Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & Book related stuff

My week was deliciously filled with all sorts of book related stuff.
Early in the week I received a package from Chris with a yaoi novel and two of her ManLove cd’s. It’s always nice to receive packages by mail, but especially with content like this. Thanks, Chris! 
I actually found the time to do some bloghopping two nights in a row this week. Yay! And consequently I immediately bought too many books again because of the reviews I read… (sigh)
On another night of this week I had the girls from my book club over to discuss Emma Donoghue’s novel Room and all sorts of other book related stuff.
And last night after work I met Lis (who you might know from her guest reviews here) for a bite and a drink and lots and lots of booktalk!

In between I managed to read quite a few pages. However, my reading was all over the place this week. Last weekend I started reading two books, one m/f and one m/m. This is my usual MO, whenever I read an m/f I read an m/m romance on the side, so it’s nothing unusual. In this case the books were Trust Me by Sydney Somers and Puppy Love by Jeff Erno. Both books are good reads so far, but I haven’t finished them yet.
For the book club meeting I had to finish Room by Emma Donoghue.
And then Tam distracted me with her review of a short read at the Brief Encounters blog, which I happened to have on my ereader and I impulsively started reading it (One Night Stand by Cassandra Gold from the Friction anthology) and subsequently I read another story from the same anthology: Yes! by Kim Dare. Both were very enjoyable!
Then the next day I had some train traveling time, it was crowded and I was not in the mood for my fellow commuters joining in my smexy reading, so I decided to start one of the audio books I have on my phone. And so I got sucked in by the ‘voice’ of “MacKayla. Mac for short” from Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever, who uhm… charmed me with her remark about age: “Thirty was a million light-years away. Forty wasn’t even in the same galaxy.” Ouch. Thank you Mac! ;)
And to make it even worse/better, this morning I opened and started reading the anthology Wishing on a Blue Star. It’s free and features stories by Z.A. Maxfield, Amy Lane, Jan Irving, Victor J. Banis, Jambrea Jo Jones, Clare London, Mary Calmes and Lex Valentine. The anthology was written in honor of author Patric Michael who is battling cancer. Both Chris and Jase brought this book to my attention. It’s a free download here.

So, now I’m in the middle of four(!) different books and I can’t decide with which one I want to continue first. Maybe it’s best when I start a fifth book then, lol! Or maybe I should let you vote. :)
But since it’s Happy Gay Friday I think I will pick one of the m/m reads though.

Or instead of reading this weekend I better start writing the guest posts I promised to write for bloggy friends Jen, aka Twimom, and Patti. Jen is starting a month of celebrating today and she invited me to join in the fun with a guest post. Woohoo! She has wonderful prizes to give away, go check it out here.

And Patti has an M/M Romance Month starting next week about which I’m very excited as well, even if she hadn’t asked me to be part of it! I just love this genre. And look at her button!

I’m still not sure though what to write about. I’m free to write about anything M/M related (my favorite book/series, how/when I started reading this genre, favorite topics in m/m books, books everyone should read, etc.), but I can’t decide on the topic.
So please tell me: what do you think would be an interesting thing to hear/talk about for this guest post?

Have a Happy Gay Friday!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Wrapped Around Your Finger by Fallon Blake

Fallon Blake
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Ellora’s Cave, 2010

Plus-sized fetish model and aspiring chef Indigo Hartley has plenty of tattoos and a fiery attitude to match. When she's offered a job as a sushi model for one of Miami's trendiest restaurants, she jumps at the chance. Little does this country-mouse-turned-city-vixen know that what starts out as a modeling job will end up the answer to all of her kinkiest fantasies. Three days serving as a sub to this hot chef is too tempting an offer to refuse.

Banner Faust has worked his ass off and sacrificed his love life to become a rock star in the culinary world. On what should be the biggest night of his career, he realizes something is missing from his life-the submissive woman he's always craved. The curvy new model with the blue-streaked hair and innate submissive nature just might be the one he's been waiting for. And when he gets her home-and in his bed-he soon realizes three days will never be enough.

Genre & Keywords:
M/F, BDSM, Contemporary, Food, Full figured heroine, Tattoos, Miami

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author

This short novel has a sexy, dominant chef as a hero and a sassy, tattooed fetish model as his submissive heroine. When Banner and Indie meet she's nearly naked and modeling for one of his culinary highlights: lying on a table, dressed with food (among which the deadly blowfish) and having people eating from her body. Indie is a bit unsure about her body, since she's a plus-sized model and her ex-boyfriend always commented on her figure. But Banner is instantly smitten with her and loves her appearance. He also recognizes a natural submissive in Indie and likes to spend some sexy time with her, so he makes her an offer which she can't refuse.

The next three days they spend together as a Dom and sub. Indie is new to all these experiences and Banner knows from the beginning that she's the woman he's been looking for to spend the rest of his life with. She's afraid to admit her feelings although she's having the best time of her life. This causes a little conflict in the end, but everything is resolved very quickly. So this novel is not an angsty one, which doesn't mean it's emotionally underdevelopment. Because since Ms Blake has focused her story mainly on the relationship building, there's plenty of room to explore her characters' emotions and feelings. I must admit that I would've liked to see a bit more of the hero's inner thoughts and feelings, since I felt the focus was more on the heroine than on the hero.

The BDSM scenes can probably considered being on the light side if it were not for the last scene, which takes place in public. The majority of the scenes are about obedience and control, there's a little spanking involved and some anal play, but hardly any bondage and no gags. I thought the sex scenes were scorching and super sexy, which shouldn't be a surprise with such a perfect and hot Dom controlling the scenes. Maybe my only complaint is that Banner felt a bit cliché as a Dom and too perfect, with him knowing exactly what was right for his sub Indie, whom he only just met. So, he seemed a bit too good to be true... And perhaps their whole relationship building went a bit too smoothly, especially given the fact that the story takes place in only three days.

But other than that this was a very enjoyable and sexy story which I couldn't put down and which I finished in nearly one breath. The author's engaging and pleasant writing style contributed to my reading pleasure, something I already experienced earlier with her first novel, This Side of Heaven, a paranormal book. No matter if Fallon Blake writes contemporary or paranormal romance, she knows how to hold my interest with her stories.

Fallon Blake’s website | weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter | on Facebook

Buy Wrapped Around Your Finger here


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Bloodlines by Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee
Breathless Press, 2010

Evin KinKaid, the only son of the KinKaid pack's alpha, has a secret. One that will tear his family apart. In one year, Evin is to succeed his father as alpha leader and continue the dominant bloodline of his family. There's only one problem: Evin is gay. When Evin is pushed into the bed of his intended female mate, he's forced to reveal the truth. And for an alpha male wolf shifter promised to a female whose goal is to one day be queen, coming out has never been more explosive.

To Mason Thorne II, heir to Thorne Global Inc., life is a lie. To sustain his father's love, Mason has agreed to stay in the family business and to one day assume his place as CEO. Instead of reaching for his heart's desire, he's settled for a life he never wanted. But an unexpected auto accident will send Evin and Mason into each other's arms and down a path toward a destiny neither man can escape: an eternity sealed in blood.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Paranormal, Shapeshifter, Wolves

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author

I've been in a shapeshifter mood lately and Bloodlines was just the right book to keep me satisfied in that regard. The main character, Evin, is a wolf shifter and not just that, he's also the Alpha Prime of his pack. As the only son born to the alpha of the KinKaid wolf pack, the responsibility of mating and continuing the dominant bloodline of his family falls to him. But he happens to be gay, something he can't keep a secret any longer when his mate to be, Jocelyn, wants to share his bed. He blurts out his sexual preference to her and shortly after that his father bans him from the pack.

Fast forward one year. Evin is working as a car mechanic when Mason, a handsome human, brings his car in after he had an accident with it, due to the sudden appearance of a white wolf on the road. When Evin and Mason look at each other in the car shop it's lust at first sight. Fortunately for them it'll take a few days before the car parts that are needed to fix Mason's car will arrive, so they can spend a long weekend together. And they use most of their time to have scorching hot sex. I thought these scenes were written very well, they made me believe in their attraction immediately. However, while the physical connection between these two hot heroes was obvious, I missed a bit of the psychological connection. Although they both are/were in similar situations - trying to live up to their father's expectations and having to subdue their sexuality for that - they never share anything from their lives with each other. They don't talk about anything other than how hot they are for one another.
Yet, after only four days their feelings have turned into something that looks suspiciously like love. Somehow this is not completely unbelievable, because through the intimate, sexy scenes the emotional connection is conveyed quite clearly. Still, I would've liked to see more of their developing feelings taken place outside of the bedroom.

Then the end of their short period of time together nears and they both are reluctant to say goodbye. But how can a wolf shifter and a human, who doesn't know anything about his lover's other identity, have a future together? Here the plot takes an unexpected turn, which seems to make a happy ending impossible at first. Although the plot development that leads to a solution is not very unpredictable, it is worked out well by the author. I wanted to keep reading to know how things would unfold and that brought me some well-written action scenes, some heart wrenching and a sweet and lovely happily ever after for Evin and Mason.

Overall, Bloodlines was a highly entertaining and sexy read. Although the protags' relationship suffered a bit from insta-love, it was saved by their wonderful chemistry and believable emotions. If you're looking for an erotic, yet romantic, read with quite some smexy scenes that never become repetitive in their descriptions, mingled with some beautiful wolf shifter action and an entertaining story that is mainly concentrated on the building relationship between two hot men, then I can certainly recommend this book.

Jessica Lee’s website | weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter | on Facebook

Buy Bloodlines here


Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday’s Hot Couple & Stylish? Me?

What better way to start the Monday after a festive weekend than with browsing through my hot couple pictures and receiving a Stylish Blogger Award? Thanks to the wonderful author Devon Rhodes I was nominated for this award:

Thank you so much for thinking of me, Devon!

For those who have been nominated, there are few criteria to meet:

1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you, only do not re-nominate them.

2. Share 7 things about yourself
  • I sometimes secretly read private email, blog posts and comments during work hours, something my employer definitely doesn’t approve off. But when I have scheduled a post to get published in the middle of a work day, I sometimes just can’t help myself and take a peek online… and one thing leads to another…
  • I’m still enjoying all the birthday wishes everyone sent my way via comments on my Friday post. It makes me happy!
  • I’ve given the hunky BD card that I got from Leontine the best place on my desk so I can sneak peek at it all day long
  • I’m an obsessed user of lip balm (something you definitely wanted to know about me *snort*)
  • I’m really bad at meeting the criteria for blog awards like this and sometimes I even forget to mention them on my blog (sorry for that)
  • I haven’t discovered new bloggers recently since I haven’t been online much, so there you go, I can’t meet the third and fourth criteria already
  • I actually think that all the bloggers I know for a while now are stylish and deserve this award, so consider yourselves all nominated! :)
3. Pass along this nomination to recently discovered stylish and cool bloggers
(See the above)

4. Contact them and tell them about their nomination.

Two out of four is not bad, right? ;)

Have a Happy Monday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Psstt... It's my Birthday

I'm writing this post in the wee hours of morning. It's still dark outside and hubs is snoring and sighing his sweet little morning tunes right next to me. He took the day off from work today - something we always do on each other's birthdays. It's the most precious gift we can give and receive: spending the day together before the wave of visitors hit the house later in the afternoon.
This year it's going to be a full house. I didn't expect it but friends from all over the country are coming by, staying for diner and sleeping over, because it's one of those birthdays with a nice round number. You know, an age everybody - including me - seems to make a big fuzz about, one of them with a big '0' in it!
I'm afraid I won't have much time to read today, nor do anything computer-related. I'll be busy preparing food and doing all those fun things that have to be done in preparation of a party! And than the dancing and partying can begin! Woohoo! *oops, I woke up hubs, time for presents* :)

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest Review: Shades of Dreams by T.A. Chase

T.A. Chase
Shades of Dreams
Amber Allure, 2010

Stephan Colby is on top of the world. He’s the lead singer of one of the hottest new rock bands, and his best friend is in the band to share the success as well. In addition, Stephan’s madly in love. Yet Fate has a cruel way of kicking a man in the teeth, and when Stephan’s world crashes down around him, he turns to his Rock, his bandmate, the one man who has always been there for him.

Rocky Sanicily has always had Stephan’s back, and they’ve been through a lot together. Rocky has also been in love with Stephan for many years, but has never found the courage to admit it. When Stephan suddenly loses the most important thing in his life, however, Rocky must do everything in his power to keep Stephan from giving up. If he succeeds, will he be able to finally tell Stephan how he feels? And if so, will it bring the friends closer together, or tear apart their relationship forever?

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Paranormal, Unrequited love, Friends to Lovers, Grief

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames


Guest review by Lis:

Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll and some cuties who charm the pants right of you. The ingredients for a good book. Well except maybe for the drugs *wink*. Shades of Dreams is among the latest of releases by celebrated author T.A. Chase. It started life as a blog story, but after a couple of weeks the story was pulled in favor of a complete story. I for one, was very glad with this!

However, the story did not quite turn out the way I thought it would or expected from this author. The story starts with a bang, right in the thick of things when Stephan hears his lover died in a car crash. Rocky is almost literally his rock in this hard time. At this point I really felt for Stephan. To lose someone you love so dearly and so unexpectedly? But Stephan's grief is not the main focus in this story. It is ever present for a long while in the story, but the focus is more on Rocky and his hidden love for Stephan. Still rivers run deep after all. Stephan is very oblivious to this... though he is the only one.

While I like stories with a little drama and unrequited love, there were several things that did not quite work for me. The switch between Stephan and Rocky from friends to lovers is rather sudden. While they were childhood friends and Rocky's been in love with Stephan for some time, they became lovers while Stephan was still in his grieving process.
Of course the transformation was nudged by a helpful ghost and that made the process easier to accept, but from Stephan's perspective it was rather sudden.

My other problem with Shades of Dreams has much more to do with the development in the oeuvre of this author. T.A. Chase is fast becoming a one-woman-book-factory. Her stories now lack the quality of her earlier books. She seems to be caught up in circular narrative: the way she writes her stories and her characters are fast becoming almost similar to her other stories. Her characters are quite often not unique, like they used to be and the sex is almost always the same as in previous books. An erotic scene from Shades of Dreams is very similar to say Bastet. While her writing is not bad, in fact it is better than some other authors, it lacks appeal.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading Shades of Dreams, but it lacked the usual Chase-oomph! It is a story about how love finds a way and does not always have to be hopeless.

T.A. Chase’s website | weblog | on Goodreads
Buy Shades of Dreams here


Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Anthology His For The Holidays

His For The Holidays
L.B. Gregg, Harper Fox, Z.A. Maxfield and Josh Lanyon
Carina Press, 2010

This was a fabulous anthology with four Christmas themed stories from four great authors. As a collection I would rate it with 5 stars, because each of the separate stories is worth the buy. Here's my take on each of them.

Mistletoe at Midnight
LB Gregg

5 out of 5 stars

This is a perfect holiday story! It has a fabulous love couple, some sort of Christmas miracle, an intriguing narrator's voice, this author's distinctive humor and an engaging plot.
Owen is the narrator of the story. He is a vet and he and his dog arrive late for the Christmas get-together of his family at an inn in Vermont. At arrival he discovers that his first love, Caleb, is also staying at the inn. And to make things even more complicated, his mother has invited his last ex-boyfriend, Keith, as well. Through short flashbacks Owen and Caleb's shared history is revealed and it's obvious that they are each other's 'one that got away'.
During the first part of the story, also a lot is revealed in the conversations, which are - in combination with Owen's thoughts on them - a delight to read. But so is the 'action' that follows. A constant factor throughout the story remains Owen's ability to make and phrase his observations that never fail to make me snort. A few examples:

“I had a type, and now everyone in the entryway knew it, including me. I was suddenly very glad to be blending in to the wallpaper.”

“His briefs lovingly cupped his crotch. I didn’t even pretend I wasn’t looking because, by God, he wasn’t as shriveled from the aftereffects of hypothermia as one might expect. He was gorgeous.”

“My mother clapped her hands and stood. Today’s holiday sweater was a fully decorated Christmas tree with tiny silver jingle bells and more blinking lights. She must wear a battery pack in her bra.”

Everything comes together nicely in the end and the happy ending is very satisfying. Not merely because of the great and hot smexing, but also due to the sweet exchange of Secret Santa gifts. This is a story that I've read in one breath and that I didn't want to finish so I could enjoy these heroes a bit longer.

Nine Lights over Edinburgh
Harper Fox

4.5 out of 5 stars

This author’s writing style is different from most authors’ I know of. It’s elaborate, descriptive - some will call it verbose - and expressive. I think you’ll love it or hate it. I happen to enjoy it once I surrender to it. Harper Fox’s writing has the ability to take me to the places she describes. In this story those are the dark alleys and obscure corners of the streets of Edinburgh. The colorful descriptions of the surroundings emphasize the main character’s gloomy and damaged soul. James is a detective inspector with the Scottish police, divorced since one year from his wife with whom he has a young daughter. He’s doing dangerous undercover work on his own, drinks too much and has to deal with a new, unkind Chief. She is trying to bring him down and five days before Christmas it appears she succeeded. James reluctantly agrees to do what she wants, a security job for the visiting Israeli ambassador. On that job he meets Toby, a Mossad agent to whom he feels instantly attracted. When Toby takes a bullet for him when things go awry their fate is sealed. After that a whole series of suspenseful events happen and Harper Fox makes us feel the drama, the attraction and the hope.
I loved the careful way the author portrayed her heroes and their blooming relationship. I loved how she made the hope for better times tangible. And I enjoyed her plotting inventiveness. But there’s one thing I found hard to grasp: that all these events happened in such a short period of time (five days). I’m not talking about instant love per se but more about the suspense elements. Like Toby leaving the hospital after one day after taking a bullet up the shoulder and subsequently skipping a night’s sleep and going into full action to take a kidnapper down. I mean, is he made of steel? Alas, this story needs a little suspension of disbelief I reckon. But other than that, I fully enjoyed this story, which was the least Christmas-spirited of the collection of four from the His for the Holidays anthology.

Favorite quote:
“From his position on the bench, struggling with his shoelaces, McBride could see parts of his colleagues seldom exposed in cultures that did not include a skirt in their national dress. He repressed a smile. It was enough to put a man off. And that would be grand, wouldn’t it—cure him, straighten him out and send him home to Libby with a hard-on.”

I Heard Him Exclaim
Z.A. Maxfield

4.5 out of 5 stars

In I Heard Him Exclaim we’re treated at Christmas in all its glory, with the commercial bells and whistles (and lights) to match. Main character Steve’s family is completely nuts when it comes to Christmas: they decorate their houses outrageously and they live for the festivities. Steve himself used to be equally nuts, and he liked to play the part of Santa, but not this year. He is not in the spirit because he is no longer filling out the Santa suite after a heart operation early that year. He decides to go to Las Vegas to escape the festivities, but on his way there he meets Chandler, who just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece, Poppy. The two of them can use Steve’s help after their car broke down and their holiday plans got canceled, so Steve decides to take them home. There he and Chandler work together to give Poppy a wonderful Christmas while they feel more and more attracted to each other.
I have to admit that I had a little trouble with getting the image of Steve as an old, wrinkly Santa out of my head after the first descriptions of his physical features. I’m not a big fan of the May-December theme where the age difference between the characters nears the parent-child gap. So, to make this story work for me, I had to make Steve a bit younger and more attractive in my head than the author probably had meant him to be. But apart from that, their love story was easy to enjoy. I loved Chandler and his feelings towards his niece and I found Steve’s observational skills regarding Chandler very engaging and sweet. And their smexy moments were certainly sizzling hot and entertaining in their variety. The author succeeded in conveying that Steve and Chandler are so right for each other, even if they only met a couple of days ago. Overall this was a well-written, enjoyable, festive love story with a touch of seriousness and a lot of smiles in it.

Favorite quote:
“[…] men came in two different flavors, and one of those flavors could fix cars. The other, the group to which he belonged, were utterly useless without a cup of coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other. He looked under the hood of the car and felt like the apes at the beginning.”

Josh Lanyon

4.75 out of 5 stars

I think I lost my heart to Noel! He’s one of those characters that I will remember for a long time. And his Robbie is one hell of a sexy opponent. This is such a loveable and memorable couple. And they play their parts wonderfully in an amusing, well-paced plot, which is nevertheless way too modest and short. I’m of the opinion that their relationship could’ve used a couple of (or rather a lot) more pages. I was just about getting settled into the story when it already ended… Icecapade is probably the shortest story in the His for the Holidays anthology which is to my regret.
Alas, the story that we did get though, was very satisfying. Noel is a former cat burglar and now a novelist living a quiet life with his horses. Robert Cuffe is the FBI agent who has been on his tail for years and with whom he spent a hot, memorable night nearly eleven years ago. They haven’t seen or spoken each other since then. Until now. Suddenly Robert rings Noel’s doorbell the day before Christmas, allegedly investigating a new series of burglaries even though Noel retired over a decade ago. The men spend some time together, talking about the past, Noel’s morals and more sexy things, meanwhile helping several of Noel’s neighbors out with their problems, like saving a baby llama from a crevice it fell into.
As with other books of Josh Lanyon I loved the narrator’s voice, this time in third person and from Noel’s point of view:

“What a day. He still hadn’t showered or shaved. No wonder Robert was keeping him at arm’s distance—and he hadn’t even started fooling around with llamas yet.”

“The cab smelled like llama and wet dog. At least, that’s what Noel hoped it smelled like. Hopefully his lack of grooming wasn’t catching up with him.”

This story had a few of those chuckle moments as well as some pretty sexy ones. Like the opening scene in which the actual sex scene already took place. Although we don’t even witness the actual smexing, I remember this scene as being sexy as hell. Later in the book we are invited into the bedroom at the right moment, thank goodness. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that! This couple’s chemistry is hot, tangible and fabulously described and their developing relationship is unique and unforgettable thanks to the fetching plot it’s wrapped in.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & A reading update

I’m so glad that I’m able to sit behind a real computer again. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is great to keep informed while forced to stay in bed for days, but it has its limitations. One of the main frustrations is leaving comments on blogs with the thing. It has a Google reader app but every time you want to leave a comment you have to switch to Safari and back again. So far, the iPad is not great for ‘multitasking’. But hey, tomorrow is Saturday and I have all the time to go finally blog hopping. Yay!
Today I used some of my computer time to update my reading list. And it turned out that I’ve read quite some books in December (33) which adds up to a total of 227 books in 2010. Not bad, huh? Of course, a lot of those books were shorts and novellas. ;)

And during my Christmas vacation I finally started reading the Lost Shifters series by Stephani Hecht. It had been on my ereader for a while (except for the latest installments). These books (8 in total) are all novellas or short novels and easy to read. The world the author is building is interesting and not too difficult to pick up on. Even so, I’d recommend reading the books in order.
The series is about a big family of cat shifters and the search for several members from this cat community who got lost at a young age. Only recently they’ve found out that these Lost Shifters are still alive. And most of them are about to shift for the first time in their lives.
I’ve read 7 of the 8 books so far (I just bought the eighth book this week) and so far none of the quests or love stories feel repetitive. Each story is a new adventure with unique characters (including some wolf and bird shifters). With each book in the series I felt my appreciation of the series as a whole grow. A few of my favorite characters/couples in this series are: Mitch (the alpha leader), Rat, Andrew & Vapor, and Noah. I’m looking forward to seeing them all back again in book #8, which is a Christmas-themed book. But odd enough… I’m still in the mood for seasonal reads.
In fact, I’m in the middle of the Christmas anthology His for the Holidays atm and enjoying it a lot! :)

What book(s) are you planning to read this weekend?

Have a Happy Gay Friday and a fab weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Making His List by Devon Rhodes

Devon Rhodes
Making His List
Dreamspinner Press, 2010

When his young niece Bailey moves in, Cory knows he needs to end his casual fling with Ken. Bailey’s had enough upheaval in her short life, and Cory doesn't want her to get attached to a “friend” who won't be sticking around. Even so, Cory finds himself continuing to let Ken into his life, but a one-night-stand gone serial isn’t what Cory wants, and so he makes The List: his requirements for the perfect partner.

Helping out during a difficult time, Ken finds himself being pulled into the family unit despite Cory’s previous emotional distance. He hopes he's finally breaking through, on the verge of convincing Cory to make their relationship more than a casual one. Then, while helping Bailey write to Santa, he finds Cory's list and takes it as his cue to bow out—just when Cory needs him the most.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Contemporary, Christmas-themed, Parental responsibility

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

*Review copy received from the publisher*

This was such a lovely story, especially considering its short length. It felt so well-rounded and it had it all: great characters, a well developed plot, a nice life's lesson, hot scenes, tenderness, heart aching moments, humor, emotional depth and a sweet happy ending. And it all was told in a pleasant style and a perfect pace.

This story is part of the Dreamspinner Press holiday series and it's about a Christmas wish list, but it's much more than just a holiday story. It is in fact about what's right in front of us, but not noted. Cory is the one not seeing what's in front of him in this story. Because he's taking care of his little niece he's looking for the right partner and at one point in the story he writes up his list of characteristics his ideal man should have. All the while not seeing how great a guy Ken is, the man he's having casual sex with for months now. Ken, of course, doesn't have many of the characteristics on the list. And he finds out about the list... *ouch*.

I really liked these heroes; they felt so real and three-dimensional. And so did their relationship building. Plus, Cory's little niece, Bailey, added another great element to the story. She was not only a means to an end for the plot, but a wonderful character of her own as well.

I don't want to give away more of the plot, I can only say that reading this novella won't be a waste of your time. So, if you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? It really is a fabulous read, even now that the holiday season is over.

Devon Rhodes’ website | weblog | on Goodreads | on Twitter | on Facebook
Buy Making His List here


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm still alive... but not so much kicking

In case you've been wondering why I haven't been posting on the blog this past week... I was in bed - still am - with another case of the flu. This has never happened to me before, falling ill twice in 6 weeks time. And it frustrates me as hell, I can tell you.
Fortunately, since yesterday I can read a bit again, the three days before that I only slept all day long. I'm so grateful for the distraction that books can bring! They literally make me forget my little pains and aches for a while. Thank goodness for that. Or better: thank the authors who wrote all these wonderful stories, for that!

Something else I'm pretty grateful for these days is the company of my iPad. For one, it helps me to write this post now without me having to leave the bed. And then it (hopefully) helps me to post it to the blog. ::keeps fingers crossed that it'll work::
Plus, it helps me with not falling too far behind with all the news and interesting posts in romblog land. For instance, it brought me the news of GayRomLit Retreat yesterday! It's a new conference for writers and readers of GLBT romances and it takes place from October 13 - 16 in New Orleans.

Here's the info from their website:

GayRomLit is a retreat for readers and writers of GLBT romance. A gathering place to hang out with people who read the same books you do. Get to know your favorite authors in a comfortable setting, ask all those burning questions about the books you love, and meet online friends at a one of a kind retreat.

We specifically chose the word retreat, which by definition is a place of safety - a refuge for those in attendance. Unlike your more traditional Lit-conferences the GayRomLit weekend will be centered on celebrating the fiction we all love and highlighting the authors and publishers who continue to support the genre.

New Orleans is the location for the 2011 GayRomLit Retreat. Please join us October 13 - 16 for the first of what we hope to be an annual event.

Lynn Lorenz * Ethan Day * Carol Lynne * J.P. Bowie * Amanda Young

I would love to go and I'm seriously going to look into the possibilities! New Orleans has been on my list of places I want to visit before I die anyway, so this would be a great opportunity.
I think it's great that there will be a con just for GLBT romance! What do you think?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back from snowy New York

We're home from New York and we had a fab time! Even the two-day delay due to the blizzard couldn't spoil our fun. Our start of the New Year was one of a kind.
And I'm so NOT looking forward to going back to the office tomorrow, lol.

I hope you all had a great start of the New Year too!
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