Bad Boyfriend by K.A. Mitchell

12359552
Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Bad in Baltimore #2
Published: 12/6/11
Reviewed by Anne
157 pages

Quinn lived with his closeted boyfriend, Peter, for 10 years before Peter came home and dumped him – confessing to an affair with a woman who got pregnant and Peter was going to marry.  Peter is an asshole, and Quinn is shocked.  He’d given up so much to be with Peter, and Peter’s acting like they’d just been friends with benefits all along.  

Fast forward nine months and Peter wants Quinn to be the godfather of his baby.  Quinn decides to bring a date to the baptism.  He doesn’t need to be in the closet anymore, and what greater revenge could there be than bringing a date – and if he could be a bit flaming and in your face about his gay-ness?  Well, that would be great.

So Quinn goes boyfriend hunting at a gay dance club bar and finds Eli.  Eli is much younger than Quinn.  Young enough that Quinn asks for Eli’s ID to make sure he’s legal!  After years of living with Peter, Eli is refreshing!  He knows exactly what he likes and he’s not ashamed of it.  And an older man like Quinn?  That’s exactly what Eli likes.

There were so many things l loved about this book!  Both Eli and Quinn are working through things.  Interestingly, Eli initially writes off a relationship with Quinn because Eli feels like he has enough drama in his own life, and he knows Quinn has even more!  The contrast between an older man who is getting used to being more openly gay and a younger man who is very confident in who he is and what he wants was wonderful!

There is some “Daddy” play that squicks me out a bit, but overall the two are so sweet together and it clearly was a kink they both enjoyed, so it ultimately felt ok to me.   I also had some concerns about Eli’s financial stability.  He and Quinn never fully address this, which surprised me.

There is so much good to mention, though! The book gets bonus points for me in addressing the fact that Quinn is older than Eli.  Quinn needs recovery time between episodes of sex and he’s a little embarrassed by that.  It’s never a problem for them – in fact it becomes a sexy thing for them, but it’s there and it’s mentioned and dealt with – honesty that i really appreciated!  Another positive is that Peter, while definitely the villain of this story, isn’t just two dimensional. He’s done some awful things, but he’s pretty pitiable, too.  I loved Eli’s friends (and I had to go read their story – Bad Company – yes, I read out of order!) and I liked the family Quinn made for himself.

I highly recommend this book and it’s going on my best of the year list!  As I mentioned, I haven’t read this series in order.  Bad Boyfriend stands alone very well, but I kind of wish I’d read Bad Company first, since it features several of the same characters.
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Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell

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Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Bad in Baltimore #1
Published: 6/7/11
Reviewed by Anne
154 pages

Kellan and Nate were best friends as boys… up until right before freshman year of high school, when Nate trusted Kellan enough to tell him he thought he was gay, only to have Nate turn around and help a group of boys bully him at school.  Then their fathers had a falling out at work, and Kellan’s family is pretty much responsible for ruining Nate’s life. 

It’s been years since that happened, and Nate’s now a successful newspaper editor and advice columnist, but Kellan is still a sore spot with him.  So he’s shocked to the core when Kellan approaches him in a gay bar asking for his help getting back at Kellan’s dad.  Kellan wants to make his dad think Kellan is gay, and having Nate be his boyfriend would make it even harder on Kellan’s dad.  Kellan is quite an asshole, but he persuades Nate to play along, but then confuses them both with his curiosity about all things gay, his ever decreasing asshole-ish behavior, and the feelings he seems to be developing for Nate.

What a great read!  Right now I’m fairly new to m/m books and I’ve been working through recommendations others have made of really good books.  It’s a great place to be, reading one good book after another!  Oddly, Bad Company was a book that had mixed reviews.  I’d read that book two in this series was incredibly good, but not so much this one.  So, I actually read the second book, Bad Boyfriend, first.  I really liked it, so I decided to read this one, too.  Maybe my low expectations helped, but I really enjoyed the story!

I loved it when Kellan and Nate worked through issues by Kellan composing oral letters to Nate’s advise column persona.  It was so sweet!  Kellan and Nate were actually both assholes in their own way to each other, and that’s what really created teh conflict in this story.  Their affection for each other was believable, though.  Kellan’s questions and concerns about gay sex seemed realistic.  Watching him figure all of it out was pretty entertaining.

Eli was an interesting character – even though I’d already read his story in Bad Boyfriend.  The causal sexual affection he had for others was a new thing for me.  I’m not sure what to make of it, but it worked for Eli.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s going on my best of the year list!  What older book do you really like and think everyone should read?

Tigerland by Sean Kennedy

15841201
Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, sports
Series: Tigers and Devils #2)
Published: 10/15/12
Reviewed by Anne
306 pages

I first read Tigers and Devils (the book before Tigerland) in December 2012.  It was a book I instantly LOVED and is an all time favorite read of mine.  When I read it, I immediately bought its sequel, Tigerland, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it.  See, it’s not a story about another couple, it’s the same couple from Tigers and Devils, Simon and Declan.  I was so elated that Simon and Declan were finally happy together at the end of book one, that I just couldn’t bring myself to read a sequel where they would surely face more challenges. I just really needed them to be happy together in my head for a while.

So, I got around to reading book two.  I did a reread of Tigers and Devils first, and that was no chore.  Still an incredible read!  I went right on to Tigerland, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long.  If you haven’t read Tigers and Devils, go read my review here: http://dirtygirlsgoodbooks.blogspot.com/2012/12/tigers-and-devils-by-sean-kennedy.html and then get the book and read it.  You must read it book one before continuing on to book two.  Honestly, Tigerland could probably stand on it’s own, but it’s so much more enjoyable having already met the characters, so don’t deprive yourself!

OK, so, if you’ve already read Tigers and Devils, read on for my Tigerland review.  

It’s few years after Tigers and Devils and Declan has retired from the AFL and is working as a commentator.  Simon is now working at a community TV station developing shows with LBGT content.  Life is good.  Then Greg Heyward, retires from the AFL and comes out of the closet.  He’s Declan’s ex, and he’s decided to write a tell all book about his time in the AFL and, knowing it will sell books and win him time in the spotlight, his time with Declan.  Simon and Declan don’t exactly agree on the best way to handle this news, but they stumble through together.

This was a non-stop read for me.  Well, ok, I had to stop, but I resented it!  I tore through it without really making any notes to write a review on, which is a good indication that it was a great read for me!  Declan and Simon are great together.  Declan is so down to earth and Simon is so dramatic.  They each need to deal with Heyward in their own way, and they support each other, but the friction it causes is stressful.

Fran and Roger are still on the scene and are now trying to become parents.  The opening scene in the book was so hilarious I made my husband read it.  Abe and Lisa are separated, and their relationship is another thread in this story.  Sean Kennedy’s humor is solid throughout the book, but there’s also the heartclenching sweetness that made me love Tigers and Devils.

I highly recommend this book – but read in order!