As M/M Reviewers, between us we have read thousands of m/m romance novels over the years and we would like to share our favourites with you, those reads that have been 4+ stars for us. So every Monday we bring you our Quick Bites, short reviews of our recommended reads.
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! We have four great Quick Bites to brighten up the start of your week from Mickie B. Ashling, Edward C Patterson, TJ Klune and Hayle B. James. Don’t forget you can can also enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a Kindle eBook of your choice from this weeks Quick Bites.
Fire Horse by Mickie B. Ashling
Polo: Book One
Preston Fawkes is ten the first time he meets fifteen-year-old Konrad Schnell at the San Antonio Polo Club. Captivated by the mystique surrounding the sport of kings, Pres vows to learn the game at the hands of his newly acquired friend and mentor. The hero worship soon grows into something deeper, but the friends are separated when Preston goes off to boarding school in England.
The relationship that follows is riddled with challenges?their age gap, physical distance, and parental pressure taking precedence over feelings yet to be explored. Although their bond goes deep, they deal with the reality of their situation differently: Preston is open and fearless while Konrad is reticent and all too aware of the social implications of making a public stand.
Their paths intersect and twine, binding them as tightly as a cowboy’s lasso, but fate may alter their plans. How will love overcome the divots in the turf as they gallop toward the future—one where obstacles no longer stand in their way?
Debra’s Quick Bite
Star polo player Preston wakes up in the hospital lucky not to be paralyzed after a serious fall from his horse, and is basically told he should give up playing to prevent that from becoming a reality. At 45 years old Preston is bitter and self-absorbed with 2 ex-wives and 2 children to support. Not the most likable man. Flashback to Preston as a 10 year old child from an unhappy and abusive Texas home meeting 15 year old Konrad, an up and coming polo player who takes him under his wing to teach him the game. What starts out as hero worship evolves to something more for Preston and we learn the heartbreaking reasons Preston is so bitter. The story eventually returns to the present and moves toward a surprising conclusion.
I truly enjoyed this well written book. Both main characters had their flaws and at times I wanted to smack each of them for different reasons. There were good secondary characters and the story did not go the way I expected. Definitely a recommended read.
Surviving an American Gulag by Edward C Patterson
Welcome to Ft. Gordon, Ga - the Special Training Unit. It's 1967, the height of the Vietnam War and Private Winslow Gibbs has been drafted. He's two-hundred and seventy pounds and a bundle of nerves. He also has issues of a different nature, but in these days before the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, these are dealt with in the American Gulag, the Army's answer to the problem. What they don't count on are the ones like Private Gibbs, who want to survive it and serve.
Based on the author's own experiences, Surviving an American Gulag is a story that the military would prefer remain a footnote. However, it is a defining moment and should not be lost to posterity. Also included with this work is "A Dime a Dip," a tale of the author's grandmother and her considerable efforts on behalf of thousands of migrant worker children.
Revised for 2010.
Sally’s Quick Bite
Although this story is a work of fiction I understand that it is very closely based on personal experience as a conscripted infantryman in the late 1960s. With that thought in mind be prepared for a harrowing but ultimately hopeful read as young men who ‘don’t quite fit in’ are forced through a punishing regime of exercise and psychological stress to try to fit them for army life. I was cheering the hero, Winslow Gibbs, as he shaped up, gained in confidence, fulfilled his sadistic officers bizarre demands and yet remained true to himself. Triumph in adversity! Is it a romance? I thought it was, but what do I know?
Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune
Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father Big Eddie when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he's buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie's convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water.
But Roseland is no ordinary place.
With ever more frequent dreams of his father's death and waking visions of feathers on the river's surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined - and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel - a man Benji can no longer live without.
Mark’s Quick Bite
Do I believe in angels? YES! YES! I DO! My quick bite for this week is one of those books that will go down in M/M Romance literary history. I’m sure! If you haven’t read this book already then shame on you! Seriously, this book goes beyond words for me and anything I write I feel would just not do this masterpiece justice. The plot is well thought out, intricate and flows well. Even though it is paranormal, for me it never left the realms of credibility. And of course the feelz, the emotions, the longings and yearnings, an incredibly heartrending tour de force of a book. A book that is poignant, heartfelt, full of emotion and had me welling up with tears and sobbing at the end, but tears are unavoidable after reading this beautiful story of Benjy and his beautiful angel Calliel.
Paid Leave by Haley B. James
ABQ Heat: Book One
Albuquerque police officer Benji Miller made the choice to hide his sexuality and devote his life to his career. He guards his secret carefully, believing he is protecting his job and happiness. Then, during a routine traffic stop gone awry, he shoots a suspect and his life spins out of control. A department-mandated paid leave rips away the only distraction he had, and he has to deal with the unsympathetic media who criticize the police department’s every move.
One day, needing to get out of the house, Benji walks into a café, where he meets Neal McCoy—a gay man living without shame, unafraid to speak his mind or stand up against prejudice. Benji quickly falls for Neal but struggles to combine his new love interest and his career. With the media threatening the careful illusion he’s built around himself, Benji can’t stand the pressure.
Benji has to decide: sacrifice his happiness in the name of his career and an easy life, or find the courage to give up the lonely existence he knows and take a step into the unknown.
Macky’s Quick Bite
An out and proud cafe owner and a deeply closeted gay cop. It's a typical opposites attract story, and yes it's been done many times, but this particular take on the trope really worked for me. I loved how Haley B James made these two particular characters, Neal and Benji, appear more down to earth and not stereotypically the more often than not 'hot gorgeous hunks' who tend to grace most M/M romances. To me they just came across as two normal, everyday guys coping with life and the crap it tends to unexpectedly throw into the mix sometimes. Especially 'disgraced' cop Benji, who is on mandatory leave after a routine traffic stop turns nasty. Angry and at odds with his life and career at this point; meeting the bright, sunny man who is completely open about his own sexuality and who subtly teases and flirts with him, messes completely with Benji’s plans to keep his private life separate from his career. He wants a life with Neal, who makes him happy—but are the pressures of being outed too great? A sexy, sensual love story with some tender moments, a nice balance of angst and some very nice chemistry between its two likeable MC's, I liked this one a lot!