Six Degrees of Lust (Belen’s Review)

Title: Six Degrees of Lust (By Degrees #1)
Author: Taylor V. Donovan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 2nd 2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, Murder/Mystery
Page Count: 350 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
Author’s Note: By Degrees is an ensemble character series with multiple points of view.

2nd Edition

New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn’t have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.

Former firefighter Machlan O’Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.

One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don’t want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.

First Edition published by MLR Press, December 2011.

Let me begin by saying I am aware I am firmly in the minority with my opinion of this story.

A lot of people have given this 5 stars and loved, loved, loved it. I, on the other hand, hated it. It’s what makes the world go around. As my mother says, “There’s a hat for every head.” This one simply did not work for me on most every level.

I felt like the story couldn’t figure out if it wanted to be a mystery or romance and was trying to balance between the two (while failing miserably).

There were too many characters just thrown in and not fleshed out enough. I did like that it was an ensemble cast. I usually like multiple points of view as well, but in this case it just felt overwhelming to the story and didn’t serve to move the plot along in any meaningful way.

I also felt like there was way too much over-the-top, unnecessary drama, while it seemed the real drama of the story (Hello, there’s a serial killer! And one of the POV is his crazy thoughts!) was put on a back burner.

I didn’t like that it seemed like most of the women in this were portrayed as a bitch.

I really didn’t like that the main character, Sam, was a raging asshole to Mac, and I didn’t feel like he redeemed himself by the ending.

Which brings me to the ending. I absolutely LOATHED and DETESTED that this ends on a cliffhanger WITH NO WARNING leaving HUGE, dangling threads.

I’ve said it before – I’m fine with a cliffhanger, AS LONG AS I AM WARNED. This should have been in the blurb. Readers should have the option to start an incomplete series or wait for a series to be completed before buying and reading.

In the end, this wasn’t for me, but, like I said, I’m definitely in the minority.

By Degrees Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Six Degrees of Lust (By Degrees #1) provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

I felt like it couldn't figure out if it wanted to be a mystery or romance, there were too many characters, too much over-the-top, unnecessary drama, it seemed like most of the women in this were portrayed as a bitch, and it ends on a cliffhanger WITH NO WARNING.


  • Oh no! Sorry you didn’t like this Belen. It’s one of my all time favorite series. I also loved Disasterology by the same author and can’t wait for Heave Hitters.

  • I read both book back-to-back and loved them. Not all the stories, but Sam and Machlan. And it was REALLY long. I think you’ll like this one better after you read the second book. Which is actually already available.

  • I started to buy the first book when it came out but read reviews first and found out about the cliffhanger so I decided to wait. From this review, it sounds like a good thing I did and I believe I’ll just keep on waiting for a long, long time.


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I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future
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