Special thanks to Leontine from Leontine's Book Realm for the super header.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The tree is up but I'm not really feeling it

I'm not very much in the Christmas spirit. I swear if I didn't have a kid I wouldn't even bother with a tree. But she decorated it yesterday and she made cookies today. I came home from work to a very delicious smelling house. Hopefully by this time next week I'll be getting there. So I've been reading rather than getting Christmasy.

Sammy Dane by Stormy Glenn (134 pages)

James/Jamie is a cop who can't find Mr. Right and decides to hit a new bar one night. He meets Dane/Sammy an erotic gay romance author. Dane is soooo not his type but he's attracted and they go home and Dane is a total top and James bottoms for the first time in his life and loves it. He wakes up in the morning to a note saying "lock the door when you leave" and is hurt and mad. He eventually decides to go back because he's smitten but Dane is gone. He manages to track him down through his website and they hook up. It turns out that Dane (usually called Sammy) is the brother of James' brother's partner (another gay cop). After a rough start they get together and it seems that some guy the brother's set Sammy up with on blind date is now stalking him and is out to remove the competition. The stalker part is not a huge part of the story, it's more about them getting together because while Sammy is a total dom in the bedroom, in real life he's an airhead who forgets to pay his bills or eat and has terrible self-esteem. But I liked how falling in love turned James into a totally insecure baby. I don't mean that in a bad way, but here was the guy who loved 'em and left 'em and is suddenly unsure of his place in a relationship. So I did like it, I liked the two guys together and the contrast of how they were with each other in the bedroom (hot) and how they were in their the rest of their lives where their roles were reversed.

The Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurist by Angelina Sparrow and Naomi Brooks (204 pages)

Charlie gets a job as the private secretary of a Edward, a British lord/adventurer. He's attracted from the first and while there is some flirting it doesn't seem to go anywhere. They are tasked to go and find a missing archaeologist in Egypt going up against Edward's ex-fiance and his ex-lover (a guy). This is set in the 20's and there is lots of atmosphere in Paris, at the Moulin Rouge, on the Orient Express (shades of Agatha Christie) and in Egypt (a la The Mummy movie). It's quite the rollicking adventure with some paranormal tossed in as they fight mummies and Egyptian gods. The one thing I didn't care for was the constant emphasis on bringing women into the relationship. Edward was sleeping with maids and they talked about sleeping with women all the while professing their love for each other. I'm not sure I sensed that deep connection and I glossed over the m/m/f DP at the end. I just didn't see what point it added, especially having it "on page". I know at that time gay men slept with women, but these two really sought it out, it wasn't duty or a sense of necessity for an heir. So I guess they were both pretty bi-sexual and neither one had any qualms about having sex with men either, no angst. So I really liked the adventure part, not sure the romance worked quite as well or me.

The Mistletoe Phenomenon by Serena Yates (72 pages)

Lance's lover ran off with their money and he's now forced to work at his sister's Christmas store in Mistletoe, Wyoming (not sure it really exists, I should google that). Magnus comes in with his nephew Jakob he is raising after his brother's death to buy decorations. Jakob takes an immediate shine to Lance and starts inviting him to be with them all the time. While Magnus and Lance share some kisses under mistletoe they don't really get together. Finally when his SIL's relatives try to take Jakob, Magnus asks Lance to move in with them and be sort of like a nanny/housekeeper. Seems Lance has always wanted to be a househusband and it's handed to him with a hot guy and some more drama with the relatives and a kidnapping. I liked the fact that Lance didn't have big career aspirations, you don't see that much in m/m, usually they are both career driven, but to have someone who loved cooking and looking after a kid was a nice change and the way Magnus changed from being such a scientist (his job) to being more in touch with his feelings thanks to Lance pushing him in the right direction was great. My only issue (yes, here it comes), was the length of time. I think Magnus asked him to move in about 6 days after they met, they got together about 3 days later and after the crisis declared undying love. So 10 days. Sigh. Yeah yeah, it's a Christmas story, I get it, the clock is ticking but I need more time. :-) So I would have liked to see it take place maybe from Thanksgiving to Christmas, about a month I could have lived with more easily. But for those who don't mind fast moving romances it was well done.

Collingsworth by Andy Eisenberg (44 pages)

This is a historical set in some unspecified time period. Michael attends a private boys school but is the orphaned nephew who is treated badly and is on non-resident scholarship. He's had a crush on David for years but has never acted and boys are told not to act inappropriately. The music teacher takes a liking to Michael and helps steer him towards a relationship with David when the girls' school cancels for the Christmas dance and the boys have to dance together. Also seems that now David is 18 he finds out that his cousins were spending his money and he's actually rich. He kicks them out of the house, David comes over and fun ensues and Michael goes home to David's family where he is completely accepted and it seems the family knows David is gay and accept that. Not sure that part is totally realistic and will two 18 year olds swear undying love forever? Somehow I doubt it but it was a sweet little story about the poor relative who is really rich after all and gets the cute boy in the end.


Chris said...

I read Sammy Dane, too - I thought more editing would really have improved the story.

Tam said...

Probably Chris. Sometimes I wonder why a book appeals to me. There is no logic to it sometimes. LOL For some reason this one did. :-) I do think the whole stalker storyline could have bit the dust and just dealt with the relationship of two very different people. I found that part kind of added on and it didn't pull me in that much.

Chris said...

Yeah, the stalker part seemed a bit too much - the story would have been better without it.

Average Reader said...

Hi, Tam, I loved your insights on TCoPM. I think you're right about the bisexuality. It would have worked better for me, too, had it been m/m only.

I'm not sure if there is much of market for m/m with some m/f so I'm not sure why authors do this. More and more I think we fans are starting to get irked if we run across m/f in our m/m. I may start to put mf warnings in my reviews just so readers know.

Tam said...

There does seem to be a pretty clear line Val. I'm sure most women (and men I suppose) who read traditional romance would not like to suddenly see an m/m tossed in out of the blue. I don't mind if they mention it, or he goes off with a woman and then shows up the next morning, but there was a LOT of descriptions of the various sex acts with women that I found didn't really add to the story except to emphasize the bisexuality I guess.

I did think the adventure part was great though.

Kris said...

You should have googled the Christmas store, Tam? I'm shocked that you didn't already. ;)

Tam said...

Well, unless they have picture of hot guys kissing under the mistletoe, I really don't give a damn. :-D Shallow? No, not me.