Social Intercourse by Greg Howard

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Social Intercourse is a YA novel by Greg Howard. I don’t remember where I heard about this book, but the plot intrigued me, and so I made a request through my library network, and the book arrived a couple of days later.

It’s not easy for Beckett Gaines to be a gay teen in South Carolina, but he knows that he only needs to make it through high school and then he can leave his homophobic hometown. His plan is somewhat derailed when his dad starts dating one of football star Jaxon Parker’s moms.

Beck has accepted that his own mother abandoned the family, but he’s not too thrilled about the development because of his contentious history with Jax. Likewise, Jax wants his moms to get back together, so the two boys do what any reasonable teens would do and hatch a plan to break up Beck’s dad and Jax’s mom. What neither of them counted on was developing feelings for each other. Read more

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Mages & Mechanisms by Devin Harnois

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Mages & Mechanisms was written by Devin Harnois. This is a m/m romance novel set in a steampunk fantasy world. I picked up this book on Kindle Unlimited after seeing a few recommendations for it on Facebook.

Leander is a gifted craftsman, but business has not been very prosperous lately. He decides to hire a mage to bring his mechanical creations to life, and as soon as Jak arrives at the shop, it’s clear that there’s no one better suited for the job. Jak is quite different from anyone Leander has ever met before, and their odd partnership yields spectacular results. Their creations catch the eye of a wealthy aristocrat who offers a large lifechanging amount of money to build a mechanical dragon. They work so well together, but this would be their most ambitious project to date. And as if that weren’t challenging enough, Leander and Jak are finding it increasingly difficult to deny the attraction building between them. Read more

Band Sinister by KJ Charles

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Band Sinister is a Regency-era m/m romance novel by KJ Charles. I received an ARC of this book, and before I launch into my review, I want to share how excited and grateful I am for the opportunity. For Charles’ last two books, I stumbled upon the submission form for review copies too late. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I was able to submit a request for Band Sinister.

Guy and Amanda Frisby live in bucolic mediocrity, and while they aren’t necessarily happy with their forced seclusion, they endure it because that’s the way things need to be.

As the story begins, Amanda has just written a gothic novel based on their neighbor Sir Philip Rookwood and his friends. Amanda breaks her leg in an accident, and is taken to Rookwood Hall to recover. Guy is obligated to join her in order to maintain a sense of propriety; no decent woman will serve as chaperone because of the rumors surrounding Sir Philip and his friends. They are certainly an eclectic bunch, but they are kind to the Frisbys.

Guy realizes that Rookwood Hall is not the wretched hive of scum and villainy that he was led to believe. There’s clearly a connection between Guy and Philip, but Guy has never allowed himself to even acknowledge such feelings, let alone act upon them. Philip is much more (so much more) experienced, but he’s gentle and patient with Guy, who proves to be equally adept and curious. Guy is so shy that he can’t even say what he wants in English- he reverts to Latin. And if that’s not the sweetest most precious thing in the entire world, I don’t know what is.

In many books, conflict stems from a Big Misunderstanding that could have been resolved with a frank conversation. Conflict in Band Sinister does not fall victim to this pitfall; it’s much more realistic, and it’s heartbreaking to contemplate the weight of obligation versus doing what the heart wants.

I loved everything about Band Sinister. I took two classes about gothic novels in college, so I appreciated the inclusion of a gothic novel as a plot point. I’d like to think that Charles named the Frisbys after the family of mice in the children’s modern classic Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It would be so delightfully perfect.

Speaking of delightfully perfect, I’m grateful for the lessons in some of the salacious lines from Latin literature.

On a more serious note, despite the frequent doses of levity, this book presents some serious points on family bonds, friendship, love, redemption, consent, and trust.

I would absolutely recommend Band Sinister to fans of m/m historical fiction. This is absolutely my favorite KJ Charles book. I received my copy at the end of August, and I’ve read the book at least 3-4 times since then. I plan to buy my own copy of this book, and if an audiobook is produced, I’ll buy that too. I can’t wait to read Charles’ next book, but in the meantime, I will content myself with another readthrough of Band Sinister.

 

The Academy by Quinn Anderson

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The Academy was written by Quinn Anderson. This is a contemporary m/m romance novel. I don’t read a lot of contemporary m/m, but I was intrigued by the premise.

Nick has come to a small suburban Catholic university in search of a fresh start, and he hopes that “The Academy” can offer just that. He plans to focus on his studies so that he can keep the generous scholarship that the school has offered him. His plans do not include attracting attention by being “out” at what he perceives to be a conservative milieu.

Sebastian, however, has other plans. He is drawn to Nick from the moment that he first sees him on campus. Sebastian devises a wager with Theo and Dante, his two best friends: whoever kisses the new kid first will win a cheesy trophy they’ve had since high school. Read more

A Sinner Without a Saint by Bliss Bennet

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A Sinner Without a Saint is the fourth book in Bliss Bennet’s The Penningtons series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was not familiar with Bennet before this, but as soon as I saw that this entry featured a m/m pairing, I was intrigued.

Benedict Pennington might be the younger son of a peer, but he is also a talented artist who harbors strong opinions about art. He believes that art museums should be accessible to everyone, and not even the wealthy people who can afford private collections.

Viscount Dulcie is the heir to his father’s earldom, and he has spent most of his life courting scandal. Dulcie and Benedict were at school today, and the latter had a bit of a crush on the former. They have not encountered each other since then, but when they are forced into close proximity, they realize that their feelings have not dissipated over the years. Read more

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Necropolis is the fourth book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I know I say this in every W&G review, but it’s hard to describe the series. There’s action and adventure, magic and mystery, and m/m romance. All of this is set against a Victorian American background.

This book takes Whyborne and Griffin to Egypt to help their friend Christine, who they believe is in grave danger (pardon the pun). As they assist her at the excavation site, it’s clear that there’s something otherworldly afoot. Once again, Whyborne and Griffin must intercede, lest the threat wreak havoc upon humanity. Read more

Love at First Hate by J.L Merrow

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Love at First Hate is a contemporary m/m romance novel by J.L. Merrow. I prefer historical romance to contemporary, but the premise sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

Sam Ferreira arrives in the small town of Porthkennack to help with an exhibition on Edward of Woodstock. He got the job because his friend Jory recommended him, and Sam sees this as the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Sam clashes almost immediately with Jory’s older brother Bran, who is sponsoring the exhibition. Their personalities are wildly different, as are their opinions on historical scholarship. Eventually, the acrimony fades and grows into something different, but can this budding relationship withstand secrets from the past? Read more

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

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Been Here All Along is a young adult novel by Sandy Hall. I put this book on my “To Read” list, and then I was lucky enough to find it at my town library without having to request it through the library network.

Gideon and Kyle have been best friends and neighbors since they were five years old. They don’t share all of the same interests- Kyle plays basketball and Gideon focuses on academics- but they still love talking about things like Lord of the Rings.

Gideon realizes that his feelings for Kyle go beyond friendship. This also marks the first time that he considered his sexuality, and he doesn’t know what to do with this revelation. Kyle has already come out as bisexual, but Gideon doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Kyle. Also, Kyle is currently dating Ruby, a cheerleader. Read more

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Stormhaven is the third book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. It’s hard to condense the series into a few descriptors; the books are action/adventure/mystery with some m/m romance, all in an alternate Victorian American setting. I was excited about reading this book because I devoured the first two, and I needed to know what was going to happen next.

Whyborne and Griffin have returned to Widdershins after their ordeal in Threshold, and they are hoping to return to a sense of normalcy after the chaos of the first two books, but alas, this is not meant to be. Whyborne’s coworker Allan is found on the street covered in blood, claiming not to remember anything. Allan is accused of murdering his uncle, but Whyborne harbors suspicions and does not think Allan would be capable of such a heinous crime.

Whyborne and Griffin’s investigation takes them to the Stormhaven Asylum where Allan is being held. Something is definitely “off”; after two previous experiences in dealing with the paranormal, our dynamic duo can sense the hallmarks of anything otherworldly. But is this threat too big for them to handle? Read more

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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Autoboyography is a young adult novel written by Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). I picked up this book during an Audible sale; based on the description, it seemed like something I would like.

Tanner Scott is a bit of an outsider at his high school in Provo; not only did he not grow up in Utah, but his family is not LDS (Mormon). He’s also bisexual, although he has not been “out” since moving from California to Utah a couple of years ago. Tanner’s friend Autumn persuades him to participate in a unique class called “The Seminar”, wherein kids write a full-length book in one semester. It’s kind of a big deal around town because last year, a boy named Sebastian Brother managed to get a publishing deal for his fantasy novel. Read more