A Free Dreamer Review: Lima Oscar Victor Echo and The Truth About Everything by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5         ★★★★★

Lima Oscar Victor EchoGrowing up in a small village in Wales with a domineering homophobic father, Oscar has always believed he has to hide his real feelings.


He’s hidden his heart from everyone, but most of all from his best friend, Jamie–who also happens to be the boy he’s in love with. 
But when a film Oscar makes about love and acceptance is chosen to be in the finals of a national competition, everything he’s hidden about himself threatens to be revealed.


Now Oscar thinks he must make the choice between the life he knows and the people he loves, and the life he wishes he had. 
But life holds far more secrets and promises than Oscar expects.

I probably shouldn’t have loved this story as much as I did. There’s the gay guy falling for the straight guy trope, which I usually hate, it’s rather fluffy, when I’m a fluff-hater, and it’s a short story, when I prefer novels with 250+ pages. But this is Suki Fleet, and it’s free, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And it was so worth it.

Now, this isn’t your typical Suki Fleet story. It’s a lot less bitter and a lot sweeter than the usual things she writes and yet I still found myself in tears by the end.

This wasn’t the typical GFY trope, where the straight guy remains straight, even once he’s in a relationship with another guy. Jamie has doubted his sexuality for a while now, but with everything that’s happened over the last year or so, he just hasn’t had the emotional capacity to really worry about that. And Oscar isn’t out to the world at all and very much convinced that the love of his love will never return his feelings.

Both MCs were absolutely lovable. They were so different and yet they worked so well with each other. It was beautiful to watch them slowly become more than friends. The romance was breathtakingly beautiful and felt so incredibly real to me.

The little bit of angst that was there, was wonderfully done. Not too much to drag the whole story down, but just enough to counterbalance the otherwise very sweet tone of the rest. There was some homophobia and Oscar’s worries about coming out and I found myself just as worried as Oscar. I just couldn’t really see a satisfying solution for all the problems presented, and yet the ending was simply perfect. It was so incredibly romantic I suddenly found myself tearing up over it.

I loved how both MCs’ passions got so many on-page scenes and how they played an essential role in the whole plot. That was wonderfully done and I could easily relate to the joy they both felt when playing music and creating animations.

Overall, a beautiful little YA adult story about coming out and falling in love. It’s a lot lighter than Suki Fleet’s other works and it’s free, so this is the perfect chance to give her a try.

Cover: The wonderful cover was done by the author herself. It’s unique and works really well with the story.

Sales Links:  Free at Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Book details:

ebook, 83 pages
Published June 7th 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersOscar Moore, Jamie (Lima Oscar Victor Echo…)
setting Llanitheth, Wales (United Kingdom)
Newport, Wales (United Kingdom)
Llanhilleth, Wales (United Kingdom

A BJ Review: Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5      ★★★★★

Chasing Death Metal Dreams coverThis story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Dear Author,
I was sent to the US at the age of 10 by my father who could not accept me. You see I was misgendered at birth and I started fighting against my body at a young age. My father sent me to live with my cousin’s family along with enough money to pay my way for a few years. Little does he know he helped to fund the many surgeries and hormones to fulfill my dream of having my outside gender match the gender my brain has always known myself to be.

What do you think Author? Not many know of his secret. He is a gay man. Is he in a gang? Is he in a band? How will he find love? How will he be accepted?

Photo Description: A young bare-chested man stands staring boldly outward from below his raised arms, hands pressed together in his black hair, elbows winged out, colorful dagger tattoos on his forearms. Another tattoo near his neck forms swirl of dark curves with “Boy” over his left collarbone. His biceps are strong, his stomach and pecs flat, his nipples small, above a thin treasure trail leading downward. Below each nipple is the unmistakable, long-healed scar of top surgery.

Carlos Medina has spent years of sweat, pain, effort, and money becoming the man he is. He writes original songs, plays lead guitar, and wears his death metal front-man persona like armor. With an excellent drummer and a talented bassist, his band, KnifeSwitch, has what it takes to succeed, if they can just catch a break. But it’s been a long road already, and there’s still a mountain left to climb. Carlos isn’t looking for anything more in his personal life than an occasional hook-up with a hot guy, preferably outside the less-than-gay-friendly metal scene.

Nate Goldstein has no intention of dating a musician. His twin brother fronts a band, and he knows band guys are all busy, broke, and obsessed with their music. But Carlos catches his artist’s eye. Nate is wary – he has a history of picking the wrong guys. Still, he might be willing to break some personal rules to find out what’s behind Carlos’s dark gaze and imaginative lyrics.

Getting together the first time is easy and fun. The second time is more complicated. And when music, ambition, and personalities clash, the guys will have to decide if they have a future worth fighting for.

This is my favorite of the stories I’ve read from this year’s writing event so far. Let me tell you why. First off, main character Carlos. While there certainly isn’t a plethora of books with a trans man as a lead character, there are a decent amount both inside and outside of the m/m genre, and I’ve read a quite a few. Not many are this well done, and in only a few have I discovered a main character that truly engaged me. Carlos definitely did. He could be stand-offish, prickly, quick to anger and didn’t do relationships. He was very careful to keep his sexuality under wraps since it wasn’t widely accepted within the death metal circle. But Carlos was also so damned strong, and his determination to pursue his dreams, both musical and being his real inner self, spoke to me deeply. Then he met Nate.

Which brings us to the second reason this was a favorite. Nate is an artist with a wonderfully close, supportive and accepting family. Artist characters are a thing for me, so is long hair, which meant Nate was an instant hit with me. But like Carlos, Nate was a thoroughly nuanced character who despite being caring, sensitive, considerate, accepting and supportive, did also have his own issues of trust and insecurity to overcome.

When the sparks fly between these two, it’s far from insta-love. These two men each have baggage and obstacles to overcome. Their story swept me along very easily and naturally. I loved watching Carlos open up to Nate not just physically but also letting him in emotionally, which wasn’t something he’d done before. Watching the two very different men learn to trust each other was a thoroughly enjoyable journey.

The author handled the sexual scenes, even the sensitive ones, very well with just the right amount of details and explanations. The heat level was quite steamy. While I do understand why the sex scenes were mainly from Nate’s point of view, I still longed for one from Carlos’ and I think mainly this has to do with the fact that the other really well-done trans man main character book I’d read was from only the other MC’s point of view. Since this one was a dual-POV, my favorite, I’d held out that hope. I don’t consider that this took away from the story all that much, however, since each scene between the two moved their relationship along perfectly.

I’m not a metal music fan at all. In fact, I normally avoid books that deal with rock stars completely. But this wasn’t about stars, far from it, and I didn’t need to be into death metal to become invested in and enjoy these guys story. The author painted a clear picture of the struggle it takes to make it as they chased their dreams. Loved the sprinkled in song lyrics and the album cover and tattoo drawing descriptions. In fact, all the many facets of the story’s elements were thoroughly researched and expertly handled, making this story read wonderfully smooth and true for me. The pace wasn’t fast, but leisurely like a Sunday drive where in the journey itself is as important as the destination. Something to be savored mile-by-mile, word-by-word.

This story was written within a short timeframe and the limited guidelines of fitting into a given prompt, yet you could never tell that if you picked this up. Not from the stunning cover, and certainly not from the beautiful, well-rounded, well-written journey towards acceptance and love that this story takes us on. If you haven’t read this one yet, pick it up today. It definitely belies the saying “you get what you pay for”. This story rocks, or considering the death metal maybe I should say it growls.

The cover by BookCoverMasterClass.com is stunning and very well suited to the story. Definitely grabbed my attention.

Free story at  Goodreads MM Romance Group.com

Book Details:

ebook, 265 pages
Published August 2nd 2015 by MMRomanceGroup.com (first published August 1st 2015)
edition languageEnglish
charactersCarlos Medina, Nate Goldstein

A Stella Review: THE LAST YETI by Tully Vincent

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Rating 5 stars out of 5    ★★★★★

Loss. Sometimes it’s slow and inexorable. Sometimes it happens in an instant.

The Last Yeti coverJrake is a yeti-shifter who has lost contact with others of his ancient species. Emerging from years of self-imposed isolation, he’s desperate to find proof that he’s not alone in a world full of the humans he hates.

Rohn Sheldon lost everything that mattered to him in a devastating moment of inattention. Gone are his lover, his right arm, and his career. His belief in himself is at an all time low as he struggles to find his place in a world he’s no longer sure he wants to belong to.

Two men, one facing cataclysm, the other fighting his way back from it. Can they find hope in each other?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Dear Author,
Yetis are made to wander the wilderness mostly alone, and only meet up occasionally. For three long years I have searched the earth and, finally, I have accepted it: I am the last of my kind. I do not belong in the world of people or technology, but the only other choice is dying of loneliness. I have managed to create a life on the edge of society, terrified to come close, terrified of being recognized as the monster only little children believe in. Lately I have realized staying in the wilds may have been a less desolate life.

Can you maybe find me someone to be alone with together?

Photo Description:
A well-built man with dark facial hair stares into the camera, eyes piercing and expression uncompromising. He wears primitively constructed fur clothing that leaves much of his muscular, veiny arms and toned torso bared to the weather. Although his skin is damp from the snow, he seems unaffected by the cold.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

The Last Yeti by Tully Vincent is already on my “favorite shelf” because it was one of the few books I really felt lately. I was very curious about this story when it came out in the Love is an Open Road event on the MM group on Goodreads. For different reasons: first of all I had never read about a yeti shifter before so I was intrigued by this new world and how would have been shown by the author. Then, have you seen the cover? It alone deserves all the stars. I can anticipate to you that the story exceeded my expectations, not only from the writing part but especially in the emotional side. In fact I was caught in the story from the start, but what surprise me more was the pull I felt from both MCs, I was soon there in their lives and empathize with them. I felt them hurting and loving. In my opinion the author made an amazing work at characterizing Rohn and Jrake and leaving nothing unexplored.

Rohn is still mourning the loss of his life partner, Evan, dead two years ago in the same accident that took his right arm and his painter career too.  Still recovering from an alcohol abuse, Rohn thinks to be a failure to everyone, to his dad who wants him to be his business’ heir. To Evan for letting him die in the accident. Now that he can’t draw anymore without his right arm, he’s a failure to himself too. Tired of feeling helpless and to be always babysitted, he has come to Alaska to show his dad and himself too that he can take care of himself.

Jrake is a yeti shifter. Desperate in his researches of another yeti, he is almost resigned to the fate of being the last yeti in the world when he smell another of his kind just in Alaska, his home country, but he cant find it. His coldness versus the human world led him to live a life mainly in his preferred form, the yeti one, alone and far away from the humans. When he first met Rohn I admit it was a little hard to watch him to be so indifferent at the beginning, before he saves Rohn from dying in the iced river, even if he should have let him go and die since Rohn saw him as a yeti. Jrake is tired of being alone but he is so used to push his human side aside, it’s not easy to thrust and let him find a closeness with the man who came into his world unexpected.

The story is heartbroken, sweet and emotional. It is detailed and never once shallow about Jrake and his yeti world. Everything is well explained, I followed him in his hunting, fishing  and shifting. I particularly liked The Last Yeti is not the usual shifter story about destined mates I’m used to read, on the contrary, Jrake isn’t really looking, not even hoping, for a partner.

The writing style is my favorite, with two different POV, the use of the third person past. It made the reading quick and the words flew easily and there was never a pause in the story. Behind their meeting and spending time together there is a lot going on around the MCs.

Moreover I liked the story a lot cause I was able to see every little thing in my head. There are some parts that are so evocative. Plus, the sex scenes are hot and sexy just as I like them to be. I loved the ending part but I loved more to know that there is a WIP sequel already. I can’t wait to see them together and to know how they will be able to live their lives as a couple, I’m hungry for more. Well done!

Cover art by Tully Vincent*. It’s perfect in every detail, it was eyecatching to me.

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Published August 26th 2015 by MMRomanceGroup.com
Edition Language English
DOWNLOAD LINK (free) http://www.mmromancegroup.com/the-last-yeti-by-tully-vincent/

Note:  Tully Vincent is also our reviewer BJ for purposes of clarification.

A Stella Review: ACID by Wulf Francu Godgluck & S. van Rooyen

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RATING 4,5 stars out of 5
(4 stars for the story and 5 for the cover, too beautiful to ignore!)
ACID cover

Dear Author,
This is obviously a real tough guy – he likes his guns, booze and cigarettes. His new robo arms are pretty damn awesome, even if the story of how he lost his normal arms isn’t pretty and it took a long time to get used to the new ones. He’s a man of action, not words, and you’ll never hear him spout sappy declarations of endless love. The love of his life clearly needs to be just as tough to keep up with him.

Basically, I want a story with this tough guy and his equally tough love interest(s). Romance shouldn’t be the main focus of this story, I want a kick-ass plot with at least a bit of world building, please! Established couple or not, ménage or not and the genre is up to you. Kinky sex would be a huge plus, but only if you can work it into the plot. I’m fine with whatever ending works for the story, I don’t need a HEA. Every shade of consent is fine by me. Kink-wise I’m pretty much open to anything, even extreme stuff like med-kink and sounding.

Photo Description (see it here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17401437-acid-by-wulf-franc-godgluck-s-van-rooyen-8-31):

A man with bionic mechanical arms sits in a dusky room holding a cigarette between his robotic fingers. A shot glass with amber liquid in his right hand. Faded scars and wounds cover his collar bone and abdomen; he stares at nothing, obviously bored with the world he lives in.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

Story and Content Information:
Genre:science fiction, horror

Tags:revenge, slaves, dystopian, genetic mutations, dark, cliff-hanger

Content Warnings: cannibalism, premastication, rape, forced pregnancy and childbirth (only mentioned), gore, extreme violence and murder, no HEA/HFN, and swearing (It’s Wulf Francú Godgluck; what else did you expect?)

 

“So, let’s get some shit cleared and out of the way. There aren’t many rules… but these are mine.
The first rule of ACID City: Avoid. Do not get involved in other people’s shit. People will fuck you over, in any way they can. And enjoy it.
Two: Lie. Everyone lies. There has not been hard, honest truth in this world for God knows how long. Except for one…
Three: Fake it. No one is who they seem— not even ourselves. Your heart will fuck you over. Your feelings are a bunch of shit made up to make you believe you once were human… but there might as well not be any more humans left. The ones that are… just don’t have the humanity to give a shit.
I broke every one of my own rules.
And I hate him for it.”

Please read the warnings because they are there for a reason, ACID is not for everyone so if you are not comfortable with dark books, don’t even think about reading this one.

This is not a nice story, you can’t sympathize with any one character. It is really violent, not just in the death scenes, too many times it was very disgusting.

The book is set in the ACID city, a dark place with no natural light, lived in by criminals and the altered (a new species created in laboratories where human DNA is been mixed with animal ones), there are no laws to obey, just stronger (or sicker) men to follow.

The Dark Heart Cartel is run by Vex Noux, a cryo-ibernated man with mechanical arms who woke up seven hundred years after his death and his life was nowhere to be found. He was married with Johan and had a son, Danny, who was only four when Vex had to leave to join the war, where four months later he died on the battlefield. He’s not a nice guy so don’t let you be moved by his story. There is not one drop of good feelings in it.

There are a lot of characters in ACID, like the gungers,the city enemies and slave traders or Jozi whose parents had been killed when they couldn’t afford the rent anymore and now he’s looking for revenge. But you are going to meet more, all of them well defined. As in the world development, amazing and so well done. Nothing is said in a general way, every little detail is well explained. It’s a complex world and it could have been difficult to follow it but the authors did  clear work, so there was no confusion for me.

Some parts are really hard to take, too strong even if you are used to reading dark stories. I overlooked them because I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, even if I shouldn’t have been surprised since I know Wulf’s mind , this is a scary place, ACID did surprise me. It’s a book full of hate, betrayal, f***ed up beings and things. They gave me chills more than once and the authors went often where they shouldn’t have gone. And of course I can’t talk about the ending but be ready for a big cliffhanger, something I was expecting from the start of the second half of the book. I have no clue who got the idea, I don’t know S. van Rooyen but I know Wulf and I was sure he would have created something twisted and cruel like that ending.

I still can’t believe it I liked this really sick (please let me use the adjective) story, but I couldn’t put it down for a minute, it was addictive, no other word can describe what I felt. Just a suggestion, if you’ll decide to give ACID a chance: don’t read it while having dinner as I did. Bad mistake!

Cover art by Wulf Francu Godgluck. I LOVE this cover so much! The lines, the front, the colors, everything is perfect. 5+ stars!

SALE LINKS (free) Goodreads M/M Romance Group

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 78 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
Edition Language English

 

A BJ Review: Give An Inch by K.D. Sarge

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5  ★★★★★

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice, and all the stories are edited by the group and given away FREE. This particular story was written for the prompt I submitted! Woot!

Give An Inch coverPrompt:

Dear Author,
The court settlement left me with enough money to buy a house as isolated from other people as I could get. I vowed I’d never let anyone close again and spent my days fixing the place up and trying to forget. Then a feral cat dropped her litter in the shed out back and disappeared. I couldn’t leave newborn kittens to die, but a city boy like me had no clue how to care for them. Thank goodness for Google. Supply list in hand, hair tucked under a hat that shadowed my face, and eyes covered by glasses, I dared to venture into town. I met him (picture) at the local feed store. I guess he’s not into watching the news, since he didn’t seem to know who I am. He helped me save the kittens. He’s dyslexic, which he thinks makes him stupid. He’s far from that. He’s kind and gentle, and he’s starting to slip under my barriers. Starting to make me crave his touch. But how can I bare my body to him after what they did to me? What they made me?

Tully

Photo Description:
A young man in a beanie lies on a couch, a gray-and-white kitten asleep on his chest and a black-and-white kitten exploring. He smiles at them.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

I was extremely excited when K.D. Sarge chose my prompt as I knew I could expect to get something special. I’m going to try not to give away too much of the plot in this review because I think its something best experienced in the slow bits of insight given. For that reason, I won’t say much about Marlow’s background, but as the story opens he’s purchased a secluded home in a rural area and has found a litter of NINE kittens abandoned by their mother. NINE! How can he possibly care for that many little critters on his own, right? Thankfully, young Pax who works part-time at the feed store rides into the picture on his trusty bike. Marlow had forgotten one of his bags of purchases at the store and Pax came to deliver it in person. Like Marlow, Pax is sucked in by the little furballs and is soon on board with the fight to save them… and maybe Marlow, too.

Wonderfully written story that gave me all the sweet adorableness I’d hoped for offset by some lovely touches of dark. I enjoyed reading this and am thankful to the author for bringing my prompt to life so eloquently!

Both Pax and Marlow are interesting characters. The story did end a bit abruptly for me, and left me longing for a sequel or expanded version to show more. I must know if the guy’s initial hook up continued and what ended up happening to the kittens. Did they keep one? Basically, it was completely intriguing and I was totally not ready for it to end. MORE please.

The cover was created by the DRitC team as part of the event and doesn’t relate specifically to this story.

Free Story to be Found Here

Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages
Published August 30th 2015 by MMRomanceGroup.com
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.mmromancegroup.com/?p=278481

A BJ Review: The Downs by Kim Fielding

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

The Downs coverPrompt: Dear Author,
He stood, head bowed, body tense, waiting. No matter what happened next, his life would never be the same…
Please give this man his life changing event, whatever that may be, as long as he ends up with his HEA/HFN by the end. Thank you, Aislinn

This story reads rather like a fable or a dark fairy tale. It’s set in a fascinating dystopian world where those convicted of a crime are taken from the city, across the Reach and pitched over a cliff into the Downs where they are told they are being given to the demons for their pleasure.

Nicely done world building. The story begins with a Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged then carted across the desert, brutalized and thrown down a cliff, supposedly to the demons. However, he wakes instead to tender care at the hands of the gentle, scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing. Although he hadn’t deserved what he got, Entian hadn’t been at all an innocent saint in his previous life. And Rig with his sad past and big, sweet bear personality is lovely. Both of their backstories are very developed for a story of this length.

This story had many elements I enjoy: dark, dystopian, hurt/comfort, scarred/broken characters, and a sweet love story. There is action but for the most part it moves at a steady pace that lets us sink gently into the world and the relationship.

This isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages. Like for example how sometimes it’s the unfortunate events that brings us to the exact place where we find what it is we most needed all along. But Entian’s determined desire for revenge even after he’d created a life with Rig was the one sour note in the story for me. I did end up liking how it played out though. So overall a great story with a sweet and fitting end.

The cover is lovely and uses the actual prompt photograph from the m/m romance group which inspired the story!

Free Story which can be found here.

Book Details: 

book, 95 pages
Published June 10th 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
edition language English