One-Quote Review: Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

I have to do a One-Quote Review for this because anything longer would be nauseatingly sycophantic.

  • Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie SextonTitle: Second Hand
  • Author(s): Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
  • Series: Tucker Springs, Book 2
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M)
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, September 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($6.99 ebook, available 9/10)
  • Length: 175 pages
  • Trope(s): Friends-to-Lovers, Rebound, Angst, Gay for You, Dysfunctional Families, Beta Heroes
  • Quick blurb: Lonely and jaded pawn shop owner falls for seemingly-straight customer.
  • Quick review: The dog’s name is MoJo. See his begging eyes and wistful expression? He wants you to read this book.
  • Grade: A

“I just want to be the first choice for someone for once. Just once.”

So, Heidi and Marie, just go ahead and push all my buttons, and THEN reach in and pull my guts out. You both seem to be good at that sort of thing.

ALSO: Hurry the hell up with your next books, so I can fling myself on the altar of your brilliance ALL OVER AGAIN.

I guess that last bit crossed the “sycophant” line, huh? Oh, well. I HAVE NO SHAME.

Advertisements

Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino

Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino

  • Title: Love, Hypothetically
  • Author: Anne Tenino
  • Series: Theta Alpha Gamma, Book 2
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M)
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, August 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($4.99 ebook, available 8/27)
  • Length: 100 pages
  • Trope(s): Reunited, Big Misunderstanding, Guilt & Groveling, Nerds vs. Jocks, Coming Out, Unrequited Love
  • Quick blurb: Cranky grad student finds it difficult to forgive and forget when the high-school boyfriend who betrayed him shows up unexpectedly.
  • Quick review: 100 pages, 60 “damn, that’s good” highlights – you do the math.
  • Grade: B+

Once again, I am forced to abandon my beloved and lazy One-Quote format because there were just too damn many good ones to choose from.

“How does one go about about changing one’s life?” he asked. Toby seemed to know a lot of useless crap, maybe he’d know the answer to this question.

It takes a lot of skill to turn a villain into a worthy hero. Yes, Paul was an evil little worm in the first book. But he freely admits his worminess (I just made that up) and he does something about it.

“I’m a prick. A prickly, bitter volatile prick, destined to splat on the floor of life.”

“…So stop being one.”

“…What, you think it’s that easy? I just decide to stop, and bam! No more prickliness? It takes action, man. I have to do things, take positive steps. I have to apologize and obtain forgiveness.”

For a relatively new author, Tenino is remarkably good at the elusive art of showing instead of telling. She avoids cheesy angstifying and lets Paul stumble through his anger and confusion and guilt with his usual dark humor:

Just…. How in the hell did one prepare oneself for apologizing? Was there some kind of training program? Had Tony Horton produced an exercise video about it?

Paul eventually figures it out, and – with reluctant forgiveness and help from Brad and Sebastian – finally gets the guy:

“All those years without you, I never had anything happen worth remembering. You came back and that all changed in a few days.”

So by the time we get to that hard-won HEA, it’s easy to share Frat Boy Brad’s protective stance:

“…I don’t have to threaten to kick your ass if you’re a dick to Paul, right, dude? Because up until yesterday, I didn’t even really like him, but you know, I’d do what needs to be done.”

The only issue that kept Love, Hypothetically from being an A grade was a formatting annoyance with the titular “well, hypothetically speaking” scene in the bar. The long monologue paragraphs were difficult to read on my Kindle Touch – which means it would be even more of a struggle on a smaller device. I had to page back to read a few of Paul’s charmingly convoluted explanations a second time because I missed an important bit of self-discovery on the first pass.

But that won’t stop me from reading it again.

Power Play by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant

  • Power Play: Awakening by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat GrantPower Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat GrantTitle(s): Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening
  • Author(s): Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant
  • Series: Power Play
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M), Erotica
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, February/June 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($8.99 ebooks)
  • Length: Resistance: 267 pages; Awakening: 292 pages
  • Trope(s): BDSM, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Tragic Past
  • Quick blurb: Sadistic billionaire offers troubled aspiring architect a $3 million contract to become his submissive/slave for six months.
  • Quick review: If you can handle the extreme kink, go for it – but only if you commit to reading BOTH BOOKS. Trust me.
  • Grade: Resistance: B-; Awakening: B+

Reading these books was not a choice made on a whim. I read all the reviews and all the warnings and all the samples and all the excerpts. When it was listed on NetGalley, I decided to test my smug self-assessment as a completely open-minded reader willing to push my boundaries.

These books blew those comfort zone doors WIDE OPEN. Off the fucking hinges.

Boundaries. As if. These authors laugh at my pathetic excuses for boundaries and gleefully push me over the fucking cliff.

I’m mixing my metaphors. Now do you understand what they did to me???

NOTE: Trigger warning – some of the excerpts below are graphic.

Continue reading

One-Quote Review: Portside by Elyan Smith

  • Title: Portside
  • Portside by Elyan SmithAuthor: Elyan Smith
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): GLBTQ
  • Publisher:  Riptide Publishing,  June 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($2.99 ebook)
  • Length: 35 pages
  • Trope(s): Virgin, Sex-for-Hire
  • Quick blurb: Lonely and reclusive Iwan briefly escapes his dreary coastal town to find self-acceptance with a London rentboy.
  • Quick review: I have no effin’ clue how to review this HFN novella.
  • Grade: B

“Have a good night,” he said, when he wanted to add something like “stay” and “let’s make it out” and suddenly find all his romantic feelings on his sleeve for someone that fucking perfect.

Dark and distant and desperate, but in a good way. And yes, I know that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but it’s going to take me a few re-reads to figure out how to describe where this story took me.

One-Quote Review: Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov

  • Skybound by Aleksandr VoinovTitle: Skybound
  • Author: Aleksandr Voinov
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): M/M, Historical (WW2)
  • Publisher:  Riptide Publishing,  August 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($2.99 ebook)
  • Length: 44 pages
  • Trope(s): Military,Virgin, Beta Hero, Unrequited Love
  • Quick blurb: German plane mechanic longs and lusts for his unit’s ace fighter pilot.
  • Quick review: Despite the setting, this novella  somehow manages to be quiet, intimate and very, very romantic.
  • Grade: A-

We stand there and just kiss, and with every touch, we seem to explain and apologise, and bridge that gap that yawned between us.

I love it when I can just sink in and wallow in the language, and let it take me along wherever the author wants to go. And so far, I’m willing to follow Voinov wherever he’s heading.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I lied….

This will be more of a Six-Quote Review.

…Everything stops existing when he takes off, as if he takes it all with him when he goes up there, to places I’ll never see again.

…I can’t exactly run after him, so I tighten my fingers around the bullet. It felt like I owned it when I pulled it from his seat, like that one polished stone amidst a million on a beach that catches your attention and feels like it’s meant for you alone.

…If the world ends tomorrow, how will I go? Without ever having risked anything, or having done the one thing I can’t stop thinking about?

…We race towards something so amazing and precious it strikes me dumb with its immenseness. I lose every sense of myself, every thought; there’s just emotion and utter fulfillment.

…”I’m not going anywhere. Not while you’re still hurt. Not ever, if I can help it.”

It took me an hour to finish this pathetic excuse for a rave recommendation because I had to keep re-reading my notes and highlights.

One-Quote Review: Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

  • Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksander VoinovTitle: Country Mouse
  • Authors: Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, April 2012
  • Purchase: Amazon, $4.99
  • Quick blurb: Jaded Brit meets his match in seemingly naive American tourist.
  • Grade: A

“Look at me,” Owen whispered. “Look at me until you can’t anymore.”

Oh. My. God. You real writers are *killing* me. KILLING. ME. The smokin’ hot sex was more than enough, but the train station? Holy SHIT.