of a Twink #1) by Arielle Pierce

Blurb: His 18th birthday just past, Alex surprises himself when he falls for a much older man on a night out with friends. He’s in for a bigger shock when the object of his lust is just as interested, only he’s looking for a quickie out in his car! Does he know Alex is still a virgin? Should Alex submit to such a rough man? What’s a twink to do?

Rating: ★★★★

Review: I really enjoyed this story. Although the progression was faster and not quite realistic for a virgin, it was well written, with a nice plot. Also part of a series, so I’d be interested to see where it leads.
I really liked Alex; he came across as a loveable character and Peter was a refreshing surprise.

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Tag Teaming the Bad Boy by Jackie Thrust

Blurb: 19 year old bad boy Griffin has always had his way with the ladies, but he’s never been truly SATISFIED. That is until he meets hunky billionaire TREY, who knows just what every MAN NEEDS.
Will bad boy Griffin be tamed by dominating hunk Trey? Read to find out!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review: I’ll admit that I didn’t read the blurb for this, when I bought it. It was free and it mentioned a bad boy, so I bought it. I’m willing to try anything, once, but this just wasn’t my cup of tea. Like another book I read this week, this started off brilliant. I was hooked for the 1st half, until Griffin called up Trey and went to his house. There the story just went flat and downhill.

Here’s why – I thought Griffin was real and likeable (to an extent), and even relate-able, until this halfway point. Up until then, this was something new for him, it was an explosion of previously unexplored feelings, that made sense of everything he’d been struggling to deal with and understand, before.
I even liked Trey, when we first met him. I could accept the whole ‘encounter’ between them, the first night they met, because they were drinking and Griffin was curious. I could even accept Griffin being good at what they did, because it’s fiction after all.
But once they reached the house, everything changed for the worst. Trey suddenly wasn’t a college boy with enough stones to go after what he wanted. He was a millionaire with a mansion. Again, another great storyline that falls into cliches. Even worse, I had a girl in my MM. NO! I do not like girls included in my MM stories. It’s a personal pet hate of mine, so that was one star off, for the inclusion of Sarah. Another half for the fact that it’s my sister’s name. Eugh!
Another problem I had, was that once they reached the house, the story began to shift between 1st and 3rd person, then had a major need of editing. It felt like more care and attention went into the first half that I liked, and the last half was just thrown in there, for some hot sex. Which, to me, it wasn’t all that hot, either. It felt messy and chaotic, and very much not what should have followed. It certainly wasn’t what we’d been prepared to expect, either.
My last real problem was that Griffin went from bad boy out for what he could get, to total slave, obeying a man who SLAPPED him! I will not tolerate violence in my stories. That kicked it down 1 star and a half. The fact that he called this guy ‘sir’ and ‘master’ after being slapped, really made my teeth ache. A real dom relationship doesn’t involve needless violence – this kind of slap would be abuse, since Griffin never agreed to anything with Trey. He has no right to hit him and it was really unbelievable that being horny made Griffin look past being treated this way and then being used as a sex toy, for his FIRST TIME having gay sex, by 3 men and a woman with a strap on.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
I’m sorry, but the first half deserved a 3, maybe even a 4 if it had continued on to be the same style and characterisation, but as soon as I got to that halfway point, it dropped to this 2. And that’s only because of the first half.
Great potential, but it fell short at the halfway line.

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Stepbrother Love by Nathan J. Morissey

Blurb: Lonely and closeted, Jordan is about to spiral into a depression when his compassionate and gorgeous stepbrother Lance enters the picture and heals his heart. But tragedy strikes when Lance becomes involved in the gay rights movement. Can Jordan protect his true love and stepbrother?
Stepbrother Love is an uplifting gay romance about the healing power of love.

Rating: ★★★★

Review: Before I start, let me ask you to put aside your thoughts about the cover and the title. They have nothing to do with the story.
This book wasn’t what I expected. I don’t normally like the whole ‘stepbrother’ thing, but the blurb intrigued me and it was free.
Now…the book I just read, has nothing to do with Stepbrothers and there is no Gay Rights Rally. Maybe it’s been changed, since the blurb was written, I don’t know. Also, FYI the guys on the cover are WAY older than the teens in the book.
Here’s the parts of the blurb that are true –
Lonely and closeted, Jordan is about to spiral into a depression. Yes. Compassionate and gorgeous Lance enter the picture and heals his heart. Yes. There is NO mention of them being stepbrothers and no mention of Lance becoming involved in the gay rights movement. Maybe this is because the book has been cut in half. I could believe that, but then I’d suggest a change of blurb.
About the book I read – it was beautiful. There were some issues with grammar etc, but they meant nothing by the time I was finished. Jordan’s journey of self-acceptance is sweet and would make a great read for any teens doubting their sexuality and struggling to accept it. The way Jordan struggles to decide whether to come out and wonders if God will still love him, really draws you into the story and lets you feel his confusion and pain.
Lance is a surprise package, both as a character and to Jordan. In my opinion, we don’t see enough of him, so I’d be happy to follow this story into a second book.
Trust me – appearances aren’t everything. This is a little YA gem of sweetness.

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