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 five great Quick Bites to brighten up the start of your week from Z.A. Maxfield, Rowan Speedwell, Jay Lewis Taylor, L.A. Witt and Eola Eden. 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.
My Cowboy Heart (The Cowboys #1) by Z.A. Maxfield
Even the coldest cowboy’s heart can be ignited…
J-Bar ranch foreman Malloy pretty much keeps to himself—slinking around the edges of everybody else like an old coyote, doing his job and staying private. That is until Crispin Carrasco shows up. Lean, muscular, and with a motor mouth that won’t quit, Crispin sparks something in Malloy—something the foreman didn’t know was there. But how does a lone coyote approach the warmth of a fire? And more important, what would happen if that fire burned?
Debra’s Quick Bite
This is an understated romance about two men finding love and finding themselves. Malloy, the ranch foreman, is pretty much a loner. As a teenager he was saved by the Jenkins family and has since lived and devoted his life to them and the ranch. He has no real other relationships to speak of and as foreman, keeps his distance from the others he bunks with. When out and proud Crispin shows up on the ranch as the new hand, Malloy is tasked with making sure he not only acclimates to working on the ranch, but seeing that nobody gives him trouble. Crispin's arrival seems to throw the other hands off-kilter and Malloy soon finds himself reacting to the man in ways he never before considered.
The two men have difficult past issues to deal with, but neither of them are broken by it. I loved Crispin's nervous babbling and caring nature and Malloy's quiet discovery and acceptance of his feelings for Crispin and what it means for his future was a pleasure to read. The differences in the dynamics of their work vs. private relationship was unexpected and really enjoyable.
There is some humor in with the drama and the supporting characters all had dimension and reasons to be there. It’s a wonderful story about finding family, friendship and love, with some hot cowboys to boot.
Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell
For five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world’s richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell.
His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed—and then crushed when Zach shuts him out.
Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.
Jane’s Quick Bite
I love this best friends to lovers story. It has such a slow burn romance as Zach has to physically and psychologically recover after his kidnap and torture ordeal.
The scenes of the abuse and torture are emotional and can be difficult to read, but they do not overtake the story at all. We see Zach struggle to overcome his issues, likewise David suffers with issues of his own. We see them begin to have hope of a better future and to start to move forward together. There is no instant cure here, we see that it is a long and arduous undertaking. I was so invested in this couple and the journey they embark upon. Though fraught at times and reduced me tears on occasion, the heart warming moments, the love, hope and positivity more than compensate for the angst.
A great character based story, one that I've reread a few times. I have also listened to the audiobook which is superbly narrated by Paul Morey. A definite recommendation from me.
*As a bonus, if you read JP Barnaby’s Survivor Series, Zach and David make a crossover appearance allowing us to catch up with them a little.
Across Your Dreams by Jay Lewis Taylor
“I hope we’ll meet again on the other side of fear, but should this damn war choose otherwise then all we can do is bear it …“
Lew and Russ, Grant and Alan have been caught up in the Great War, which governs their coming together and their moving apart; which has sucked them into the machine and seems reluctant to spit them out. When at last the Armistice comes, three out of the four survive; but how many will survive the peace?
Mark’s Quick Bite
I read and reviewed this one with Sally in May of last year. A riveting saga based around WWI. When I started the first thing that struck me was the author’s narrative style. It is very distinct but fascinating and wonderful at the same time. Sat just right with me and enjoyed every word immensely.
Young men that should have been in the prime of their lives but now much older than their years, broken and destroyed by an event that they will never fully recover from. This made me feel upset, angry and frustrated all in one. To even consider trying to have any form of relationship when you’re so messed up would normally be unadvisable, but on the other hand it can be said that love can be the healing power to many a situation. This was a beautiful read although maybe a tragic one in many respects but through the face of all this adversity two of our guys do eventually manage to carve out a HEA niche for themselves by the end. I can’t recommend this book enough!
With the Band by L.A. Witt
Hard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm?
Bastian has just gotten out of a long relationship with his volatile ex-fiancée when Aaron catches his eye. The sexy singer is irresistible, and in spite of the potential for strife within the band if this comes out, Bastian can’t help himself.
Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it's going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can't get back to playing with the band.
Sue’s Quick Bite
I liked the forbidden element of Aaron and Bastian's secret relationship as they tried to capture moments together in between rehearsals and gigs and keep out of sight of their siblings. And considering the reaction from the other band members when they eventually found out, they were wise to want to keep their budding relationship a secret.
What I LOVED about this story was the connection between these two guys. Their scenes together were hot, even if they were only making eye contact and longing to be alone. The intensity of their feelings was palpable and wonderfully portrayed, especially during their passionate lovemaking sessions. It was lust at first, but soon turned into much more for them.
Unexpected Heat by Eola Eden
Lone wolf Nitro Blackwood doesn't like people. As far as he's concerned, the human world doesn't exist. But for a few short days every year, the heat takes over and the undeniable urge to mate draws him to San Francisco and out of his self-imposed solitude. He's willing to deal with all the foul odors, congestion and general misery for some bump and grind action.
Computer programmer Peter Callaghan likes his quiet, boring life. But like every year since his seventeenth birthday, a rampaging need to screw every guy with a heartbeat takes over. During this time, he finds he can climb out of his shell and be a normal, horny and slightly sarcastic twenty-five-year-old. Peter knows the hulking man with a biker's name will go down in history as his hottest bang, but Peter gets more than he bargained for. When the man shows up several weeks later, raving about pregnancies and mythological creatures, Peter realizes he's being held captive by a crazy person.
Except, things start to get weirder. After escaping, Peter is chased down by a rabid wolf, and Nitro pops out of nowhere to rescue him sporting fur, fangs and claws. As Peter witnesses the unimaginable, he realizes Nitro might be telling the truth about more than him being a shape-changing beast. Having been thrust into a mysterious and bizarre world, Peter is forced to rely on Nitro and something long buried inside Peter begins to awaken.
But could they possibly have a future together?
Freya’s Quick Bite
Unexpected is a 40k shorty of the shape shifter variety.
Nitro Blackwood doesn't like people. Only when the heat takes over, does he venture outside of his solitude. When the feral man mates with geeky Peter other urges take over and oops, it’s the shifter equivalent of ‘the condom broke’. Having fled the scene, he feels guilty and returns to find Peter ill. When Nitro explains to Peter about Alpha’s and Omega’s and male pregnancy, Peter believes Nitro is insane and tries to escape.
The story is superbly written from two perspectives. Peter believes he is being held hostage and does what he can not to antagonize the nutcase holding him whereas, Nitro is doing his best for a man who doesn’t believe a word of his explanation. We have the situation of naive vs experience. And though I could understand Peter’s actions, it was Nitro I felt for. He is adorable, and there’s a sizzle between the two, which as it develops, complements the story.
Unexpected heat is a delightful story with a small cast and a splendidly focused plot with no superfluous extras. There are periods of high drama, action, tension and some altogether delicious tender moments. For those who like a healthy dose of domination in their sizzle – you are going to love this.