Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary DA Dancer Demi Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Insta Love m/m Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Trans

Fierce & Fabulous (Sassy Boyz #1) by Elizabeth Varlet

release day review

29951622Blurb
Fans of Heidi Cullinan will devour this scorching new male/male series by Elizabeth Varlet. Behind the Sassy Boyz’s seductive smiles and sinful dance moves are desires that will leave readers breathless.

Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn’t need. Spotlights aren’t made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what’s between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there’s something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel’s world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go.

Review

The blurb really gives a good idea of the basic storyline, so I won’t go into more detail here other than to say this: Ansel is more than just a dancer – he is a very complex character with some pretty big “imperfections” and his “broken” needs Fitch and vice versa.

**

This is a new author for me (and a new series) and WOWOWOW! talk about impressed! I was really blown out of my seat by this.

I saw a great review for this on GR and had it already in my lineup from NetGalley but it’s not coming out for MONTHS. I try to keep my review lists in order – simply to not get behind in my reading – but every once in a while a book comes along and I just have to read it NOW! This is one of those.

I just loved how the very straight Fitch is portrayed and how the change to his psyche is portrayed. It felt very real and organic and though I think the author could have developed him better as identifying something like demi-sexual I applaud the fact that Fitch never claims to be gay. He simply falls in love with Ansel. That’s it. He just loves Ansel.

The other think I adored was how Ansel just comes out and tells it like it is.

Fitch:“But you wear heels and makeup. What’s the difference?”
Ansel:“I don’t tuck, most queens do. They often wear fake breasts too. Drag is for show. A performance. We don’t try to pass ourselves off as women. We dress like this every day. We just like pretty things.”
“So you’re trans?” Fitch scratched his jaw before popping another onion ring in his mouth.
“It depends on what you mean by trans. Transgender, I am not. I don’t identify as female. I enjoy everything male about myself. But technically I guess you could call me a transvestite. We prefer androgynous more than anything, a little bit of both and neither at the same time. Completely ambiguous. But personally I don’t like labels. I’m just Ansel fucking Becke and screw anyone who has a problem with it. I like heels. And I love makeup because it’s fun to play with color. It’s like painting.”

I just thought it was a tremendously awesome way to think about gender fluidity and how brave Ansel is for embracing all that society would make him feel “less than” for. It was awesome. And on the same hand – it was this that he had to struggle with so fiercely every single day – just to be himself.

The love between these guys – though it seemed kinda “insta” – isn’t. They build on it slowly and surely with lots hurdles along the way. Most importantly, Ansel’s drinking. I thought his alcoholism – though it seemed a bit too easily tackled – was at least addressed in a way that made sense and felt like it was on the right track.

The smexy times with these guys was SMOKIN’ and the feels were there, too.

This had all the things I love in a romance: real, unique characters, hot smexy times, deep and believable emotion and the time to see the relationship develop while not drawing out the angst unnecessarily.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for more in the series.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Exploration Fantasy Gay GFY/OFY Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Purchased Riptide Publishing Shifter Speculative Fiction Trans Virgin

Static by LA Witt

Static_500x750Blurb
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.
Review

WOW!

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!

2013_EBook_WINNER-sm

RainbowWinner

lambda finalist

 

 

 

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

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Copy purchased for review

To Buy

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/static