A few weeks ago I recommended a book to Josephine Myles that I had read 18 months ago which still resonated with me – it was an unforgettable story about a homeless man who found love. It was a really difficult book to read and review as I cried a few times while reading it. I LOVED A Note In The Margin and the hell of it was that this book was angst filled, something I do not normally care for. Josephine emailed me this week and she said something that got me thinking:
I’ve been meaning to write and say thank you for recommending I read A Note in the Margin – I really loved it – it’s pretty rare for books to bring me to tears, but this one did so several times. The final scene where Dave has moved his clothes into the drawer was just so touching. I do hope the author writes something else soon.
I know that there are many “Josephines” out there who have only recently started reading M/M romances and therefore are not aware of books that moved or thrilled readers over the years as we escaped into the world of male/male romance. I recently started to review a few of my “old favourites” and I’m hoping that some of the other guest reviewers on the site will do so too, to bring to your attention books that might have slipped through the cracks. Today, and hopefully on a somewhat irregular regular basis, 🙂 I’ll list a few titles that I can personally recommend you buy. This is separate from the books on the Readers’ Recommended Gay Books which is currently being updated – although that list does include some of my favourites. I’ll try to give you a few stories with a paragraph about each of them to help you decide whether you want to give them a whirl.
A Note in the Margin by Isabelle Rowan. Here’s what I said about this book in my review:
“If you read nothing else this year, read A Note In The Margin. This story is like no other M/M romance I have ever read and is about one man’s descent into the hell of mental illness and homelessness, how he survived years of living on the streets after a perfectly normal life as a husband and father, and the love and care it took to bring him back into the world we call normal.”
My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley is the first book in her Sci Regency series and here’s part of the blurb
A storm of political intrigue, murderous mayhem and sexual hungers is brewing on planet Regelence.
Swarthy Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins ran from a past he had no intention of ever reliving. But when his Admiral asks him to use his peerage, as an earl and the heir to a dukedom, to investigate a missing weapons stash, he’s forced to do just that. As if being undercover on a Regency planet where the young men are supposed to remain pure until marriage isn’t bad enough, Nate finds himself attracted to the king’s unmarried son.
and a paragraph from the review
This fast paced story has everything – a riveting plot, a great setting, terrific dialogue, humour, political intrigue, mayhem and murder, as well as action and adventure in a futuristic but Regency era on a far away planet . The patriarchal society created by the author is authentic in terms of the story as well as charming. The major difference in Regelence society is that being gay is the norm rather than the exception. The characters are so well drawn that they could step off the pages of the book and into everyday life without anyone turning a hair………
Phoenix Rising: Strongman by Denise Rossetti is book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series. The first two books are het but Strongman is M/M all the way. Here’s part of the blurb
A hard-bitten mercenary who’s had a gutful of mud and blood and death, Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout. Tough, cold and competent, he’s shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus acrobat. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church, Fort regards manlove with casual contempt. Not for him. Never for him.
and the review
Athletic, cocky and single-minded about what he wants, Griff sets about getting it. Fort fights with everything in him, but Griff affects him like no one else. It’s not just his strong, supple body. Fort is irresistibly drawn by the openhearted friendship the other man offers so freely.
“This book has hot men and even hotter sex, a terrific story, fantasy creatures – some good (those wonderful Aetherii men with wings and a tail), some horrible like the Hssrda, great adventure and, even better, rough sex that becomes tender when you least expect it.”
There is an epilogue to the story that is available free on the author’s website as well as a vignette called Celebration. Here’s the link.
I read a book 4 years ago but knew I would not do it justice in a review because it was an angst fest, 🙂 so I sent the book to Jenre a few months ago and asked her to write the review. It was one of the best suggestions I had ever made to her because she did a wonderful job. That book is A Red Tainted Silence by Carolyn Gray. When I ‘recommended’ to Jen that she review the book I had no idea she was nervous but I found out in the review when she opened it with this paragraph:
“I have to admit I was nervous as I sat down to read this book. Wave had ‘announced’ I was reading and reviewing it and after that lots of people let me know that it was either one of their favourite m/m books or how much they had liked it. After that, I began to worry what would happen if I didn’t like the book or had a lukewarm response to it. Fortunately all my worries were unfounded as I loved the book. Loved it.”
Here’s how she summarized the book:
The breadth of emotion, the complexity of the characters and the sheer intensity of the book, all combine to make A Red-Tainted Silence a wonderful book which I would highly recommend.
Also high on my list of recommendations is Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville, another book reviewed by Jenre. She said this about the story:
“Those of you who, like me, love watching thrilling action films will find this book exactly to your taste. In fact, I spent the majority of time whilst reading Zero at the Bone thinking what a great film it would make. It’s got all the right elements: A taciturn, reluctant, tortured hero; an honourable, personable, hero who appears helpless but has an inner strength; several different bad guys; shady government officials; action set pieces involving explosions, gun fights and car chases; betrayals; murders and underpinning the whole thing is a great love story between two seemingly opposite men.”
This list would not be complete without that well-known, angst filled M/M romance starring detectives Sean O’Brien and Nick Valenti. Of course I’m talking about The Assignment, Evangeline Anderson’s signature M/M book that introduced a lot of readers to this sub genre. The Assignment was probably the first Gay For You book written and this is some of what I said when I reviewed it:
“Their undercover assignment brings out feelings in Nick and Sean that they have kept buried and they can no longer hide their love for each other. Since they are both straight, this is a quandary that neither has any idea how to resolve and there is the added dimension of their job where being gay detectives is not something that is acceptable. The tension and the drama of the final take-down plays out very publicly and Nick and Sean are left to deal with the outcome and emotions they never anticipated having for each other. “
Dangerous Ground , a wonderful adventure, is by one of the best writers in the genre and definitely one of my favourite authors – Josh Lanyon. Here’s the blurb:
Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. And when Taylor was shot a few hours later, Will felt his reluctance to get involved was vindicated. For Will, the team and the friendship have to come first — despite the fact that he hasn’t failed to notice just how…hot Taylor is”.
I couldn’t get over how very hot Taylor was 🙂 and that hottub scene WOW:
While on the run our heroes seem bent on stirring the emotional waters in more ways than one and a hot tub played a key role in their attempt to make up, taking the meaning of water sports to a whole new level as “they grappled amiably, hands slipping on slick bodies, tussling and twisting in the steaming water”. Okay!
There is a sequel to Dangerous Ground called Old Poison which is just as good. Their creator recently informed me that Will and Taylor will be starring in a new series – Blood Heat is scheduled to be released in a couple of months.
I have one more recommendation today – the first book in Lynn Lorenz’s erotic historical series In The Company of Men called The Mercenary’s Tale. Here’s part of the blurb:
Lord Drake is a mercenary. When he meets Ansel for the first time he is immediately attracted to him and waives his usual rule of not training young men to become mercenaries because so many have died in battle while under his care.
Part of my review went like this
When Ansel loses his life at Foray the setting, as expected, is poignant, moving and sad as Drake searches for him on the battlefield among the bodies of men and horses. He eventually finds Ansel as he lay dying next to his horse; when it is all over Drake cannot leave him and holds his lover in his arms for hours afterwards. This scene was really heartrending.
But it wasn’t all sad
The Mercenary’s Tale can actually be viewed as two stories covering the evolution of Lord Drake, and it is one of the most delightful books that I have read in a while. The language and dress are true to the era, and the author Lynn Lorenz should be commended for making the book as historically accurate as possible, within the confines of a work of fiction.
I’ll do similar posts of books I can personally recommend a few more times to get you started, if you’re a recent fan of male/male romances. I hope you find at least a couple of titles in this post that you want to try – I think these books are excellent examples of the wonderful writing and variety to be found in this sub genre. You may have some recommendations of your own that I or other readers haven’t heard of, but don’t list them all today as there will be ample opportunities in future weeks. 🙂 We all look forward to reading about a few of your personal favourites. Till next time.