Romantic and being alone on holiday

rhodes at night

Today I thought about my week in Rhodes a couple of years ago. I stayed at the Mitsis Grand Hotel and it was one of the best holidays I have had. I don’t usually have a great time abroad, but this time I loved it. I went with my parents (yes a little odd you may think, but we get on amazing well and they wanted to show me why they love the Greek Islands so much).

I think Rhodes is a very romantic place, especially at night. Walking along the sea front down into the old town is beautiful after a good meal. Lovers and families eat at tables under the canopy of paper lamps. You hear the sound of Greek music everywhere and people are simply happy. Couples meander in and out of little shops and everyone is strolling along soaking up the atmosphere. I hadn’t experienced anything like it before.

But I felt totally alone.

So excited!

I know it seems like I’m living romance in books lately, but can we leave that topic of discussion for another day?

Why?

Because I’m really excited.

I accidently came across a new gay romance author and series of books and I instantly loved the feel and tone of what I read (I’m grinning as I write this). The author is Sandrine Gasq-Dion. The excitement is because I’m a bit of a superhero/sci-fi/fantasy geek, so what would be the best thing you could hand me? A series of books that’s like Marvel’s X-men and the AVENGER’s where all of them are gay! Yes gay and fall in love.

I haven’t scratched the surface of this series but there are butch motorbike riding Werewolves, shape-shifters and guys with water powers and all with over-the-top names. Just the way these guys dress and interact has me melting on the floor. It’s has a vibe of the HBO series True Blood but all gay! It’s like Spider-man and Thor falling in love… Wow!

If this turns out to be as good as I hope… well lets just forget romance… I’m booked up for the next year!

Book Review ‘By the Light of the Moon’ (Assassin/Shifter Book 3) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

By the Light of the Moon

If you are beginning to think I like everything I read… think again!

I didn’t think it was going to happen but alas, it has.

Remember this is my personal opinion and I still love this series (Just not this this book).

So many times while reading this, I stopped to ask whether this book was taking a swipe at Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga and her huge success. Is this author just getting on the Twilight band wagon? Throughout the book even the characters mention Twilight jokingly. But the similarities are too large to ignore, even down to “there is only one way to save your lover” bet you can’t guess what that is? Even putting that aside it just got silly even for a supernatural story.

Did someone else write this? That’s how it felt to me. After loving the first two books and the limited cast that you really get to know, we now go completely the opposite way with a cast lineup that makes the X-men look small.  Far to many characters are thrown at you and the whole thing felt messy and disorganised.

This book needs some serious editing.  Words missing from sentences and pages that appeared to lack continuity.  A few times I had to flick back to the previous page as ‘action’ didn’t match up. It felt as if a page was missing. This was very frustrating and again the whole thing felt clumsy and hence the need for strict editing and rewrites.

Who hits a wild wolf with their truck puts it in the passenger seat, takes it to a motel and lays it on the bed, sleeps next to it and plays with it for a few days? A wild Wolf!

I can’t help think this was some sort of joke.

After so much reality in books 1 and 2, I would have thought the introduction of werewolves would have been done gently, introducing them into a somewhat realistic universe  but no, the whole book was ‘full in the face’ werewolf action, culture, believe, heritage. It was such a gigantic removal from the previous books and didn’t feel a third edition to the series at all. It was for me, too much of a step away from the original source material.

The sex was more aggressive and more primal and I didn’t mind that as it felt right.

Dakota is surprisingly the most developed character here. After my previous reviews about the ‘big butch alpha males’ always being the stronger characters in these books, Dakota (a beta male or the less masculine of the two) is a well developed character. We see much of the book from his perspective. I had an image of the actor Ben Barnes when I thought of how Dakota looks and this worked for me.

Sam is the love interest in this story and one of the ‘Skull Blaster’ assassins. In all honesty he was a bit flat.

Sawyer however, is a new young guy on the reservation who has never been in love. His character stood out ‘big time’ for me. He was quirky and cheeky and I loved him straight away. I hope we see more of him.

In conclusion, all that was missing was vampires. Put Edward’s family with Jacob’s family together from ‘Twilight’ and you have this book. I just can’t understand why the author when down this route of producing a carbon copy. If you know please let me know.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘Alaska, with Love’ (Assassin/Shifter Book 2) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

Alaska with Love

Book 1 already had me hooked and Alaska with love just reeled me in further, giving more of what I saw and felt and then providing me with just a little bit more that guaranteed I’d picked up and read book 3. That little bit more is the supernatural element to the series I’ve been waiting for.

After the lead characters Mateo and Riley in book 1, I wondered if Josh and Mark (the lead characters here) would be too similar. I didn’t have to worry. Visually and behaviourally, Josh Montgomery stands out from his pal Mateo. His love interest Mark Patterson is (to me) similar to Riley in behaviour, however, the author gives him specific elements that make him just about individual enough, notably his perfect bow shaped lips.

It was a story whereby I only realised (after the initial meeting of the lead protagonists) that there isn’t much of a story, that’s if you were to ignore their personal circumstances and fears. However, you don’t in reality notice because you become so invested in their attraction and developing romance. As long as you accept that the developing romance is the A-story and everything else is the B-storyline you’ll be fine.

Without giving anything away, Josh is a straight guy, the type who fucks women and leaves them. That is until he gazes upon Mark for the first time. Subsequently, his world is turned upside down.

Once again, banter is fantastic and had me grinning on the train to and from work (again). The characters from the first book return which is an aspect I really love. Already I’m getting a feeling that minor characters are going to feature in future stories, in this one a guy called Keegan stands out to me. The whole thing reminds me of a TV series.

Do I have any concerns? Yes, the ‘alpha males’ i.e. Mateo and Josh always seem to have the more developed characters, but I can’t say the same for their mates Riley and Mark (beta males?) so I hope we get a little more development in these types in the following books. Additionally, I do wonder how the author is going to keep the romance fresh with each book.  I found it getting a little repetitive in places and sex scenes got a bit to frequent for me (maybe I’m just jealous).

On the whole I loved this as much as book 1. I raced through this book and to be brutally honest, it’s difficult not to fall in love with Josh by the end. He is such an adorable muscle bound blonde hunk who’s a complete joker.

What did you think of this book if you’ve read it? What do you think of my review? I would love to hear your comments.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘A Marked Man’ (Assassin/Shifter Book 1) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

Marked man

My 6th gay romance.

This is book 1 A Marked Man in a huge series of 24 called Assassin-Shifters which I believe (but don’t quote me on this) spins off into another series called The 12 Olympians and a third series called The Santorno Stories. I get the impression that they all exist in the same universe.

You may think that a male on male romance would get a little mundane, but no, never, not once did it slow down and get tiresome, seriously, having the two protagonists in scenes totally alone still had me turning the pages like a man possessed.

This is the story of Mateo and Riley and it’s certainly different from the previous 5 gay romance books I’ve read thus far. This is so ‘macho’ that I felt like hitting the gym within a few pages and I’m already a gym goer. There is no room here for camp skinny boys and yes, everyone is totally drop dead gorgeous but what the hell, this is pure fantasy and I don’t care.

It’s a total testosterone fuelled, lads adventure, full of hit men, violence, covert and stealth operations, everything a lad wants to do or wants to be is here. I wondered if I would be into this particular genre. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out that I was.

Passion is extremely high in this book and I mean passion. The way the writer describes the tiniest things and what each character says in the heat of passion, or in a hallway passing a work colleague, it’s really authentic. The interaction between characters is exceptionally strong with great one liners and realistic banter.

I can see from both protagonists  perspectives and yes they really are crazy about each other and I loved how they found it difficult to control their desire and not just physical desire. You can visualise what Mateo and Riley are seeing and feel what they are feeling, it was really intense in places.

I loved the line “Fuck! If I’m not addicted to you.”

This is the first male on male book in which I didn’t mind the sex scenes, (I hear you all cheering out there in the real world) maybe because the desire they have is real or perhaps it’s the way the author writes the scenes. Either way, I was genuinely okay with it, and although I don’t get turned on by reading about two guys having sex,  I could see it from Mateo’s and Riley’s perspective so I enjoyed the sex vicariously. Does that make me a voyeur?

The way Mateo and Riley move together, it was so easy to visualise and so natural even if they were snuggling in bed.

Loved the Star-Trek reference used by Riley in a kissing scene, so please look out for it.

The only thing that bothered me was that it wasn’t obvious that the characters had moved location or done something, and I was left thinking,wait a minute I thought they were standing in the bedroom, why are they now outside? On many occasions I had to go back and re-read to find two words saying ‘they left.’ Maybe it was because I was overexcited when reading that I consistently missed these subtle directions.

The big question… did I get emotional? Yes I did, so you know I enjoyed this book a lot. I don’t want to spoil the story, so just be aware of the part when Riley hears Mateo’s voice, calls out to him and Mateo responds.. I filled up!

I even downloaded images of what I think Mateo and Riley look like (am I getting sad lol? Please let me know).

Did I like this more than Cost of Repairs by A.M. Arthur which is currently my favourite? Very difficult to say but they are both in my number 1 slot. They are different books; Cost of Repairs is more ‘normal’ life whereas, A Marked Manis James Bond meets the A-Team meets True Blood. I also know that somewhere down the line, a supernatural element comes into the Assassin-Shifters series, so I don’t want to compare the two. At the time of writing this review, I’m already on book 2 of the Assassin-Shifters series and the song that Mateo and Riley listen too together in book 1 is playing on my computer as I type, so I think you have an answer to the question did I love this book.

Should I?

People who know I write this blog have asked WHY?

What happened for you to question whether romance in the gay world is now just an illusion?

Do you really believe romance has become a fleeting intro to sex?

I don’t think my story is anything different from others.  However, they have argued that I should tell it on this blog… my story.  It feels a bit strange, exposing myself, but maybe…it will help.

Interesting thought…

I was walking with a friend the other night and we were talking about his recent breakup. He told me it was never passionate and there was little romance. I asked him why they had gotten together in the first place.  He replied because we simply got on.

Is this what happens? Maybe we get it completely wrong and think ‘as we get along we should be partners’. It makes sense to me.  Perhaps we need to recognise a good friend as just that, a good friend and not someone you have to be romantic with and label as a ‘boyfriend’. It reminds me of the line ‘men can’t just be friends with women’. Are we becoming so fragile we think we can’t live a life without a boyfriend. Can we be just happy with good friends? I think you can.

Is this what’s wrong? Are we seeing friendship and companionship and trying to palm it off as romance?