Tag Archives: MM

AXIOS – A SPARTAN TALE by JACLYN OSBORN :: REVIEW

5++ Stars – A TBB Top 2017 Read
An epic standalone MM historical romance set in Ancient Sparta

SYNOPSIS

I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.

But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have.

Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.

However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.

AXIOS : A SPARTAN TALE is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“Not even death could keep me from you. My soul will forever find yours. In this life and the next.”

We had a feeling this story was going to be something quite amazing when we read the synopsis, however we were not prepared for the epic journey we were about to embark on. Axios is quite simply one of the most magnificent books we’ve ever read. It is unparalleled in its historical grandeur without ever feeling as if we were spectators to a lesson in Greek history. It is steeped in beauty, vivid sounds and smells as well as the conflicting picturesque yet war torn scenery of ancient Sparta.

“Sparta can have my life, but she cannot take my heart.”

Every single character plays a paramount role in this superbly written story; a story of tragedy, love, hope, brotherhood, tradition, violence, humanity and passion. We often say, that when a book fully impacts our soul, we know the Author has bleed words straight from the heart onto the pages, and never has that been more apropos than in this story.

“What makes up the stars?” I had once asked him in a time that seemed like a different life. A happier one.
“The stars are heroes, men who died and are now commemorated for their bravery in battle,” he had answered, smiling.

Whilst this story follows Axios and Eryx from children -being indoctrinated into becoming Spartan warriors- their fates are deeply entwined with many other wonderful characters thus becoming integral to the very essence of the intense emotional aspect of this reading journey. A journey spanning decades. A journey of a green eyed boy who was destined to become a great warrior and a brown eyed boy who would always question whilst dreaming of the stars, the sea and the spirit of love. Night and day; one cannot be without the other.

“..one day the light you carry will be snuffed out by darkness. I dread the moment when the gentleness in your brown eyes becomes cold as you see, at last, that the world is unforgiving and cruel. And I fear that I will lose you, either to the god of death or to your inner demons.”

We were compelled, enthralled, captivated, entranced; we were utterly mesmerized. There are not enough words to accurately convey how deeply we feel about this book and how incredibly intense it was. We have never highlighted so many passages and quotes as we did in this story. The sheer magnificence and brilliance was astounding.

“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you,” he whispered, pressing his forehead to mine. “I would kill any man, go any distance, and burn the whole world down if it meant keeping you safe.”

We want to give Jaclyn Osborn a standing ovation, not only for her immense historical research but also her stunning writing which captured a story so wonderfully epic it made our hearts beat frantically whilst we rejoiced with love yet cried uncountable tears in despair. Axios will stay with us forever, of that there is no question. It’s a story that deserves every accolade and to be on every list of fictional honour. There are quite simply not enough stars to be given to the love story of Axios and Eryx.

‘I’ll see you in the stars my warrior.’

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THE PALISADE (Lavender Shores #1) by ROSALIND ABEL :: REVIEW

Standalone in Series – Sweet MM Romance

SYNOPSIS
Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.

Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.

Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.

PALISADE is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

“Make sure, when your dreams finally start to come true, you notice. Don’t’ let it pass without noticing. Most people do.”

That’s it! We’re packing our bags and moving to the glorious town of Lavender Shores to spend time with the warm hearted, quirky, sweet witty and rich characters so lovingly created by Rosalind Abel, in The Palisades. Oh and get ready Regina, because we plan on gate crashing your Tuesday night Boozy Bookclub! That sounds like our kind of night!

The Palisade was the first book in the Lavender Shore Series by Rosalind Abel and if this is an indication of what to expect, we’re ready for more! More of the stunning surroundings, more of the sweetness and more of the very steamy sex! These guys both sweetened AND burned up the pages!

Rosalind Abel reached deep into our imaginations, so vividly creating a life in Lavender Shores that made us feel as though we were right there with Joel as he took in his first taste of Lavender Shores. Admiring the scenery, getting acquainted with the locals, basking in The Palisades setting….oh boy, this place sounds like heaven…we could visualise the lavender swaying in the breeze!

This really was the sweetest of sweet escape. Yes it was insta love, but it’s a love we felt. We believed the soulmate connection between Joel and Andrew, no question. We’re not big fans of insta love because it doesn’t always work; that connection, that intensity of feelings, we much prefer a slow build, but in this case, we absolutely felt it between Joel and Andrew. It was beautiful, magical, passionate and fraught with the anticipation of knowing it would be tested.

‘Even when I came, I refused to break the kiss, crying out into his mouth, and then crashing onto him as he pulled me close.’

Joel Rhodes, is the 35 year old successful businessman, visiting Lavender Shores with an agenda, and dealing with the hopeless task of trying to please his overbearing father. He’s confident, handsome, charismatic, and underneath the façade he’s quite vulnerable, hurt and conflicted.

‘He looked into my eyes, and I saw the forever. Past the heat and lust. I saw forever.’

Andrew Kelly has lived in Lavender Shores all his 33 years. The town is in his blood. He loves it dearly and would never leave. This man was so sensitive and so kind. We took him (and Joel) into our hearts immediately, also falling in love with Andrew’s quirky family. They were so entertaining, especially his Dad, who had us in fits and his relationship with his son saw our hearts bursting.

“I’ve been told something’s wrong with me my whole life because I love my town so much.”

At first the connection between Andrew and Joel is physical. A crackling chemistry igniting which saw them heating up the sheets in record time, but there was so much more between these two men. Joel and Andrew began to enjoy days of carefree bliss, hot and heavy sex and a connection that sees their feelings catapult into deep emotions causing them to realise they may have a future. However, Joel is hiding secrets that could spell the end of their heady feelings.

‘I wanted…a home. Someone to come home to, to build a life with, to fall asleep at night and wake up next to. Someone to make love with, fight with, cry with, sit and watch stupid television with. I wanted him.’

The Palisades was the perfect mix of fun, frivolity, emotion and drama. Nothing felt overdone, it was, in all regards, one of those pleasantly beautiful, smile inducing reads. The type you happily give yourselves over to, enjoying every moment spent with fictional friends you can’t wait to return to. ‘Til next time, save a wine for us Regina, because we’ll be seeing you again in Lavender Shores!


Rosalind Abel is a Pen Name for Brandon Witt
TBB RECOMMENDATION – BRANDON WITT’S THE SHATTERED DOOR
Click the picture below for our review

SYNOPSIS

After a tortured childhood and years of soul-searching, Brooke Morrison has finally settled into a comfortable life. While his sexuality prohibits him from practicing his degree in youth ministry in a church setting, he’s found a fulfilling job as a youth counselor at a residential treatment facility in Colorado. He falls in love, marries the man of his dreams, and makes peace with God. He’s happy.

Then his buried past drags him back to the Ozarks.

The life Brooke has worked so hard to build is crumbling in his hands in the face of painful memories and past abuse, and his confidence is withering. In El Dorado Springs, where his nightmares come to life, Brooke desperately seeks closure life doesn’t offer. Brooke must find value in himself, in his marriage, and in the world around him—and create the hope and perseverance to keep his past from swallowing him whole.

THE SHATTERED DOOR is available to purchase below
Amazon us | Amazon uk

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DIRTY GAMES by BARBARA ELSBORG :: REVIEW

Standalone dark MM romance

SYNOPSIS

The last thing Linton needs when he arrives home after three months in the States, is to find his beautiful flat is a squat, complete with his younger brother Dirk, who’s lying in Linton’s bed with a couple who’ve paid him for sex. Dirk isn’t even supposed to have a key. But after Linton throws Dirk out, life slams in hard and if his brother is to have any hope of a future, Linton has to play dirty. Or at least pretend to. What he hasn’t factored in is having to play the game to the bitter end.

Film star Thorne Morrisey has everything. Good looks, charm, seductive magnetism and a voice that could charm a snake from its basket. He can also be a real shit and yet people still love him – though he’d rather not have the love of his suicidal ex, dumped by Thorne in a very public and humiliating way. His ex’s wealthy brother has his own reasons for wanting revenge on Thorne, and his weapon of choice is Linton.

Linton and Thorne are on a collision course and in for the game of their lives. But who is playing whom?

This book has dark themes and violence.

DIRTY GAMES is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

4.5 Stars

‘How was it possible to hate and love someone at the same time?’

We’ve been huge admirers of Barbara Elsborg’s work for some time. Whether it’s MM, MF, Contemporary romance or paranormal, we’ve been impressed and loved everything we’ve read and wish more readers looking for a ‘new to them’ author would experience this talented lady’s work!

With Dirty Games, we found ourselves completely captivated by this emotional, angsty and passionate story of love, revenge and manipulation. Though, at the core of Thorne and Linton’s s story is one of love, loyalty, healing, forgiveness and acceptance.

‘He wasn’t going to break Thorne’s heart, but he worried that in the process, he might break his own.’

Linton Williams is an up and coming architect who returns to England after a three month working stint in New York to find his life turned upside down. Linton’s brother Dirk is a drug addict, unemployed and has moved himself into Linton’s flat without permission during his absence. Trouble follows the damaged Dirk and soon Linton sees himself an unwitting victim in Dirks seedy world. Being forced to make a deal he’s dead set against in order to save Dirk and get him the help he so desperately requires. There is nothing Linton wouldn’t do for Dirk. He’s always protected and cared for Dirk, leaving him feeling incapable of love, this aspect of Dirty Games broke our hearts!

“All my life I’ve tried to let pain flow over me without letting it touch me. A bit like standing at the back of a waterfall and watching the torrent fall in front of me but I only get a bit wet, not drenched.“

Thirty year old Thorne Morrisey is seductive, charming and ridiculously good looking actor with his star on the rise. Whilst his career might be on the up, his personal life is anything but. Thorne has been unlucky in love, has made some poor choices and trusted the wrong people. The consequences of which have made it difficult for Thorne to open up and trust completely. Thorne would rather strike out and hurt someone before being deeply hurt himself. A coping mechanism that’s been forced upon him from his past issues.

‘He dragged his teeth over his bottom lip as he smiled, and with that one simple gesture, broke into Thorne’s damaged heart.’

It is through six degrees of separation and fate that Linton and Thorne’s paths cross, with players in the story being interconnected in more ways than one. Thorne and Linton strike up a friendship which becomes more. Both Thorne and Linton are devoted to, protective of, and fiercely loyal to their brothers, River (Thorne’s autistic brother) and Dirk (Linton’s troubled drug addict brother) a quality each respects in the other.

Thorne is drawn to Linton in ways he hasn’t felt before and Linton’s connection, patience and understanding of River has Thorne wanting to pursue something on a deeper level with Linton which is a big step for the cagey Thorne who believes everyone has a motive and Linton is harbouring a secret which could tear their relationship apart.

“I don’t want to have to choose between loneliness and a broken heart.”

We were completely immersed in Dirty Games, as the emotion of Thorne and Linton were stripped raw. The sex, though sensual and steamy, never overshadowed the emotion, instead enhancing the feelings, connection and passion between Thorne and Linton. Barbara’s wit is always spot on. We adore her droll, sarcastic humour which always endears her characters to us even further. The sarky humour ensured the story, whilst dramatic, never became melodramatic. We loved it!


Click below for more TBB Recs from Barbara

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Barbara Elsborg, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

GOODBYE PARADISE (Hello Goodbye #1) by SARINA BOWEN :: REVIEW

Sweet MM Romance

SYNOPSIS
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

GOODBYE PARADISE is available to purchase below

         


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

4 sweet as sugar stars

‘My whole life I’d wanted this impossible thing. And I didn’t know why it was happening now. But it was everything I’d ever wanted.’

What a gorgeous, sweet and lovely story! Whilst it begins with an air of melancholy and emotional upheaval it soon becomes a story of two lads finding themselves and their place in the world after leaving the cult they grew up in. There were moments of sadness as well as joy throughout and when we closed the book after the last page our hearts felt full and we had a smile on our faces.

“A real man does what needs doing. He takes care of the people he loves. You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

Josh and Caleb are two very different personalities and their place in the cult hierarchy, poles apart hence the treatment they received. Each yearning to escape their own hell in a sanctimonious farce of living. The day comes when this becomes a reality for Josh, as he’s unceremoniously dumped on the side of a road, expelled from a cult where men are aplenty but women are not. Josh has such vulnerability and is certain of only one thing –that- being his overwhelming yet hidden love for Caleb, his friend. A love which in the cult’s eyes is the highest of sins and its members indoctrinated in such manner.

“But it was you who said we were a sin.”

Caleb’s intention to escape the clutches of the cult is fast forwarded when the man who means everything to him is exiled from the compound. The journey of life truly begins when Caleb and Josh find their way ‘home’ to a safe house miles away, where open arms are waiting in the form of another ex-cult member, Maggie.

“When I get to touch you, every awful day we’ve survived seems worth it.”

Josh and Caleb’s story is low angst, adorable and at times so emotional it made us feel all teary but warm and fuzzy inside, melting our hearts, despite the obstacles and tribulations which came their way. We loved every minute of it and have taken these lads to our heart. This is a story of hope and inspiration, love and friendship as well as being and becoming who you truly are.

“You amaze me, that’s all.”

 

 

 


TBB Recommendation

There is a bit of a tie in to this series regarding the cult if you want to check out more, we recommend this series.
Set in Vermont, True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged). This is an MF Series (not MM)

THE TRUE NORTH SERIES by SARINA BOWEN

True North Series (1)

Bittersweet Book One :

                    

Steadfast Book Two

                   

Keepsake Book Three

                    


TBB Recommendation
MM Hockey themed romance

THE HIM SERIES by SARINA BOWEN and ELLE KENNEDY

HIM US

Purchase HIM and US below
Him Book One ::our review |amazon us | amazon uk
US Book Two:: our review |amazon us | amazon uk

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Filed under 4 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Sarina Bowen

UNFORGIVEN by RUTH CLAMPETT :: REVIEW

Standalone GFY/MM friends to lovers

SYNOPSIS

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?

Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?

Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.

When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

This standalone is a M/M love story with graphic sex. Trigger warning.

UNFORGIVEN is available to purchase below

           


Review by Gitte & Jenny

4 Stars

‘I’m not sure that I can be strong enough for the both of us, but if he can find strength, together we may have a chance.’

When we heard Ruth Clampett was writing an MM story we jumped at the chance to read it as we’ve enjoyed previous books by this Author and love our MM books. We loved that she ventured into a new genre and the synopsis sounded fabulous.

‘There’s a part of me that wants to give up. I’m so tired of Earth’s gravity pulling me down when all I want to do is fly far away.’

Once again the writing was beautiful and the characters lovable and real. We have to say that this book is a story of two halves for us. The first half was a tad too sex oriented so early on, we felt that the emotional build up and character connection played second fiddle to nookie which is a bit of a contention for us, a personal pet peeve if you will. However what we did love about the first half was the way in which we felt Dean’s character and reactions to his discovery of Jason’s sexuality felt real and non-apologetic. Was his stereotypical behaviour correct, no! However, we very much feel that this came across as an instantaneous reactive portrayal in the sense of his hesitation, confusion and problematic acceptance of hidden secrets in a friendship that began in childhood. It may have made us angry and gotten our backs up, but it felt realistic. It also made our hearts bleed for Jason’s difficulty in making sense of himself and his place in this friendship.

‘Maybe this is the only man I’ll ever feel this way about, but I know it’s built on years of being best friends. That closeness allowed us to be vulnerable with each other and explore something I never would’ve imagined. I don’t need to overthink it and try to force myself into some kind of box just so society can pigeonhole me. We are simply Jason and Dean…best friends that got physical, and fell in love.’

Then came the real nitty gritty story and from about halfway we became completely engrossed and invested and admit to crying a few times as it all became so bloody sad and traumatic. Unforgiven completely turned around for us and became so much more than what it initially was. We fell in love, we felt a strong connection to the characters, their back story, their friendship and we just couldn’t put it down for love nor money.

‘There was never a reason to question anything about who we were to each other…we just were.’

The topics in Unforgiven broke our hearts, but the lads made us smile and laugh despite the ‘ugly cry’ tears. It felt real and we know it actually is, sadly. The dual POV worked well in ensuring we connected and understood where Dean and Jason were coming from and it made Jason’s past much more tangible which ultimately is why our hearts broke. Dean was a powerhouse of compassion, strength and protection despite having the rug completely pulled out from underneath him. There was one scene in particular that broke us and had us reaching for copious tissues.

“I feel like I’m going crazy, Dean. What if I’m never going to be okay?”

As far as gay for you stories go this one was a great read despite the fact that we initially thought it had too much sex and ‘sex talk’, which overshadowed the emotional aspect of the story at times. It was real, raw and very passionate. We felt the friendship and the intense bond between Dean and Jason. The world is still an un-accepting place full of obstacles, prejudices and hatred. But it is getting better, Love Is Love and hopefully one day soon everyone will accept that as a fact and a truth.

“Sometimes our minds and hearts wait until we’re ready.”

 

 


 

 

 

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Filed under 4 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Ruth Clampett