Trial, Tribulation, Triumph (Appearances Trilogy)

Penny’s Rating: B If the ghost of Ayn Rand ever decided to write gay romance novels, they might go something like this. Welcome to the elite society of Atlanta. Where problems of oppression are solved by money and some kick-ass lawyering. Not only that, but insta-love exists, bad people get punished, and capitalism really works, even for kids who just want summer jobs mowing the lawn. Libertarians everywhere will rejoice, and closeted doomsday preppers will squeal with glee. So….this series (The Appearances Trilogy by Etienne), probably doesn’t sound like your typical HEA gay romance. And it’s not. Most of us are not so fortunate as to live in a world where money is not an issue,  I know I certainly don’t, but like everyone, I wouldn’t mind living there someday either. TRIAL, TRIBULATION, and TRIUMPH were absolutely fascinating to me not only thanks to the compelling plot, but also as an anthropological study of a slice of our wealthier American society that really does exist, but is completely different from the America that I inhabit. Note: I am reviewing all 3 books in this post, so if you’re worried about spoilers for the book you have not read…don’t look down…

Gambling Men

Penny’s Rating: B+ This is classic “Happy” Amy Lane. It is cuteness and light, and sunshine and puppy dogs, and steamy sex and mushy romance. It is a great read for a day when you need a well written happy read. On a side note: if you like m/m romance, and have yet to read any Amy Lane novels, I highly recommend you do so. I really love her Talker Series, and her Johnnies Series, if you are looking for suggestions. Publisher Description: Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change. But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to…

Play it Again Charlie

Penny’s Rating: B+ I don’t know if I ever read a novel before where the two main characters had such a hard time communicating with one another. It was like they were different species from different planets, and even though it was infuriating at times, I loved that. Author R. Cooper beautifully wrote two people who are super attracted to each other, but are seriously so different that they often don’t even “get” what the other is saying. In real life, you see this dynamic all over the place, especially in casual relationships, but I have never seen a story where this dynamic was explored so completely, or written so well. Publisher’s Description: “After an accident left him broken in body and spirit, Charlie Howard retired from the police force to teach at a community college. Life has taught him that he’s unlikely to get what he wants, so he’s stopped asking. Instead, he hides from the world in the apartment complex he manages. After all, no one can leave him if he doesn’t let anyone in. Will, a sexy, classic-film-loving twink, moves into the apartment across from him and—to Charlie’s surprise—makes it clear that he’d like nothing more than…

First Impressions

by Christopher Koehler Penny’s Rating: B+ Publisher Description: “The first time Henry Hughes and Cameron Jameson meet, it’s an unmitigated disaster. Cameron reminds Henry of all he left behind when he stopped making adult films, and he cruelly rejects Cameron. When Cameron discovers Henry’s porno-thespian past, he assumes he’s dodged a bullet. But circumstances continue to throw the two together. Though the physical attraction between them grows, they cling to first impressions, even as a slow dance reveals just how good they could be. Henry finally realizes how wrong he was, but Cameron can’t cope with “sleeping with the enemy”. It will take a confrontation for Cameron to realize just how wrong he’s been, but unfortunately, he may have lost his chance.” ebook, 300 pages Published April 16th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press ISBN13 9781613724804 edition language: English If someone had told me before I offered to review this book for Net Galley that First Impressions was a gay contemporary romance novel that follows the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I would have told you that there was no way that would work as a novel. So I am glad I didn’t know that when I started reading. You…

An Unsettled Range (Range #3)

By Andrew Grey Penny’s Rating: B ebook, 1st Edition, 200 pages Published January 9th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 8th 2012) ISBN 161372330X (ISBN13: 9781613723302) Edition language: English url: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2709 series: Range #3 Publisher Description: “The last thing Liam Southard expects when he flees his abusive father is to be taken in by a couple of gay ranchers. Soon he has a new job and a new perspective on his sexuality, and his life starts to turn around. Then someone pulls a gun on him. In Troy Gardener’s defense, the gun thing was a mistake. Between his marriage falling apart and living in his uncle’s isolated hunting cabin, he’s been a little edgy. He wants to make it up to Liam, and once he discovers how much they have in common, he wants even more. But with Liam’s father popping in unexpectedly and a mining company threatening the ranch’s water supply, the only guarantee is that life is never going to be boring.” Okay, I am going to make this one short and sweet. I LOVE cowboy romance stories. Hot gay cowboys, lots of them, all living on the same ranch, who maybe have an occasional romp in…

Artistic Appeal (Bottled Up #6)

By Andrew Grey ebook, 192 pages Published October 21st 2011 by Dreamspinner Press(first published October 20th 2011) edition language: English url: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2581 series: Bottled Up #6 Penny’s Rating: B Publisher Description: “Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian’s eye. Instead, it’s Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter. But pursuing Nicolai won’t be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he’s reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai’s ex, who wants him back badly. Nicolai’s reluctance isn’t the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost ten years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man—all while conducting a…