A MelanieM Review: Men of the Manor: Erotic Encounters between Upstairs Lords and Downstairs Lads by Rob Rosen

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

MenOfTheManorCover2-413x600Thirteen authors with thirteen stories that take you back to the turn of the century to explore the Lords of the Manor and their varied relationships with the servants of the back halls and downstairs.  From the naughty to the salacious, from the  humorous to the romantic, all sorts of relationships are set against the backdrop of pre World War I Europe, a time where the wealthy aristocrats may only think they rule the world but the working class has far different ideas

Thirteen stories by various authors such as Dale Chase, J. L. Merrow, Rob Rosen, Brent Archer, Michael Landon and more explore the ups and downs, ins and outs of the Lords of the Manor and the downstairs help who serve them in so many ways.  Randy members of the ruling class and footman, manipulative butlers and hedonistic lords, and even a stable boy or two to bring joy and kink into an aristocrat’s life…variety is the spice of life and this anthology has it all.

Stories in this anthology in the order they appear in the anthology:

  • The Maze by Dale Chase
  • Finnias Laredo by Alex Stitt
  • Finsloe by Xavier Axelson
  • Booting by Salome Wilde
  • Seducing the Footman by Brent Archer
  • Folly’s Ditch by Felice Picano
  • Manor Games by Michael Roberts
  • Brass Rags by J.L. Merrow
  • Mutable Memories by Michael Bracken
  • Front Door, Back Door by Logan Zachary
  • Chauffeur’s Hole by Landon Dixon
  • Master Jeffy Learns a Lesson by Sasha Payne
  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Rob Rosen

Men of the Manor Anthology is described by its editor Rob Rosen as a sort of layered english drama of classes. Or in his words “Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, but with enough sex to make the town vicar blush.”  So how you feel about those shows and the expectations you bring to this anthology will determine what you think about the mixed bag of stories this anthology represents.

Only some of these stories can be considered romantic, one or two pornographic or  “erotic” depending upon your  classification of a “sex only” type of  short story.  There are a few revenge type tales or getting their comeuppance plots.  One of sexual exploration and epipanies as well as some hilarious installments that kept me giggling past the endings.  I loved those with humor, clearly they were my favorites.

What did I find mostly absent?  Stories that included romance, and perhaps deeper feelings that might just be love.  What can be found in abundance?  Sexual encounters of all kinds and places.  Sex scenes both casual and coarse as well as sexual liaisons that were instructive, illuminating and guffaw inducing.  One story of one type, a couple of another, and so on.  To appreciate this collection of authors and plots, a reader should bring an appreciation for a variety of sexual relationships and encounters found within this anthology’s stories or  they will find this a disappointing read.

Which were my favorites?  Brass Rags by J. L Merrow.  Merrow’s Algy, aka Lord Algernon Huffingham, had me in stitches for the entire story.  Algy, a sort of perverted Bertie Wooster (P.G. Wodehouse), is in search of his own Jeeves, one who comes equipped to deal with Algy’s very specific and kinky sexual desires.  He finds him at Blithering Coombe, the country estate of his friend Cedric’s father.  Oh the joys of Algy’s mind and musings.  Whether Algy is remembering fondly why he was banned from his father’s stables (being discovered being ridden and whipped like a pony by a stable boy will do that) or despondently telling Cedric that he prefers “horny-handed sons of toil” , Algy and his story will leaving you grinning and wishing they had their own series.  His humorous and singular voice deserves it.

On the more serious side is  Front Door, Back Door by  Logan Zachary.  A short tale of increasing anxiety and dread over the actions of a spoiled son of the landed gentry,  Zachary weaves a lovely tale of tenderness and comeuppance.  I thought the ending of Front Door, Back Door was especially well done and unexpected.  Just lovely.

Back to the unexpected and humorous, Brent Archer’s Seducing the Footman contained a wonderful unexpected twist that made me appreciate his story even more.  Manor Games by Michael Roberts has a loyal and mischeivous gentlemen’s gentleman, Tompkins, whose Master is unfortunate at cards.  What happens to level the playing field and bring a certain Kensington-Ffoulke to heal is an entertaining and hilarious game of cards never to be forgotten.  Master Jeffy Learns a Lesson by Sasha Payne is a delight if for no other reason than that title.  Good thing the well crafted characters and comical situations inside the story match up nicely with each other as well as the title.

Those were my favorites and they consisted mostly of the stories that you would consider light hearted, droll, and oh so entertaining.  I love the characters and the situation they found themselves in.  They “tickled my fancy” as none of the others did.  Plus they had staying power.  For a different reader, perhaps they might find them too light hearted and would be content with the offerings from the other authors.

Men of the Manor is only available in paperback format which can make buying a collection more problematic when such variety is involved.  That’s why I am hesitating in my recommendations.  If this was an ebook, I would absolutely recommend it.  Brass Rags by J. L. Merrow and Sasha Payne;s Master Jeffy Learns a Lesson would be worth the price alone.  But a paperback?  Not so sure.  You must decide.  If you are a fan of a majority of those authors, than go ahead and pick it up.  You will have a better understanding of what type of story awaits you inside.

Cover art by Scott Idelman/Blink.  Wish it had a more historical feel to it. Just ok.

Sales Links – Paperback and ebook: Cleis Press   All Romance $15.95   Amazon from $12.16  Men of the Manor

Book Details:

Paperback only, 232 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Cleis Press (first published September 9th 2014)
ISBN 1627780661 (ISBN13: 9781627780667)

 

Book Blast: Dev Bentham’s ‘Driving Into The Sun’ Tour and contest

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Driving into the Sun_FinalSMBook Name: Driving into the Sun
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23123831-driving-into-the-sun
Author Name: Dev Bentham

Author Bio: Dev Bentham writes soulful m/m romance. Her characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know what they are missing, but whose lives are transformed by true love.

Author Contact: email: devbentham@yahoo.com, website: http://www.devbentham.com

Title: Driving into the Sun by Dev Bentham
Publisher: Loose Id
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC

Driving into the Sun Blurb:

Bad choices. We all make them, some more than others. Dusty’s choices have left him unemployed, broke and practically homeless. Despite the major issues he has with his family, his only rational choice is to sell everything and move into his parents’ basement. At thirty. Looking for a ride west, he answers a phone ad. The voice at the other end of the line flows like dark, rich honey. Finally something to look forward to—listening to Joe’s voice all the way from Illinois to Idaho.
Rather than the hip crooner of Dusty’s fantasies, Joe turns out to look more like a panhandler. Is that because Joe dresses down, or are Dusty’s preconceptions about Native Americans clouding his vision? Joe is silent more often than not. He has a complicated past and still has amends to make. But he is ready to move on. Dusty feels trapped. Two damaged men, one small car driving two thousand miles into the sun—sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed.

Driving into The Sun Excerpt:

When Joe finished with the hand, he put his fingers under Dusty’s chin and tipped his face toward the light. His touch was gentle, like a lover right before a first kiss. Dusty’s lips opened as he stared up into Joe’s dark brown eyes. Joe’s gaze flicked to Dusty’s mouth, then away. He wet some gauze and began dabbing at Dusty’s cheek. Dusty had forgotten about scrape on his face. Now it stung. So much for the moment before a kiss. He bit the inside of his lip to keep from pulling away.

“Don’t worry.” Joe’s voice was soft, amused. “This won’t scar your handsome face.”

Dusty rolled his eyes. Handsome was about the last thing he’d call himself tonight. Still, he found himself smiling at the
thought.

SunBadgeTour Dates: 9/23/14

Tour Stops: Carly’s Book Reviews, Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, My Fiction Nook, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, MM Good Book Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming, Love Bytes, Amanda C. Stone, Andrew Q. Gordon, Iyana Jenna, Smoocher’s Voice, Fallen Angel Reviews, Multitasking Mommas, Prism Book Alliance, Michael Mandrake, It’s Raining Men, Queer Town Abbey, Dawn’s Reading Nook, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Cathy Brockman Romances, Cate Ashwood

Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway for Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy of ‘Driving Into the Sun’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

On Tour with Jason Lloyd’s Salty Aftertaste!

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Salty Aftertaste Banner

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords welcomes Jason Lloyd here to talk about the anniversary edition of Salty Aftertaste, Jason’s first novel, published last year.  We have an excerpt and author’s foreword as well as a contest to enter.

Jason Lloyd calls his style of writing “creative non-fiction”, a manner of weaving autobiographical details into stories. Are they daydreams?  Perhaps flights of fancy, both sexy and humorous?  Take a closer look and decide for yourself…

Salty Aftertaste Blurb:

Salty Aftertaste CoverBoys, beaches and bad decisions…

In this nonfiction tale, Jason and his hilarious and crude motley cast of friends leave their mundane suburban jungles and flock to the mecca that is Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for vacation. They are in search of a little rest and relaxation; aka beach, bars and boys, lots of hot boys.

Jason is just looking for a little attention. He just wants to feel wanted, and a little summer passion would not hurt either. Jason is the self-proclaimed hopeless romantic of the group. Will he find his summer love or is romance really scarce?

Kevin is the complete opposite of Jason. He feels that romance is only alive in stories. Kevin’s love for a teenage drama goes too far, and his obsession turns into more than he expected. Did Kevin finally stumble upon some romance or does his fascination finally get the better of him?

Bobby is looking for a connection. Any kind of connection. He meets a new guy every night and shares his bed with him. What is really going on behind Bobby’s bedroom door? Will he ever be able to fill this insatiable void for closeness?

Benjamin sneaks out every night. He disappears into the night and reemerges the next morning as if nothing had happened. He is quiet about his extracurricular activities. Where does Benjamin go? What is he doing?

In this beach oasis, where there is an endless sea of sexy men with perfect bodies, will Jason and his friends actually find love or just one night stands? One thing is for certain, it is an epic vacation that none of them will forget.

Creepy Benji – A Look into Salty Aftertaste

Salty Aftertaste is my story about a vacation I took with my friends. Four gay guys and three straight girls live together in a small beach house for a week. It was like the gayer version of MTVs The Real World. When you have that many personalities under one roof, many memorable things will happen. The funny and dramatic moments from that vacation feel like they just happened yesterday.

This vacation was the first time we were all together for an extended period of time. I got to see everyone’s quirks and how everyone handled their liquor differently. One of my favorite scenes was the first night we were in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and we watched our friend go from quiet and laid back to creeper in 2.5 seconds.

A Salty Aftertaste Excerpt

Benjamin started to become increasingly drunk after we got to Aqua. I had not actually noticed until he put his arm around me.

“Jason you’re my favorite right now,” Benjamin said with hazy eyes and slurred speech as he clung to me. I could tell he was using my body to keep his body steady.

Benjamin started to dance with me, with random people, and with the shadows on the wall. He flailed his arms up and down and swayed from side to side trying to keep up with the rhythm of the song. He failed miserably.

“Um, exactly how much has Benji had to drink?” I asked Haley.

“I’m not exactly sure, a few beers at the house and I think he’s drinking vodka now, why?” Haley inquired back.

“Because he’s staring down that shirtless guy with the blonde afro other there. He looks ready to pounce,” I nodded in Benjamin’s direction. He was a few feet in front of us. Haley glanced over.

“Oh my God! What on earth is he doing?” she asked.

“I have no idea. Maybe it’s some sort of a British mating dance.”

Benjamin thrashed his arms around. He looked like a puppet, and his master was pulling on the strings. I walked up to him, and he turned and smiled at me. He looked dopey but happy.

“Sweetheart, what are you doing?” I asked.

“Jason! JJJJAAAASSSSOOOOOOOOON!” Benjamin responded. He placed his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eyes. “I want him! I WANT HIM!” Benjamin yelled as he pointed at the shirtless guy with the blonde afro.

“Okay, I believe you, but how bout you come back over to the group and admire him from afar?” I insisted and pulled on his arm so he would follow me.

I had expected him to put up a fuss, but Benjamin just smiled and said, “Okay!”

When I reached the group and turned back around Benjamin was gone again.

“Now where the fuck did he go?” I asked Haley.

“He’s over there.” Kevin pointed to the entrance.

We all turned to look. Benjamin was standing right in front of the door by the trash can. He stood in the doorway bobbing up and down. He was making it hard for people to pass him. With eyes partly open, he smiled and pointed at people that walked by. He gave a thumbs up to the guys he thought were cute.

“Yeah, that’s not creepy at all,” Haley said while staring at Benjamin and laughing.

“Creepy Benji! What the hell is he doing?” Kevin asked.

“Creepy Benji is right,” Bobby said as he took a sip of his margarita.

“He is on a mission to find a guy. All he needs now is a white van with a ‘Free Candy’ sign on the side of it,” I said.

“More like a ‘Free Blow Job’ sign,” Kevin stated.

Contest:  Want to win an ebook copy of Salty Aftertaste? Use Rafflecopter below to enter. Five winners will be randomly selected. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the link provided for the entry form and for additional contest details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d like to give a special shout out to my talented publicist, Joleen, from Parenthetical Author Services. She set up this cover reveal/anniversary blog tour. If you’re an author and need help promoting your work, email her at PAS Promotions.

Anniversary Edition tour hosts: 3 Chicks After Dark, Attention Is Arbitrary, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Boys On the Brink, Decadent Delights, Gay Media Reviews, GGR-Review.com, Hearts On Fire, Joyfully Jay, Love Bytes, MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, The Novel Approach, On Top Down Under Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, The Purple Fantasy Den, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, Sinfully Sexy, and Smoocher’s Voice

 Meet Jason Lloyd!

 

Author picJason Lloyd is the author of hilarious m/m romance featuring an array of interesting characters. Salty Aftertaste (Ginge Publishing, 2013) was his first creative non-fiction novel. It reached Smashwords Top Best Seller list in Gay & Lesbian Fiction and was the #5 best seller in the New Adult genre on All Romance eBooks (ARe).

His second book, Queer Dirty Laundry (Ginge Publishing, 2014), is a creative non-fiction novella and is based on his popular blog by the same name. In 2011, QueerDirtyLaundry.com was nominated for The Best of Gay Philadelphia under Best Gay Website/Blog. Jason’s blog was also in the top ten numerous times on Best Male Blogs.

Jason is currently working on an m/m romance and mystery/suspense fictional novelette series called Filthy Fibbers. Filthy Fibbers is centered on five friends and the scandalous secrets they keep. The book takes place in a small Pennsylvania town called New Hope.

Jason grew up in a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. A majority of his writing takes place in Eastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia. He currently resides in a small town in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Social Contacts

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads and Ask the Author | Website

Buy Links for Salty Aftertaste:

Amazon | ARe | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Smashwords