Fan Art By Karrie Jax
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Fan Art By Karrie Jax
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After two years together, Alex has been dreading the inevitable moment when Damon learns the truth: that Alex is a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, though, Alex is suddenly static—unable to shift—and male. Overnight, he’s out to a world that neither understands nor tolerates shifters . . . and to his heterosexual boyfriend.
Damon is stunned to discover his girlfriend is a shifter, and scared to death of the dangers the implant poses to Alex’s health. He refuses to abandon Alex, but what about their relationship? Damon is straight, and with the implant both costly and dangerous to remove, Alex is stuck as a man.
Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn’t see how they can get through this.
Especially if he’s static forever.
This ranks as one of my all time favorite books in this genre.
I can’t say enough good things about this – but I’ll try!
First – it’s sort of a unique shifter book. Instead of shifting into animals, in this world that LA Witt has created, some people can change their sex at will. Not just the important pieces, but their entire bodies. So they become more masculine, larger, muscular, etcetera for male and smaller, more delicate, etcetera for female. But like fraternal twins, they still retain that look about them so you can see the resemblance.
In this case Alex (both female and male version) is dating Damon as a woman. Damon doesn’t know about the male Alex and this causes a lot of worry as to how to go about telling him. The point becomes moot when Alex’s parents decide to force her to stay permanently male, or “static” by injecting an evil chip into her spine. Of course they have no knowledge of Alex’s female love-life, only a desire to have a son and NOT to have someone who can shift genders.
There is the possibility of removing the chip but it has the potential for disaster, paralysis, death, dismemberment – ok not really – but also continuing the static state. Some people choose this treatment voluntarily but not Alex. S/he has always enjoyed the huge freedom allowed by being able to be one then the other gender. And since she thinks she may be in love with her straight boyfriend, being stuck as a man is particularly harsh.
But… the time comes when Alex must show Damon the truth of the situation. And here is where things really get to be interesting on both a plot level and a sociological level. (This is what makes this book spectacular IMHO – the bringing in so flawlessly the social construct of gender identity and the breakdown of what it means to be woman or man – especially when – in this case – it’s the same person wearing a different “skin”.)
Damon really does care for – maybe even love Alex – so he’s willing to at least try to work through this crisis and see it through. He doesn’t know what he wants. For Alex to go through with the reversal surgery? To try to be with a man when he’s only ever identified as straight? To give up and let Alex do this alone? But no, he’s an amazing person and sticks with it.
The story is so full of social questions. There’s prejudice. There’s the discussion of what if feels like to be in the “wrong body”. There’s the gay/straight/person centric version of sexual attraction. There’s – Gah! So much!
In the end the two lovers must make a decision. Should Alex attempt the surgery and is the risk worth it.
I won’t tell you the final decision but it is thought provoking – to say the least.
LA Witt won some awards for this – as she should have – and I can see why. It’s so amazing, her ability to hit you with these social question while still weaving a beautiful and touching and sometimes erotic love story. Superb!
If you have any interest in transgender and gender fluidity or gender ID this is right up your alley. It also fulfills something for those GFY fans. But it’s still, at it’s heart, a love story and a story of knowing one’s heart – so truly, any fan of romance will be entranced.
I can’t recommend it highly enough!
6 of 5 stars
Copy purchased for review
by Karrie Jax
For More Look Here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/fan-art/
Indie Walker started college with a basketball scholarship and a plan to stay focused on his studies. His roommate and best friend Daniel is one of the most popular guys on the wrestling team. When a power outage during a winter storm forces them to get closer than ever before just to survive the night, their relationship changes forever. Neither are gay but the physical chemistry they have is undeniable. Unfortunately, Daniel’s issues at home might be too severe for them to overcome.
Indie and Daniel are roommates at college. When Christmas break rolls around a snow storm moves in essentially trapping the two in the dorms. They become closer to one another first as friends then begin to explore a more physical side of their relationship.
Indie is sure he isn’t/can’t be gay, though Daniel is more willing to embrace the idea. However, when something happens between Indie and Daniel’s evil step-mother to drive the two apart, the alone time makes both boys realize they want more from their relationship.
This is a very sweet, a little bit sexy, first time for both boys, GFY/OFY novella.
I liked that the boys mostly spoke with one another as you’d expect, for their age. I thought the step-mother thing was a bit too melodramatic to be believable, but it served its purpose.
I really, really liked the narration by Michael Pauley. He did an excellent job with giving the boys a distinctive flavor and the emotions and smexy times were handled very well.
(I’d like to say that I do wish more thought had gone into the cover. One naked chest does not really explain a thing about the book.)
Overall a 4 of 5 stars for both book and audiobook.
(Copy Purchased for Review)
Aria Grace Presents
DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.
REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.
When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.
This story was such a wonderful surprise. I have to admit I was completely sold on this book based on the cover. Have you seen the two delectable men on that cover? Phew! I knew I had to read it!
Daniel is a great character. He’s tough, smart, ambitious and funny. All of those wonderful tattoos he has is a bonus! Daniel grew up in Philadelphia with his father and two brothers. They have a family run auto mechanic shop. Daniel has never really felt like he fit in with his brothers. He was always the smart kid into music and school and his brothers take more after their dad and work with him running the shop. His family doesn’t understand him being gay and they don’t really understand his love for English and school. He put himself through years of college with little to no support from his family.
Daniel moves to a small town in Michigan after getting a job at a local college. It’s a very small town where everyone knows everyone and Daniel is a complete city boy. Big adjustment.
Rex is a strong but quiet type of guy. Sort of like a gentle giant. He’s got muscles on top of muscles and he makes his own furniture to earn a living. He’s very good with his hands and really enjoys cooking. He’s a bit of a loner which is due to some tragic events that happened in his past. He has trouble meeting and talking with people. He has a cabin in the woods and he mostly keeps to himself.
I really loved everything about this story.
It’s told in Daniel’s POV which I absolutely loved because you get to know him so well. All of his quirks, his sense of humor, how he thinks and all his insecurities he feels about himself as a person. As someone being capable of loving another.
After finishing the story I would have loved even more if the story was told from Daniel and Rex’s point of view because Rex is just such a big teddy bear and I would have loved being in his head as much as Daniel’s. But I felt all in all that the author did a great job in showing the reader how Rex felt about his “issues”.
I enjoyed falling in love with Rex and Daniel as they slowly fell in love with each other. I absolutely loved Ginger and I really enjoyed the closeness that her and Daniel have. Daniel has a really crappy family who never made him feel as if he mattered. He never felt that his family is proud of all his achievements and his brother Colin is just awful to him. It’s no wonder that Daniel has certain insecurities. I love that he’s a scrapper and a fighter. I love his taste in music and his love of teaching and writing. I think what I liked the most was that every sex scene was written in a way that each scene was brand new…if that makes sense…like it wasn’t the same old same old…each intimate moment was written so erotically with Rex being very tactile and Daniel responding so whole heartedly.
So many things made me laugh out loud…the verbal dialogue between Ginger and Daniel…the fact that an espresso was named after Daniel. There are some really great secondary characters like Leo who is a young guy Daniel meets at a record shop and Rex’s friend Will who only wants to protect Rex from being hurt.
I hope the author gives us a book about Leo and Will. There were some sparks flying with those two. And of course Ginger who is Daniel’s bestest friend and go to person. Daniel’s brother Colin is a complete douche throughout the whole story, but I can see him being redeemed once we learn what his deal is.
The words are so descriptive and I was always “in” the story…I was there while they picked their Christmas tree… I was in their bedroom every time too!! Everything about Rex pushed my buttons…His body for one…I had a lovely time visualizing all those muscles…the fact the he cooks and makes things with his hands…His relationship with his mom…the fact that he moved around all the time and was extremely shy…and poor Jamie…that made my heart break for Rex…He is just such a great guy who wants to take care of Daniel… I want Rex!!
There is a HFN. There are a few things left in the air but not in a bad way. Will Daniel take the job at Temple? Will Colin ever tell Daniel what his deal is? Is there a romance in the cards for Leo and Will? I really enjoyed the realness of the book…and this will most definitely be a re-read for me. (An audio version of this book would be absolutely fantastic…I would love to hear Daniel’s inner thoughts on audio! )
Copy Purchased for Review
Ten years ago David Worral had plans to go to college and the potential for a beautiful future in front of him. One tragic accident later, he fled to California and reinvented himself as Dex, top porn model of Johnnies.
Dex’s life is a tangled mess now, but the guys he works with only see the man who makes them believe even porn stars can lead normal lives. When Kane, one of Dex’s coworkers, gets kicked out of his house, the least Dex can do is give him a place to stay. Kane may be a hyperactive muscle-bound psycho, but he’s also a really nice guy. What could be the harm?
Except nothing is simple—not sex, not love, and not the goofy kid with the big dick and bigger heart who moves his life into Dex’s guest room. When they start negotiating fractured pasts and broken friends, Dex wonders if Kane’s honest nature can untangle the sadness that stalled his once-promising future. With Kane by his side, Dex just might be able to reclaim the boy he once was—and if he can do that, he can give Kane the home and the family he deserves.
(Magnificent FanArt Thanks to Karrie Jax!)
This was one of my very first Amy Lane books – maybe the very first – I forget. But it’s still one of my all time favorite books of hers and of the genre.
In book two we see Dex fighting his own battles. He has had exactly one male lover and is not – yet- convinced he’s gay. He has many luke-warm girlfriends and one of them convinces him to give gay for pay porn a shot. So he does. And it’s like he’s finally able to be himself. He. Loves. It. And he’s good at it.
We are now several years down the line and he’s moved to the production side of things. He’s just dumped his lover because he’s tired of being the booty call on the side when he has feelings involved.
Kane is a simple guy with a big dick. He likes girls but can deal with the “boy sex” if that’s what it takes to give him some control of his life. He’s never been one for school and when his sister’s daughter needs chemo, he steps up to the bat doing the gay for pay thing to help pay the hospital bills.
Dex and Kane end up as roommates when Kane’s sister throws him out of his own house (yeah, it never makes a lot of sense) and Dex needs a shoulder to cry on after dumping the crappy lover.
Because – you know – the porn and all – they give each other comfort in a physical way and suddenly a moment of support has kind of turned into a “thing”.
For Kane – who never really questions things too deeply – the “thing” is comfortable and nice and he wants to keep it. But he doesn’t really do “labels” and he doesn’t really identify as “gay” so how can Dex be his boyfriend?
Dex has been down this road before and can’t do it anymore. When Kane ends up inadvertently flirting with a girl at a holiday party and messing things up more by not understanding why that’s a bad thing in Dex’s world – Dex puts down an ultimatum.
Luckily – Kane finally figures out that “anything that keeps him and Dex in the same bed is a good thing” and he fights for that tooth and nail.
This book has it’s fair share of angst. Right off the bat – first chapter, Dex’s lover is killed. OH MAN. That hurt. Lola, the sister, is a super-bitch and keeps Kane from his niece because he’s “dirty”. The ex-lover tries to screw things up as does Johnnie himself. Finally, Dex’s family has to make things really ugly but in the end all the tragedies serve to make Kane and Dex more tightly drawn together.
What I love about this book and what keeps me coming back to it again and again is the love. It’s so clear that these two are made for each other. The feels in this book are tremendous without feeling out of place for two men.
I love that both are sometimes “toppy” and that both lean on the other at one point or another.
The secondary characters are as rich as the MCs and the storyline about the niece and Johnnie and the receptionist… so wonderful without distracting from the main love story.
The sex is scorching hot and the emotions wonderful. I can’t say enough great things about this book!
Sean Crisden – narrating God that he is – does an exceptional job with this. I LOVE his Kane. He’s wonderful. My favorite scene is the “I’m not a booty call” scene. He does the emotion so perfectly! He even manages to give all of Dex’s family their own unique voices – including the women!
Again, I can’t recommend this enough. It’s absolutely best if read in the series but can totally stand on its own without any problem whatsoever.
6 of 5 stars
(Copy purchased for review)
What’s life without a little risk?
Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.
Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.
Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.
A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.
Micah is the epitome of the son who carries the world on his shoulders. He supports his paralyzed mother, cares for his teen-aged sister, works two jobs – one in a nursing home, and attends college part-time. He’s busy. He’s got no time for silliness.
Sebastian has the world at his feet. He’s reckless, carefree, and loves getting into trouble. At first Micah is a sexy challenge, then he’s his touchstone.
When push comes to shove Micah needs a responsible partner, not someone to drag him into trouble, the question is, can Seb be who Micah needs and will Micah ever let anyone in to help?
Oh man! This book tugs at your heart strings! Micah’s story is so touching and sweet. He’s such a good guy and needs so much for someone to love him and help him.
Seb is deeper than you think and actually the perfect foil for Micah’s steadfastness.
Together they are a perfect couple and I loved how slowly but surely their romance developed.
Though they are both young, they’ve lived through so much trauma that their “always and forever” feels real and authentic.
The writing is excellent and the story wonderful. I can’t wait for book three in January!
5 of 5 stars
(Copy generously provided by NetGalley)
At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
Review of book found here:
Having David Gillies read this was outstanding! He did an amazing job with it and I really loved listening to his accent since this book was so FULL of local flavor.
I absolutely think this added to the overall experience and made a great book that much more enjoyable!
6 of 5 stars
Copy purchased for review
Julian “Quinn” Quinetro, a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer, has been injured on the job, and all he’s looking for is a little peace and quiet to recover—difficult to achieve with his large Cuban family. An adventure in picking up his prescriptions puts him in the path of his geeky, brownie-baking neighbor, Spencer Morgan. Spencer sweeps into Quinn’s life like a tropical storm of sunshine and rainbows. Not surprisingly, it’s chaos at first sight. Quinn’s in need of a little tender loving care, and Spencer decides he’s just the man for the job. Their very different lives might clash, but they might also find some common ground—and maybe more.
Spencer is a socially awkward, comic-book-loving, computer nerd who works from home. He’s been secretly crushing on his super-hot SWAT team neighbor for the last year and now that the guy’s injured he figures it’s his chance to be “friendly”.
Quinn is a no-nonsense, kinda grumpy guy who isn’t really looking for a relationship. He’s never even noticed Spencer before and now the guy is showing up all over the place.
After a disastrous “first” meeting, they quickly become friends. When Quinn’s loving but meddlesome family butts in AND his sometimes dickish friends get involved things move from friends to “more”, but can it last and is it real or just a game to Quinn while he’s laid up?
First I have to say that I love, love, love, LOVE Charlie Cochet. I’m a huge fan. So I was psyched to see a contemporary short of hers coming out and devoured it right away.
I love the humor, the characters, and the set-up. Geek meets God. God’s a grumpy-ass and Geek is too-cute-for-words.
What I think was missing in this story is length. I know, I know. People always say they want more, more, more. But really, in this case I did think it was necessary.
I wanted the conversion from pesky neighbor to friend to be slower. As it stands, one big meal and Quinn is spilling all his feelings and Spencer is telling his life story. I wanted Quinn to be reticent for a longer period of time, forcing Spencer to really make the effort.
Second, there was so much wonderful detail that kind of got squished in the middle and left alone. Quinn’s family is hysterical! I love them! I wanted more time with the mother plotting to get Quinn and Spencer together. More inappropriate blurts from the father. More matchmaking from the brother-in-law.
Third, I was sort-of confused by the direction the sexual nature of the relationship went. Once there was kissing there was off page “making out” for days? Weeks? Then the final scene – definitely HOT – but the only time we see them in that way. It felt kinda disjointed and strange to not see the physical side of their relationship develop more organically.
Fourth, the climactic final scene. Ugh! I wanted to punch Javier square in his… well face is fine but really?!? What an a-hole! I was glad Quinn got him a good one, but I didn’t understand his motivation at all! I also didn’t think Spencer would have gone for the whole stripping thing to begin with and once he saw a room full of people – he’d have been out of there! But he stayed then there was the Misunderstanding (capital M) and a quick make up scene.
If we’re going to have a Big Misunderstanding, give it time to fester and have the boy do some real groveling. But since the whole stripper thing kind of felt like left field I’m not sure how that would have even worked out.
So… on the one hand I loved so much of the story and thought it was terribly cute and sweet but knowing how well Charlie can create full and well drawn out stories I was a bit let down. Maybe if I’d never read anything else by her I would have been satisfied, but even her Christmasy short stories seemed more well-rounded than this did.
I still liked it and would recommend it and give it 3.5 of 5 stars.
(Purchased for review)