book reviews · m/m romance · Sam's Favorite Books

Book Review: Lee Benoit’s “Servant of the Seasons” (2011)

51w6kvt89jl-_sy346_This is my kind of book! In the tradition of the post-Apocalyptic, survive-in-a-wasteland novel, we start with an almost barren farm and one man alone, learning about the land and barely surviving. Of course he doesn’t stay alone, and the farm doesn’t stay barren! I could read six thousand books in this series and never get sick of it- it has everything I love. I would happily read about Meco and his new companions and their home forever, gardening, building, cooking, discovering.

This book takes its time, following the seasons and the characters’ journeys learning about each other and building up their farm and house. It is wonderfully domestic, with plenty of attention given to the rhythms of daily life and new relationships. Of course, that’s not all it is; under everything is an ever-present threat of the outside world and the dangerous stranger. Meco’s family draws attention to themselves by their success in rehabilitating the ravaged land around them, and there’s plenty of people out there coveting their land and skills. The tension builds slowly, gradually, until it explodes and the action of the story kicks up twenty levels at once, racing towards the ending!

Continue reading “Book Review: Lee Benoit’s “Servant of the Seasons” (2011)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Reviews: Kaje Harper’s “Life, Some Assembly Required” (The Rebuilding Year #2) (2015)

25157943I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I loved this sequel even more! It’s always such a treat diving into a book where you already know and love the characters, and the characters are already together at the beginning- it gives us more time to enjoy them!

In a way this is a very simple book: a family drama. Well, step-family drama, perhaps? After all, by being together Ryan and John aren’t just building a relationship, they’re building a family, with step-children and ex’s and ex’s new partners and babies to worry about. Plus there’s the added drama of telling everyone in their lives that, by the way, they aren’t 100% straight. Not everyone in their extended families is okay with that, which naturally causes some tension as well. …maybe one day people will stop being offended when their friends or family “suddenly turn gay”, as they seem to put it, believing that said person has been “lying” to everyone their whole lives about who they’re attracted to (here I pause to roll my eyes). Well, that’s family drama for you.

Continue reading “Book Reviews: Kaje Harper’s “Life, Some Assembly Required” (The Rebuilding Year #2) (2015)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Kaje Harper’s “The Rebuilding Year” (2012)

13244400I did hesitate to read a book about not just one, but two “straight” men coming to terms with their same-sex attraction, but I took a chance with it and am so glad I did! It was a very enjoyable read. This author has a real talent for creating lovable characters that you just want to keep reading about forever- steady, sturdy, silent John and fiery, fervent Ryan.

The concept of a “rebuilding year” is surely familiar to a lot of readers: those times when it feels like you’re rebuilding your whole life from scratch when everything’s gone wrong. The first few chapters are very much in this dark, lonely place where our two main characters are settling into these new lives; they’ve established some sort of stability for themselves, but they’re far from happy. They seem to recognize that they’re both in this space, going through such big changes, and become sources of support for each other. That’s a lovely thing. In that sense there is a very sweet escapist element to this book, a chance to indulge in the idea that we could all find such sources of support, such caring people to brighten our lives.

Continue reading “Book Review: Kaje Harper’s “The Rebuilding Year” (2012)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: N.R. Walker’s “Three’s Company” (2015)

15928972This was a super fun read, really sweet and really enjoyable! I just love a good polyamorous tale, and this one didn’t disappoint. Ahh, the magic of fiction: how wonderful to have the perfect future third member of your relationship just wander into your hotel, ready for hot sex, fun times, and of course love. The personalities and needs of the three boys contrasted and complimented each other nicely, being perfectly designed to mesh together. Adam and Simon were a sweet couple, but they wanted MORE, and they needed Wil to complete and fulfil them. The development of their relationship AND of the three characters individually was really well-written and deeply satisfying.

I was surprised and pleased to find the story continue well past the standard ending of “I love you, let’s be together forever”. The larger plot went on to show just how well our three boys work together in a professional context as well, and how the three of them fight together to secure a home and world for themselves where they can live openly and freely. With Wil coming from a deeply homophobic small town and Adam having been disowned by his homophobic parents, there’s a definite undercurrent in the story of the ongoing battle for acceptance and freedom. And so even though this story is definitely a lighter read, full of feel-good feelings, it still felt like the characters and plot were really well thought-out.

Continue reading “Book Review: N.R. Walker’s “Three’s Company” (2015)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: N.R. Walker’s “Learning to Feel” (2012)

25908759I’m rapidly making my way through everything N.R. Walker’s ever written, and this book was quite a treat. I definitely have a weakness for “starting a new life” stories, particularly when that new life involves charming small towns and adorable dogs- not to mention adorable love interests.

I really enjoyed reading about Nathan’s journey. I would identify him as demisexual- i.e. he’s generally not interested in sex until he finds someone he has a real connection with. I liked how Nathan didn’t seem too bothered by his lack of interest in sex before he met Trent; even though he knew he was unhappy and wasn’t content with his life, he didn’t blame his unhappiness entirely on his sexual differences. His general acceptance and lack of judgement of his libido was a nice touch and something I really appreciated. Of course it’s very confusing for him when his libido suddenly goes into overdrive upon meeting Trent, and I think this new and unfamiliar development for him is really well thought-out and written by the author. The chemistry between the two characters and their emotional connection was thoroughly enjoyable.

Continue reading “Book Review: N.R. Walker’s “Learning to Feel” (2012)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Kaje Harper’s “Tracefinder: Contact” (Tracefinder #1) (2016)

28357990Woo-hoo, I have a new author obsession!! Harper’s writing is fantastic, and there’s so many books for me to look forward to reading! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to discover Kaje Harper. Tracefinder is my first Harper book, and I was hooked from the very first chapter.

This book has all the best qualities of the “cop drama”: the cop talk, inter-departmental tension and intrigue, the undercover mission that’s soon compromised by the feelings of the cop for those he’s trying to catch out. Chilli dogs. Dodgy bars. So good!

But importantly, it also stands out from the crowd of M/M romance in a number of ways. The author doesn’t give us two mouth-wateringly attractive, burly men; we have the (admittedly, very attractive) Nick and- Brian. Ahh, Brian. I adored him. I think many readers will as well. I wanted to protect him and give him all the good things in the world. But he’s certainly not the standard love-interest, and that is excellent.

Continue reading “Book Review: Kaje Harper’s “Tracefinder: Contact” (Tracefinder #1) (2016)”

book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Reiko Morgan’s “Over the Mountain of the Moon” (2010)

over-the-mountain-of-the-moonI was a little hesitant to read another “courtesan” story, but this book’s preview chapters were so immensely compelling that I dove right in! The story remained compelling throughout, moving at a fast pace, with a new danger or difficulty around every corner that’s sure to keep you glued to your seat.

Over the Mountain is probably the most sentimental and romantic book I’ve read in a while. I don’t say that as a negative, but I was a little surprised! The speed of Tetsuya and Jin’s romance was possibly too fast at the beginning, a little incredulous perhaps, but as time went on it became clear just how well suited they were for each other, and how good they were for each other. So perhaps there is such a thing as love at first sight, and this is it!

The setting of the book was just lovely, and Morgan’s descriptive writing is beautiful. There was no excessive, forced, this-is-Japan description; it simply was Japan (probably best to leave your history lessons at the door, though; I don’t think strict historical accuracy was the goal here- and it wasn’t necessary!). The story takes place in winter, with the snow and ice a permanent feature and background throughout the book. It was gorgeous. And as someone who has a serious love of (almost fetish for!) kimonos, all the silk was an absolute delight.

Continue reading “Book Review: Reiko Morgan’s “Over the Mountain of the Moon” (2010)”