A MelanieM Release Day Review: M4M by Rick R. Reed

Standard

Rating: 4..75 stars out of 5

2nd Edition 

Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same

Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?

But his life is about to change…

NEG UB2

Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

STATUS UPDATES

Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.

I  truly can’t imagine reading M4M by Rick R. Reed as anything except one deeply moving story…to me it doesn’t even register as three separate tales. Rather three stages in one man’s life, two so heartrending that the tissues seemed inadequate at times to stop the amount of tears that flowed.  Even now just thinking about Ethan and his journey, I start to choke up which is funny because I wasn’t sure I was even going to connect with Ethan at the beginning.  Or even like him.

That would be at the start of VGL Male Seeks Same when Ethan wants to date and after a shocking lack of response on a dating website, makes a rash decision.  This section of M4M made it harder for me to connect with Ethan.  Understand him? Yes, but like him?  Not quite.  That came at towards the end of this section of Ethan’s life when everything changed for him and me as a reader.  I started to love Ethan which made the next two section all the more moving and devastating.

Rick R. Reed does a beautiful job of making me love all the people who surround Ethan too.  Ok maybe not Bubbles at the beginning.  But Brian, how I took Brian into my heart.  And Jan?  I’d love to have Jan as my friend.  They also hold the key to making M4M so real, so poignant and moving that I can guarantee it and these characters will stay with you long after the stories are done. The church aspect as a panacea is an element that I didn’t really connect with but that doesn’t matter.  It was the vehicle that delivered Ben and hope to Ethan and that’s what counts.

M4M by Rick R. Reed is a beautifully written, incredibly moving story about love found, profound loss,  grief, recovery and the ability to find hope and perhaps love once more.  That it includes two men who are HIV positive?  Part of the huge picture, not the picture itself….that was part of their individual story and journey too.  The HIV element seemed authentic (as it should…read the author’s note), but M4M is about life.  Ethan’s life.  It’s a story you will want to read about, a man you will want to get to know.  Have your tissues handy!

Cover art by Reese Dante is perfect for the story.

Buy links:

Ebook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/m4m-by-rick-r-reed-8647-b

Paperback:  https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/m4m-by-rick-r-reed-8648-b

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/M4M-Rick-R-Reed-ebook/dp/B0732LXD95

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: July 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635335422
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/m4m-by-rick-r-reed-8647-b

A Lila Audiobook Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Bonfires is a lovely story with mature characters and well-behaved teenagers. The best part is that everyone acted their age and the plot, even when a little fantastic, move forward following an interesting set of developments and real love and family relationships.

This is not only a romance but a bit of a mystery with the added drama of small towns. We have several story lines running parallel and in normal Amy Lane fashion everyone in town, including the animals play an important part in the plot and the MCs’ love story.

Everyday events, like breakfasts & homework, are well-mixed with Larx’s and Aaron’s developing relationship. They not only get to know each other but those around them before and after they met. Their pasts are as important as their present and how they want to shape their future.

I did want to see more alone time between the main characters. They spent a lot of time just solving other people’s problems and dealing with their families. I wanted a bit of downtime for them to really have a chance to discover each other without interruptions or expectations.

Overall, this is another hit by this author. It’s the proverbial big book of everything, but as always, it works.

Nick J. Russo did an excellent job giving all the characters a unique voice. It was easy to get immersed in the story.

The cover by Anne Cain shows one of the story’s main scene to perfection. It’s a bit different than traditional MM romances, but so it’s the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes
Published: June 9, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B071WQJ72H
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Facing Fears (Kiss of Leather #7) by Morticia Knight

Standard

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

As the men at Kiss of Leather celebrate the resolution of the case of Corey’s kidnappers, Master Hunter worries that he’ll never see Tobey again.

 

Chuck isn’t about to let one of the key figures behind Corey’s kidnapping get away from him again. Everything he and Stone have discovered through their months-long investigation is about to come together. However, when Chuck follows the suspect to a shipyard, it’s not only his own life that’s in danger.

 

Master Hunter is officially part-owner of Kiss of Leather, so he’s thrilled to raise a toast in celebration now that the mystery of Corey’s kidnapping has been solved. However, he can’t help but feel left out. Everyone is paired up except for him. He’s never believed in monogamy before, but after Tobey unexpectedly left Kiss of Leather and no one knows where he’s gone, did Hunter make a horrible mistake by not sharing his true feelings?

 

Tobey has been miserable ever since leaving West Hollywood and going back to Idaho. After breaking his own promise to himself by falling in love with his trainer, Tobey impulsively left Kiss of Leather because of something awful Master Hunter said. But things at home are worse than ever and he’s come to realize that those who are related to him by blood aren’t necessarily his true family. The only place he’s ever felt he truly belonged was at Kiss of Leather.

 

Tobey has to face Hunter if he goes back to Kiss of Leather and Hunter has to figure out what he really wants from life and love. It takes a charity slave auction to show them what they’ve both been too stubborn to see.

 

This was another great story in this series, it starts right off where the Cutting Cord stopped so there is no gap in between.  I loved getting to see more of Liam and Neal’s relationship before we delved into the dynamics of Hunter and Tobey.  I love how we get to continue to see all the other characters from the previous stories and see how they continue to grow and help each other.

 

Hunter had emotionally hurt Tobey sometime during the last book, but it wasn’t something we saw.  When Tobey returns they both need to re-evaluate what happened before and maybe take a closer look at themselves.  I loved how determined Hunter was once he finally admitted his true feelings, he just has to have the courage to really open up to Tobey.

 

Tobey really need someone to love and care for him, seeing him feel rejected by Hunter and then again by his family is heartbreaking; I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be fine.  Hunter tries to plan everything down to a T in order to show Tobey how he feels but when it doesn’t all go to plan he really adapts quickly and they are able to work everything out between them.  I did feel that once they actually talked and got together things resolved quite quickly but it didn’t take away from the story for me.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is gives great visuals of the characters and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 151 pages

Published: July 4, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515957

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #7

A VVivacious Review: Regret (Under My Skin #1) by Christina Lee

Standard
Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
Nicholas “Nick” Dell and Brian “Brin” Schubert have history together. But neither thought that they would ever see the other again. When Brin’s apartment is flooded and his friend offers to let him stay at his place little does he know that his friend’s roommate would be none other than Nick himself.
 
As these two find themselves in each-others’ sphere of influence, they find it hard to deny their chemistry but will Nick, still struggling to come to terms with his guilt and regret, manage to start living in time to give this relationship a chance? Or will Brin decide that once was quite enough and he isn’t ready to have his heart in peril again
 
This story is wonderful. It has got everything, a wonderful story which is very well executed along with characters that make you feel. This book made for an amazing read.
 
My best part about this book is that it gets you so invested in Brin and Nick’s life that you can’t help but feel. This book just gave me so many feels it was amazing how much I connected with these characters. Another great thing about this book was balance. It often happens that books get skewed in their priority over one character especially if that character happens to be struggling in any way. In this book it is definitely Nick who struggles but despite the fact that Nick is still learning how to live, I liked how the author didn’t allow Nick’s struggles to overshadow Brin. I absolutely loved the fact that while Nick was dealing with a lot of baggage and emotional weight, Brin was simultaneously dealing with his own emotional wounds while trying to reconnect with his father.
 
Another amazing detail to this book is both the characters’ relationships with their parents I felt like there was a lot of truth to those relationships. Like how Brin tries to reconnect with his father and how Nick has to learn from his mother about how it is probably time to start living.
 
This book was pretty amazing with its character development. We get to see so many people grow especially Brin, his father, Nick and his mother. These four characters grew a lot over the course of this book and it was particularly amazing to see how the author handled Brin’s father and Nick’s mother in such beautiful ways giving them their own space to tell their story.
 
But the thing I most undoubtedly loved about this book was Nick’s journey his emotional journey is just so vivid and well-crafted it moved me to tears. The great thing about this book is that the story is very simple but in all its simplicity it is incredibly elegant and graceful. It was a thing of beauty to read about these two characters and their journey to love. With Nick it was a matter of great precision to get his story right without overdoing the emotion, I liked the way the author handled the build-up to the reveal. She didn’t overdo it so that the reveal would fall flat but she didn’t undersell it either so that when you are reading the moment you are moved but it is just part of the crescendo you were already riding.
 
On the whole, this story was such a delight. It was amazing and I loved Brin and Nick’s story.
 
Cover Art by Kanaxa Editing. Oh! I love the cover for this one.
Sales Link:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 235 pages
Published June 25th 2017 by Christina Lee
Original TitleRegret
ASINB073B59969
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesUnder My Skin #1

STRW Interviews Rick R Reed: Characters, Influences and his romance trilogy ‘M4M’ out now!

Standard

M4M by Rick R. Reed
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Release Date July 10, 2017

BUY

Dreamspinner Ebook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rick R. Reed here today answering questions and sharing insights into his latest release M4M. Welcome, Rick!

✍🏼

An Interview with Rick R. Reed, author of the trilogy of romance, M4M

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Well, if you’re talking about Ethan Schwartz, my romantic underdog hero who’s central to all three of the stories in M4M, he and I do share certain similarities.

At the start of the book, in VGL Male Seeks Same, he’s looking for love online. I know first-hand how daunting, terrifying, frustrating, and exciting that can be. But I do believe in online romance because I met my husband fifteen years ago on an online dating site. So, I know it can lead to true love!

The middle of the book (NEG UB2) occurs some years later when the love Ethan finds in the first part becomes strained when Ethan is diagnosed HIV-positive. I also am HIV-positive (and have been healthy and undetectable for over seventeen years now—thank God), so I know the terror that comes with that diagnosis. My heart went out to Ethan as he deals with his health status and the fear that the man he loves betrayed him. The story is a true test of love.

The last part of the trilogy that I call M4M is called Status Updates to reflect our current social media centralization into our daily lives, my own included. Social media can be a double-edged sword, bringing people from your past into your life. On the one hand, things like Facebook can be a wonderful way to reconnect—and even find the road back to love, if you’ve been hurt as Ethan was. On the other hand, it can easily bring someone back into your life that you aren’t sure you ever wanted there in the first place. That’s the crux of my story, which, oddly enough, reflects my own spiritual journey.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

In everything I write and every character I breathe life into, there has to be a part of me in order for him or her to become real. So yes, I draw from my own life, but the comparisons, even if you know me well, may not be so apparent. That’s because similarities from my own life and that of a character can be metaphorical or symbolic. But I think any writer would be hard-pressed not to draw from his/her frame of reference when creating a character.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Well, when it comes to my horror and dark psychological suspense, yes. As a kid, I was obsessed with horror movies, books, and TV shows (I was a huge fan of Dark Shadows). Romance, though, I didn’t really get into until I was much older, and I wanted to bring love stories that would resonate with gay people to life because those stories aren’t told as much in mainstream fiction.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Yes, because it gives people (myself included) hope. I believe very strongly in intention and how our own thinking shapes the reality we get and, with that in mind, HEA or even HFN is a given.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

My main influences are Patricia Highsmith, Flannery O’Connor, Stephen King, and Ruth Rendell, all have a twisted and dark world view, but in the end, I think, they all believe in redemption—and so do I.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

It’s here to stay. Personally, I love it and seldom even read a paper book anymore. In fact, I’ve bought ebooks of paper books I’ve gotten as gifts because I know I won’t read the paper book because I’m so used to the ease and convenience of ebooks.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Most of my work is published by Dreamspinner Press, and I’m blessed to work with Reese Dante, who’s just amazing and wonderful—extremely talented. We usually huddle on what I want to get across, what my characters look like, and tone. Reese takes it from there and usually sends me dozens of stock photos of handsome male models to look at (such hard work!) to help find the best fit for the characters. But she’s truly inspired and I love every cover she’s done for me. The more we work together, the more we think almost as one, so that’s really nice.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have a short coming out in September called I Heart Boston Terriers. It’s about how a rescue dog brings two men together. I just got the cover and it’s amazing. I can’t share it, but can tell you it features my own Boston terrier, Lily, on the cover (by Reese Dante).

BLURB

Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same

Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?

But his life is about to change…

NEG UB2

Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

STATUS UPDATES

Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.

FIND RICK ONLINE