Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 55%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Friends to Lovers, Childhood Crush, Summer Camp Romance, All the Feels, Tattoos, All of the P, None of the V, Dual Narrative, #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: Low shame. This was a sweet book.

Fantasy Cast: Kris Letang, David Rundblad

What do we taste like?: the rain, beer, something addictively masculine

Book Description:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died. 

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever. 

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions— 
can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself. 


I recently read The Deal, by Elle Kennedy – which was also about a hockey player – and liked it a bunch. So when I saw that she was collaborating with Sarina Bowen on a M/M hockey romance, that was pretty much all I needed to hear to pre-order it. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll keep on saying it: M/M romance is super hot you guys. All of the P, none of the V. It’s all rock hard abs and tight buns, with nary a boob in sight.

This one starts out with Ryan Wesley (Wes) and Jamie Canning, two college hockey players on opposite sides of the country, realizing that they’re both about to play in a big important championship series (sorrynotsorry, I don’t know if it was a real series or not because I could give a fuck about sports), and might see each other after four years of silence. Jamie and Wes were best friends growing up, spending summers together at hockey camp in Lake Placid, but Wes cut off all contact with Jamie when they went to college. Jamie has always been pretty butt sore about it (hehehe), and they’re both wondering if their teams are going to play each other in the series, and what it’s going to be like to see each other.

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Kirk Cameron and the Crocoduck of Chaos Magick, by Mandy De Sandra

kirk crocoduck

Grade: D

Doing it at: 78%

Catnip: I don’t know what to write here, Is any of this anyone’s actual catnip? I fecking hope not.

Shame Scale: Red hot burning shame tinged with laughing until we cry a little.

Fantasy Cast:  Kirk Cameron, A Jesus statue made of cheeses, and a Crocoduck (of course)

What do we taste like?: Various cheeses

Book Description:

Kirk Cameron has set up his Pray The Gay Away Camp. He is hoping for it to be a hit Reality TV Show. While most boys are open to letting go of their homosexual ways, JJ a young gay man who practices Chaos Magick has other plans. When JJ finishes his spell and unleashes hot Cheese Jesus, a crockoduck, and Boner Stabone, Kirk Cameron will feel passion and some sexy Growing Pains. A 7,500 word novellete of hot gay orgy action, involving crockoducks, sexy holy cheese, Chaos Magick, oral sex, anal, clone 69ing, and Stigmata hand sex.

Cleone: This novelette was brought to our attention via tweet and we knew there was no way that we could avoid reading it, I mean look at that title, you guys. Plus its tiny, it took me under a half hour to read it and I was laughing the entire time. Paperback Purist bit the bullet and read it first, and then so did her husband. Mr. PP is a good sport.

Paperback Purist: After Mr. PP watched me near piss myself for half an hour while I read, he just silently held his hand out for the Kindle. It was difficult to wait while he read. My brain was still cracking up.

C: The premise for Kirk and the Crocoduck is a simple tale as old as time, boys parents don’t approve of his homosexuality, boys parents decide to send him to Kirk Cameron’s pray away the gay camp, boy decides to use chaos sex magic and bring a crocoduck to life to destroy Kirk Cameron with sex. If I’ve read this trope once I’ve read it a 1000 times.

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Stripped with the Vampire, by Jax Garren

Stripped with the Vampire

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 56%

Catnip: Ginger Men; Ass Biting; Vampires; Stripper with a Heart of Gold; All of the P None of the V; Second Chance Romance; #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: The cover is way more shameful than the actual story in this one. Could have used at least 30% more shame-y bits.

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman, Michael Fassbender

Book Description:

In a world of dark spells and blood ties where no one is safe, love is the most powerful magic of all. 

Shy vampire Charlie never intended to see Vince again after the bad boy human broke his heart. But when Vince turns up beaten and marked for sacrifice to an Aztec God, Charlie will do anything keep him safe. 

Vince has never forgiven himself for the lie that ended things with Charlie. The spark between them is as hot as ever, and Vince would risk body and soul to make it a fire again. But as they hide deeper in Austin’s supernatural society—a world of lies, dark magic, and warring immortals—he finds the path to reconciliation more twisted than he’s ever imagined.

We requested this ARC because we were looking for a good cheese book, and a closeted gay vampire book sounded perfect. It was actually much better than I expected. Which is good and bad. The cover makes this look like it will a Red Hot Burning Shame read, all P with no plot. And sometimes that’s what I have a hankering for. I like what I like, ok? The romance is a big part of the story in this one, but it ends up feeling comparable to a Sookie Stackhouse book, with lots of plot, less camp and 100% more anal sex. To skip the spoilers, scroll down from one extra hot guy to the other. You’re welcome.

Nick Bateman

Vince is a really hot stripper (human) who shows up for a job at a night club in a creepy old house. Also: he drives a Miata. I highlighted that part because I thought it might be relevant. (It wasn’t, but I still love it) Inside, he realizes that his best friend’s brother who booked him for the party, is actually a vampire now – and that everyone else is too. He knows all about vampires, because his ex boyfriend, the reserved ginger carpenter, Charlie, was one. Charlie was the love of his life, but when he found out that Vince was stripping, he broke up with him via paper note. He’s very old-fashioned that way: not a text, not a fax. Neither of them has really gotten over the other.

Vince realizes belatedly that these vampires are not like his rather normal/boring carpenter ex, rather, they’re more like the bloodthirsty Blade type vamps. There is a human woman directing everyone, and she tells Vince they are going to rip his heart out in a ritual sacrifice, but he needs to voluntarily give it up, or else her god won’t recognize it as a proper sacrifice. Vince is like, ok well that shouldn’t be a problem because I can’t imagine any situation in which I’d be cool with that! Unfortunately they drug him up with some type of Aztec drink and lots and lots of shots, and make him dance for hours while the vampires torture and feed on him. He ends up delirious, but still sane enough to Nope them when they ask for his heart.

He eventually escapes with the help of some friendly vampires. On the way out he is chased by some were-rats (no, not joking), but he manages to escape and run to his ex’s house. Charlie is shocked to see Vince and fights off the deadly were-rats. (I can’t stop laughing at that) Afterwards, Charlie takes Vince back to his place to bathe and rest, and they start bickering about their break up. Charlie never forgave Vince for lying about being a stripper – he is super jealous and possessive, and couldn’t stand the thought of other people seeing and touching him like that. Vince is still pretty pissed that Charlie dumped him with a Dear John letter, and never gave him a chance to explain himself. Vince feels like Charlie was the love of his life, but that he meant nothing to Charlie, who has lived hundreds of years, and will continue to live hundreds of years after he dies:

Soon he would be a memory to Charlie. But to Vince, Charlie would never be less than the universe compressed into human form.

Also, Charlie is very much in the closet, and Vince won’t put up with any of that. It made me lol a bit that vampire society in this universe is socially conservative. Aren’t vampires supposed to be inherently morally ambiguous?

That’s sort of how this book goes: There’s the overall storyline with vampire politics and mythology – in a nutshell, the two factions of vampire society are getting into a war, with the bad side being led by an evil mastermind Aztec witch with an apocalyptic plot. They team up with some other friendly vampires, who I hope show up in some other Vampires of Austin books. And then Jax weaves in the romance between Charlie and Vince. Going over their old hurts, the two of them trying to figure out if there’s a way they could ever work out.

Fassy

Garren does a good job building the mythology of this universe for us – witches came into play, shifters, even a god. The plot was engaging, and I really bought into the relationship between Vince and Charlie. Could have used a bit more sex though. That cover is selling something much more smutty than this is. Plus side though: there was some really great ass biting.

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A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews

A Forbidden Rumspringa

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 45%

Catnip: Amish Romance; All of the P, None of the V; Forbidden Love; Guilt; Virgins; Team Anal; Creative Lube; Versatile

Shame Scale: Not as much as you’d think! But it does have the most ridiculous title ever.

Fantasy Cast: Josh Hutcherson; Logan Lerman

Book Description:

When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? 

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name. 

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community. 

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?


We read a bit of everything here at Mybookshame, and we’ve been curious about all the Amish romance we’re seeing out there. Sometimes (often) we buy books because they sound hilariously bad. So when ‘A Forbidden Rumspringa (Gay Amish Romance Book 1)’ popped up in my recommended titles, how could I not one-click? That’s possibly the best hokey title in my entire library. Also, gay romance = super hot and is a huge catnip of mine. All of the P, none of the V. Giggity giggity.

Truth: I expected this book to be terrible. Culturally exploitive, poorly written, religious, eye rolling sex… You guys, I was wrong. I really LIKED this book. Maybe even loved it a little bit. It totally drew me in, I became invested in the characters, and I maybe cried a tiny bit. This is one of those books where the experience of reading it is really coloring my review. I read most of this book while up in the woods, camping with friends. I like to read with an ultra-lazy large print, and this book even managed to suck in one of the guys who happened to catch a few pages. Seriously – I read roughly 25% of this book with a 21 year old straight guy looking over my shoulder. He tried to be casual about it, all, “I’m just here to be goofy,” but meanwhile, every time I turned around, who had pulled up a chair behind me? WARNING. Spoilers abound.

———————–

Isaac and David are two twenty-ish guys about to join the church in Zebulon, a small, ultra-conservative Amish community in northern Minnesota. Zebulon was formed by a few families in response to the “wildness” of their previous community back in Pennsylvania (buggies with rubber wheels and windshields! Teens smoking tobacco! I know, I KNOW I shouldn’t laugh but). Both David and Isaac’s families were personally affected: Isaac’s brother left without a word, and David’s brother was killed in a meth-fueled swimming accident along with a few other kids. Zebulon does not permit a Rumspringa, and the children are raised very strictly.

Isaac’s father sets him up with an apprenticeship under David, the local carpenter. Isaac feels an attraction to David, but doesn’t understand why he feels the way he does, and he spends a lot of time feeling guilty for having “dangerous thoughts.” He is dreading finding a wife and joining the church, a so-called choice that is offered up as the only option.

David and Isaac become close, and David lets Isaac in on his secret life, where he goes out into the “English” world to sell furniture and see movies. After a night at the drive-in, they give into their attraction and get to second base. And then after that the book gets pretty steamy. For two guys raised with out any sexual education, let alone ever hearing the word gay, they figure out what to do with all their parts pretty smoothly. The first time they put the P in the B, David conveniently has saddle grease ready. Lubrication is just instinctual I guess. There’s lots of dirty talk like, “fill me up,” n’at – but, in a tasteful way… Somehow this book managed to pull off lines like:

Isaac pressed a kiss to David’s rough palm. The verboten English word felt dangerous on his tongue. “Fuck me.”

David and Isaac keep up their secret romance, fooling around in horse stalls and taking forbidden showers in the barn, but the two are fairly consumed with guilt and confusion. They’re very fatalistic, open about how happy they make each other, and the inevitable end to their relationship. They’ve been raised with very little education about the real world, and homosexuality is not something they have any framework for understanding. David saw a gay couple in a movie once, and they marvel about how it could possibly be ok for two men to love each other in the English world. They know that they could never be together in their community, but that they would never be happy as married men. Isaac begins to visualize an alternative future where he leaves, while David is tied to the responsibility of supporting his mother and sisters.

That’s all I’m saying. You should read it. I’ve read other m/m romances where the characters fear coming out for whatever reason, but this is the first one where the characters’ future in their community felt truly doomed. The descriptions of Amish life were fascinating, and made this book feel almost like a historical. AND it got the seal of approval from my new buddy who has never read a romance before but left camp vowing to start.  There are two more books in this series, and I absolutely downloaded the second one the moment I was back to the land of wi-fi. B+

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And then I’m going to confess to this. One of the nights at camp, we all had a few drinks around the campfire and got the men to read scenes from different romance novels, with voices. As in: “Now do Mickey Mouse! Now Gilbert Gottfried! Now do your grandma! Now Quagmire!” So picture this:

David tasted of pot pie – meat and butter and warmth.

and this:

Isaac could feel it deep within him, and the thought that their seed was mixed inside him made him whimper. He wanted to plug himself up and keep it there forever.

Except in the voices of Batman and Bane.

Life = made.

Check it out on Amazon: