Tag Archives: MM

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

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

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.”

 

 


 

 

 

Leave a Comment

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

WOLFSONG by TJ KLUNE :: REVIEW

5 Epic Stars!
Standalone MM Paranormal

SYNOPSIS

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

WOLFSONG is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

“I’m not a wolf.”
“No,” he said. “But you’re something.”

Be still our book loving hearts because we just read a story that catapulted itself to a place in our heart where our all-time favourite books live. T.J Klune captured every single one of our breaths, every heart beat and every nerve ending of our emotional being as our body mind and soul became completely tethered to a story of love, loss, grief, family and friendship. Of responsibility, honour and integrity. Of war, redemption and personal sacrifice. Stunningly written as if we were reading a journal, its unique and almost poetic prose astounded us. This is unlike any paranormal we’ve read in a long while and we took all the characters into our hearts.

‘But hearts are a funny thing; they beat strongly in our chests, even though they can shatter at the slightest pressure.’

No word from us can ever do Wolfsong any justice. This is the story that is everything, a story that was everything. A story that every reader needs to experience. Even if you’re not a reader of paranormal nor m/m we highly encourage you to give this story the chance to open your heart to a brilliance that will light you up with exquisite book love.

‘Sometimes, when your heart gets so full, it takes away your voice and all you can do is hold on for dear life.’

Wolfsong was an epic compelling read of grand proportion. We never wanted it to end and whilst this was a long book it felt like time barely passed from the turn of the first page to the last. Vivid imagery, powerful scents and an exceptional emotional grasp, it captivated us, thrilled us and left us awestruck.

“You confuse me. You aggravate me. You’re amazing and beautiful, and sometimes, I want to put my teeth in you just to watch you bleed. I want to know what you taste like. I want to leave my marks on your skin. I want to cover you until all you smell like is me.”

Wolfsong is primarily about Ox, a beautiful young man who has grown up being told he’s nothing by a Father who acts like anything but. Ox is different but not in any way other than the fact that he has a huge heart, a sweet vulnerability and an immeasurable emotional strength despite his home life.

‘Here was where I felt most at home. Here was where I wouldn’t be judged.’

Unbeknownst to him things are not what they seem around him and more exists than that of which he’s aware. His Mum is the only person he has in his life, their bond sweet and loving. Their life a hardship a lot of the time.

‘Joe was overwhelming. Everything was him. He was all I could hear and see and taste and smell.’

Everything changes when a family descends and moves in close by. A world is opened to Ox and he becomes part of something bigger he never dared dream existed. Ox meets a young Joe Bennett and he’s immediately pulled into a life where his eyes are opened to what exists in between of what is known. Ox and Joe’s story is one of laughter, tears and suspense. We fell in love, we laughed and we cried uncountable tears. It was thrilling, epic and awesome. It smelled of pine cones and candy canes. It grabbed our heart and soul.

‘It should have been obvious. It should have been obvious what they were, but then I wasn’t looking for the incredible buried in the ordinary.’

 

1 Comment

Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, T J Klune

Special Forces , Mercenaries and Veterans by Aleksandr Voinov and Marquesate

SYNOPSIS

Special Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. Two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union’s last war in Afghanistan. Behind enemy lines respect and finally love grow … but that’s only the official version. This epic spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It’s harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they just do what they need to survive.

Special Forces – Soldiers is the first cycle of the Special Forces epic, which consists of three cycles and is about a million words. The second cycle is Mercenaries and the third one is Veterans.

This print version is the original version of Special Forces (1st edition), as it was edited by the authors of the time of first publication on Marquesate’s website. The Soldiers cycle was published between July 2006 and March 2007. This is the only version that is authorised by Marquesate.

The ebook version is available for free download, and the original chapters remain as a free read on Marquesate’s website below:

This print version of Special Forces is strictly non-profit and print cost only. The paperback of this original version is available from Lulu.


5 plus amazing stars!!

(This review encompasses all the books in the Special Forces series.)

When I first sat down to try and write how I felt after reading this series, no words came.  I knew I had just read something amazing. I often say that if a book makes me experience extreme emotions I know I have read the best there is. Well until I read book one in this series I never knew that I was capable of a book to affect me as much as this one did; as the whole series did.

I knew I had read something genius something I will probably never experience again. I hold my hand up honestly  and say that this series goes beyond everything I have ever read in my 37 years of life and I hesitate to say that I doubt I will ever feel as strongly about a story and 2 characters like I do now.

This series has affected me like no other and it has changed me forever. As I write this I actually feel the emotions as strongly about this story as I felt when reading it weeks ago.

So believe me when I say, I don’t think I am going to be able to write any kind of adequate or eloquent review that does this book any justice, it’s the honest truth.

My fan girl love affair with the brilliant Mr. Voinov continues no matter how much this genius of a man tries to test me, my sanity and my feelings.

This series is the EPIC 25 year journey of Vadim Krasnorada and Dan McFadyen; two enemies who meet in the line of duty during war in Afghanistan. Their lives crossing paths spanning years. Their story consumed me to the point life ceased to exist. I could not let them go.

To quote and use the words of Mr. Voinov:

They eat you up, swallow you whole, digest and churn you around until their loneliness spits you back out again.”

Their story messed with my head and my heart like no other before; it is brutal & tender, ugly & beautiful, painful & hopeful.

I had intense feelings of despair, hatred, happiness, at times I felt sick to my stomach and forgot to breathe, other times I laughed in relief. My emotions were all over the place. I was so confused with how I felt. I have never cried through a whole book before. But at times I was sat reading with silent tears that just didn’t stop.

Dan & Vadim’s journey is filled with revenge and torture; the aggression and lust between two powerful men turning into so much more on a journey that I both hated and loved.

Such perseverance, beauty and compassion I fell in love, no matter how irrational that felt to me at times, with both Dan and Vadim. My heart felt like it was going to burst with how much I loved these characters; still does when I think of them.

No two men’s love has surely ever been tested as much as Dan & Vadim’s. They have had just about everything anyone could imagine thrown at them. The logic said they shouldn’t have been together in the first place so to battle like they did through the ugliness of war, the two sides of conflict, the near death, the obscure obstacles, I was turned inside out….they captured me completely and their hold on me will never let up.

Their journey is not pretty, it is raw, ugly and kicks you where it hurts and oh does it hurt, but it is a genius work of beautiful basic human emotional art. I was stripped of all superficial emotions right down to the raw and the pure, layer by layer as I moved through their story. I was slowly seduced by the awe-inspiring words that had me absorbed in the story to the point of being an emotional nervous wreck.

I could sit here and write and write about how amazing Special Forces is, but finding the right words is proving too difficult and I would be here forever, it needs to be experienced.

After “living” 25 years with Dan & Vadim where I went through: War, Rape, Torture, Killing, Lies & Deception along with the ultimate strength of Love and the true meaning of Home, I was exhausted, overwhelmed  but I was oh so satisfied at the end.  I felt like I had been in a nasty fall and was picked up and lovingly put back together.

I actually feel honoured to have been allowed on this journey written by Mr. Voinov and Marquesate.  A journey that will stay with me forever.  Vadim and Dan changed my life and they took a huge part of my heart, that will always be theirs.

“You’re my home. I will find you.”

I will… find you. If it’s the last thing I’ll do, I’ll come back. Nothing will stop me.”

“If I touched you, that’d be it.” Dan shook his head, “Damn, how the fuck am I going to make you understand?” Pleading, almost. “You are everything, don’t you get it? You are the Afghan mountains, the damned red dust, the endless sky. You were my home, and more often than not, also my reason. You are unlike all the others, unlike anyone I shag, because when I touch you, it’s not just a touch, it’s eleven years of heaven and hell.”

 “You made me human. I stand by that. You made me into somebody I would have wanted to become, if I’d ever thought about what I wanted to be that wasn’t about a record or power or a rank or some…delusion I was chasing. If all that was gone and stripped away, the man I am, I am because of what you did, what you made me feel all those years.”

0-0

Now, for those of you who feel strong enough to go on this journey you are able to download it free, yes I am shaking my head as I type free, from Aleks website:

http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com/special-forces.html

9 Comments

Filed under 5 Stars, Aleksandr Voinov, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte