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 Heidi Cullinan, Sarah Black and John Inman. 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.
Let It Snow (Minnesota Christmas #1)
by Heidi Cullinan
The weather outside is frightful, but the cabin is getting pretty hot.
Minnesota Christmas, Book 1
Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to go to Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS decided otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.
Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack. Once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s burned out and back home in Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past.
As the north winds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Making a relationship last beyond a snowstorm could prove impossible when one man won’t live in the country and the other won’t return to the city. Yet the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.
Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.
Debra’s Quick Bite
The weather has been so hot and humid this past week that while I’ll stop short of wishing for winter, I figured a winter read might trick my mind into thinking it was cooler than it is. Let it Snow is a fun, sweet, sexy winter read featuring one of my favorite pairings, bear with effeminate man. Three bears (lumberjacks no less) give shelter to stylist Frankie after his car goes off the road in a blizzard. Arthur and Paul are friends with kinky benefits and Marcus is their grumpy friend just out of a bad relationship and crashing on their couch. To make Marcus even grumpier, Frankie reminds him of that bad ex. Since they will be stuck together for days Frankie confronts Marcus on his behavior and then the sparks fly.
I enjoyed all the characters in the book. Frankie is straightforward and optimistic, but always worried that his effeminate mannerisms will turn people off. Marcus is grumpy because he is lost and afraid. Will the city boy and country boy be able to overcome their differences and make it work? There is just the slightest bit of drama/angst in this one and overall it was a good, cozy snowy day read (even if it is 91 degrees outside at the moment!).
The General and The Horse-Lord by Sarah Black
The General and the Horse-Lord: Book One
General John Mitchel and his favorite pilot, Gabriel Sanchez, served together as comrades and brothers-in-arms for more than twenty-five years. They followed the warrior’s path: honor first, and service, and the safety of the tribe. Their own needs for love and companionship were secondary to the mission. Retirement from the army, however, proves challenging in ways neither expected.
When old warriors retire, their armor starts falling away, and the noise of the world crowds in. That changing world sets up longings in both men for the life they might have had. After years of loving on the down-low, the idea of living together in the light seems like pure sweet oxygen to men who have been underwater a little too long. But what will it cost them to turn their dreams into truth?
Sally’s Quick Bite
This is a fabulous story with a very different vibe to the usual handsome 20 something meets handsome 20 something romance. For a start the heroes aren’t youths but veterans, 52 and 48, two men with successful careers in the military behind them, throughout which they conducted a very careful secret love affair. Now they have retired from the military and are making new lives for themselves, new careers, and trying to come to terms with the very different way things are done on civvie street.
For instance John, the General of the title, has Kim, his nephew, living with him who is very out, very proud and doesn’t care who knows it. The austere and undemonstrative relationship between Uncle John and Uncle Gabriel is a constant cause of amusement and affront to Kim and Kim’s flamboyance is a source of amusement, and bemusement, to John and Gabriel.
But the story isn’t just about love and making new lives. There’s pain and danger and loss as well. Gabriel can no longer live a lie and decides to leave his wife. Kim is beaten up by a boyfriend. There are political shenanigans, academic infighting, art shows, scads of pretty young people scampering about and making the two military veterans feel very old, and some deeply unpleasant personalities as well. Very highy recommended.
Review: Scrudge and Barley, Inc. by John Inman
A classic tale takes off in sexy new directions! Poor Mr. Dickens must be twirling in his grave.
When E.B. Scrudge, putz extraordinaire and all-around numbnuts, is visited by his dead ex on Christmas Eve, he can’t imagine how his life could sink any lower. But the three ghostly spirits that come along after are even worse! Good lord, a dyke, a drag queen, and rounding out the trio, a big, hunky bear with nipple rings and a butt plug! What’s next?
What’s next is a good deal of soul-searching and some hard lessons learned with a dash of redemption thrown in for good measure.
And love too, believe it or not. Love that had been simmering all along at the heart of Scrudge’s miserable existence, although he was too selfish to see it—until a trio of holiday beasties pointed his sorry ass in the right direction.
Mark’s Quick Bite
HAHA – I’m joining Debra this week as it is also hot and humid on my side of the pond too. Again a great holiday treat and although the weather maybe cold outside but the tension between these two is enough to leave your central heating off. Dickens’s A Christmas Carol must be one of those stories that has now been redone, rehashed and revamped a hundred times in all possible versions from the literary, to film, to stage plays and musicals. So I always think it is actually a very brave person who actually takes on a retelling of the classic Christmas tale of all time.
I was thoroughly entertained by this book from beginning to end. I loved the whole idea and laughed at numerous points in the book. However, as amusing and funny as this retelling is by John Inman he certainly manages to work in all the other aspects magnificently. When Scrudges ex, Barley ,and former partner of the Insurance Company now owned by Scrudge appears, the spooky feeling and suspense was just as riveting as in any horror book I have read. The moments of poignancy and emotion were beautifully balanced with the traditional message of Christmas being one of giving and good cheer. Last but not least E.B. (Ebbie) Scrudge at the beginning of the book is as unlikable, self-centred, cold-hearted and detestable as the original. I can thoroughly recommend this book and it should go on everyone’s Christmas reading list.
Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan
Know when to show your hand…and when to hedge your bets.
Special Delivery, Book 2
Randy Jensen can’t stand to just sit by and watch as a mysterious man throws money away on the roulette wheel, especially since Randy’s got his own bet going as to the reason this guy is making every play like it’s his last day on earth. The man’s dark desperation hits Randy right in the gut. Half of him warns that getting involved is a sucker’s bet, and the other half scrambles for a reason—any reason—to save the man’s soul.
Ethan Ellison has no idea what he’s going to do with himself once his last dollar is gone—until Randy whirls into his life with a heart-stealing smile and a poker player’s gaze that sees too much.
Randy draws Ethan into a series of wagers that leads to a scorching kiss by midnight, but he isn’t the only one with an interest in Ethan’s vulnerability. Soon they’re both taking risks that not only play fast and loose with the law, but with the biggest prize of all: their hearts.
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Macky’s Quick Bite
I fell hard for Randy 'Ace' Jensen when he first appeared in Special Delivery ( love, love, love Sam and Mitch too!) and whenever I feel the need to revisit this brilliant series, I fall just that little bit more again under his fascinating spell every single time! Kinky, enigmatic and sharp as a tack, I find his particular style of charm irresistible ...and the fact that he's sexy as hell doesn't hurt either!
In fact I adore everything about Randy’s story. The Las Vegas setting, the Poker references, the nod Heidi gives to the mob’s involvement with the Casino's in their heyday and of course the compelling relationship between Randy and love interest Ethan unfolding seductively across the course of this clever novel. A fantastic story, mouth watering sexy times and fabulous writing from Heidi Cullinan who never fails to perfectly balance her delicious, trademark hot kink with real heartfelt emotions. Using Poker terminology, Double Blind is definitely a royal flush for me!