Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, NA, m/m
Series: Love Lessons #2
Published: 9/30/14
Reviewed by Anne
297 ebook pages

Aaron isn’t really excited about starting college, in fact, he’s having a hard time even picking a college to go to.  He is excited about living on his own, though.  He won’t be under his father’s thumb any more, and there might even be room for him to come out.  Giles is excited to start college.  High school was hell for him, and he’s hoping college won’t have any of the bullying and cliques that left him feeling like he was the bottom of the barrel.  A chance encounter at a party neither one of them wants to be at leaves Aaron with a new sexual experience and a college t choice made.  Unfortunately the same encounter leaves Giles feeling rejected again.  So, when they get to college, where both are involved in the music program, Giles is not as happy to see Aaron as Aaron was hoping he would be.

I felt like this was a story written just for me.  One part Glee, one part Pitch Perfect, and one part Heidi Cullinan goodness was a perfect mix.  Heck, it even had a huge musical closing act!

Surprisingly, I felt like the romance, though it was good, wasn’t the strongest point of this story.  The real strength of the story was the coming of age that Aaron and Giles went through.  Some of that involved them being together, but a lot of it happened more in parallel, separate from their relationship.  It’s full of good messages, but they’re not shoved down your throat.  There’s acapella, unrequited love, just the right amount of angst, and some incredible parents.  I loved every single word of it!

The only thing I could even begin to complain about is how much Walter and Kelly (from the first book in the series) appeared in this one.  But, really, I can’t complain, because Walter and Kelly were awesome!  They also have an integral part in the story, they weren’t just reappearing for the good feels of it.

I highly recommend this book!  It’s going on my Best of 2014, and it’s in my top 5 right now!  I did read Love Lessons, the first book in this series, before reading this one.  I think you’d appreciate a couple of the secondary characters more if you read in order, but I also think you’d be fine if you read this one as a stand alone.  It’s a great read!

How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps by Josephine Myles

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, BDSM
Published: 9/23/14
Reviewed by Anne
260 pages

This one was a surprising mix of BDSM and humor that really worked well! I’ll definitely be reading more by Josephine Myles!

Jeff is a Dom fairly new to the BDSM scene in his small town in England. He’s got a more experienced neighbor, Niall, who has helped him find others to socialize with, but Jeff’s not so good with the ladies. His manners and a really unfortunate bad first try have left none of the female subs in his club interested in spending time with him. He’s greatful with Niall steps in to find an experienced submissive willing to give Jeff some lessons on how to be a good Dominate. Niall finds Eddie.

Initially, Jeff is really put off by the fact that Eddie is a man. Jeff knows he’s straight, straight, straight, so he doesn’t want to even consider it. Eddie thinks Jeff is attractive, though, so when time passes and Jeff decided he’s willing to learn from Eddie after all, Eddie is still willing to help Jeff learn the ropes.

At the beginning of this book, Jeff was a real asshole. Mostly he was an ignorant bigot. He had a lot of irritating prejudiced assumptions about gay people, what makes a man a man, women, and even BDSM. He was also blunt and unintentionally offensive.

Eddie was the perfect foil for Jeff. A very thick skin and self esteem enough to not put up with that behavior He also had a way of pointing out Jeff’s prejudices and assumptions in a way that made Jeff think.

Jeff was open to changing behavior and recognizing his prejudices. That didn’t just save the story – it made it great. I really enjoyed watching Jeff’s journey. Jeff was still a bit of a doofus, but his willingness to change behaviors when they were pointed out was awesome.

Besides the issue of whether Jeff and Eddie can ever have a lasting relationship, there’s a lot of sex and BDSM in this book! And it was really good! I absolutely enjoyed the BDSM without the angst that normally comes with this genre. I’ll absolutely be reading more Josephine Myles and looking for more of this approach!

I also heartily approve of the happy but not too happy ending. It was realistic and satisfying.

I totally enjoyed this book! I’d recommend it to readers who like m/m and BDSM, but I’d also recommend it to readers who are curious about m/m and BDSM romance!

More Than Anything by T.T. Kove


Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, m/m
Series: More Than Anything #1
Published: 9/24/14
Reviewed by Anne
238 pages

Jorgen sees a young man outside his home who looks a little off. When Jorgen approaches him, the young man falls to the sidewalk in a seizure.  Jorgen takes the sleeping man into his house after the seizure is over and looks after him.  The next morning he learns that the young man, Geir, is just 16, and living alone off an on when his single parent father works at an off shore job.  Though Jorgen is attracted to Geir, he feels it’s inappropriate, both because of Geir’s age and Jorgen’s inability to have a relationship.

After that night, Jorgen and Geir don’t expect to see each other again, but they do.  And this leads to Geir seeking out Jorgen’s friendship.  Geir turns 17, which is the age of consent in Norway, and he and Jorgen (22) start a platonic friendship.  Soon Geir learns he’s not the only one with problems.  Geir has a couple seizures per month, and Jorgen constantly battles anxiety attacks.

This story unfolds so deliciously slowly, I just loved it!  I wanted to have issues that Geir was so young, but I just couldn’t.  He was mature beyond his years, and only looking for a friend.  Jorgen came across as young for his age, and they truly have a long friendship before moving on to more.

Jorgen, who initially didn’t think he would be capable of even a friendship, finds himself wanting to do more and be more than he has been for the last several years.  He understands Geir’s loneliness because he feels it too, and he starts to realize his life is better with friends in it.  He and Geir also have bodies that betray them with seizures and panic attacks.  They have so much in common and you just root for them to get to a place where they can have a relationship!

On top of the wonderfulness that is Jorgen and Geir, the story is set in Norway, which was really interesting.  There were a lot of small differences from American life, but not so many that it was confusing.  I do really want to go to a theater that serves popcorn and bacon chips — that sounds awesome!  Jorgen and Geir also have make some fun friends who liven up the book.

I highly recommend this book!  It was a joy to read and I’ll be looking for more by this author.  I’m putting it on my Best of 2014 list!