The Lie, by Karina Halle

the lie

Grade: A

Doing it at:  58%

Catnip: Second Chance Romance, Guilt, Cheating, Hot For Teacher, Scottish Brogue, International Romance, #assbiting, Desk Sex, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Less than Zero (who’s RDJ & who’s McCarthy?)

Fantasy Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Jenifer Lawrence

Book Description:


Their love led to a lie
Their truth led to the end

Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident and his job from his subsequent downward spiral, he’s finally moving forward, getting a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and a new life in the city. Slowly, but surely, he’s pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.

Until he sees her.

Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she’d die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she’s in London, she’s ready to start again.

Until she sees him.

Because some loves are too dangerous to ever indulge.
And some loves are far too powerful to ignore.
Their love just might be the life and the death of them.


Cleone: Let’s kick this off by talking about how Karina Halle has the best book boyfriend muses, last time it was Tom Hardy, and this time we got Mr. Big Swinging Cock himself, Michael Fassbender. #swoon

Mary: I think the phrase is Mr. Big Swinging Dick? Googling Big Swinging Dick vs. Big Swinging Cock does not route you to any grammar pages, just FYI! Ugh. This is the only stuff we fight about. Either way, if you’re the kind of gal who has painstakingly looked up every dirty Fassbender gif that the internet has to offer, all that work is going to pay off for you when you read this book and have the perfect mental library to back it up. (#TeamPervert) (All of those are NSFW by the way)

Fassy

C: I mean any Halle book is going to be 100 shades of scorching, but picturing Fassy sure doesn’t hurt! We were singularly excited for this one.

Continue reading

Punching and Kissing, by Helena Newbury

Punching and Kissing

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 43%

Catnip: I’m No Good For You, MMA Fighter, Johnny Castle Complex, Deep Dark Secret, Guilt, Million Dollar Baby, Irish Brogue, Public Sex, Girl With A Hard Knock Life, Gym Shorts Bulge, Dangerous Criminal Villain

Shame Scale: Medium Low. It’s standard romance fare.

Fantasy Cast:  Jai Courtney, Elizabeth Gillies

Book Description:

Unless he can teach me how to fight, I’m dead. But our feelings for each other could destroy us both.

When an illegal underground fight leaves my brother in the hospital, I make a desperate deal to save his life: I volunteer to fight in his place. In thirty days, I’ve got to walk into the ring, a woman in a man’s world…and I’ve never even thrown a punch. I have one chance to survive. I need a badass who can teach me to be as tough as him. I need Aedan O’Harra, the blue-eyed, Irish beast of a man who everyone fears.

But training together means getting close. Every touch of his hands makes it harder to control my feelings. I begin to see the man inside him, the one no one else can. Can I help him break free of the dark secrets that haunt him and can we save each other, or will we both be defeated? Because neither of us is ready for how dark and desperate this fight will become.


Confession. The whole time I was reading this, I thought it was actually by Helena Hunting, who wrote Cleone’s beloved Pucked. I kept texting C things like, “This book is so good! I can see why you love her!” I didn’t actually figure out that it’s by Helena Newbury, who is a completely different person, until about five minutes ago. Sometimes, I’m kind of a moron. BUT. This book was really good! So now there are two Helena’s on our You Can Sit With Us authors list.

Things open up with Sylvie down at The Pit, waiting to watch her brother Alec fight. He’s currently undefeated, but the fights are anything goes till someone can’t get up anymore, i.e. super scary and dangerous. They are down on their luck though, and really need the money to pay the bills.

Aedan is at The Pit to watch the fights – he’s ‘retired,’ but he still gets a rush from watching, and he rescues Sylvie when she gets into trouble with some awful dudes. He’s giant and ripped and super gorgeous, with an Irish brogue to boot, but he’s got a bit of the ol’Johnny Castle complex; firm in his belief that he’s a life-ruiner, he vows to never see her again and disappears.

Continue reading

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+

———————–

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:

Asa, by Jay Crownover

Asa

Grade: A

Doing it at: 29%

Catnip: Reformed Bad Boy; Guilt; Southern Boy; Cop and Criminal; Bar Sex; Handcuffs; Marked Men; Crownover

Shame Scale: I’m not ashamed of this. Are you ashamed of this? (note from Cleone: No Shame)

Fantasy Cast: Joel Kinnaman and Danneel Harris

Book Description:

Jay Crownover’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with the much anticipated story of southern charmer and certified criminal Asa Cross.

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.


We’ve got a crush on Jay Crownover. Her books make us stupid, like: googling “clip on cock piercing” (<– NOTE: Does not exist), “excellent male butts,” and youtube videos of “men with hot Southern accents.” This is the last book in her Marked Men series, and to say we were excited for it is an understatement. We stayed up late on release night to download, neglected our children and work, and generally checked out of life and into Fantasy Denver for awhile.

Mary: This is definitely her hottest cover model. I feel like he’s an apology for Better When He’s Bold. If I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series, I still would have bought this one because of that smolder. Congratulations to whoever dug up this guy. And his mother.

Cleone: I kept going back to the home screen to look at the cover model, until M suggested Joel Kinnaman at a *very* opportune book moment- then my brain switched into over drive. Asa text 1

M: Since this book is part of a series, we had been introduced to Asa way back in Jet, and he was pretty despicable. I don’t want to ruin anything because I think everyone who likes trashy books should read these ones, but I pretty much wrote the character off as irredeemable. I was picturing him as an Alex Pettyfer with the personality of Sick Boy from Trainspotting. I definitely needed the three book buffer for my feelings to mellow on him. When this book picks up, he has been on the straight and narrow for a year or so, and it definitely helped for us to actually see him earning that in Rome, Nash, and Rowdy, not just picking up with his story after some truly heinous shit and asking us to trust him straight away.

C: The way they have time pass in this series always pleases me, we get to check in on the characters from the previous books AND the characters personal growth feels a lot more believable when it didn’t just happen over a three-day sex-a-thon.

M: This one starts off with Hot Lady Cop Royal (yes, every single character in this series has a weird name) having an emotional breakdown over her partner being shot off of a building. Like shot with a gun, then he fell. He’ll live though! She’s consumed with irrational guilt and looking to self-medicate with some vitamin D. Specifically Asa’s D. Royal and Asa have been dancing around each other for a while. Asa keeps turning her down because she’s a cop and he’s a newly reformed criminal who’s certain he’ll relapse, and because he’s trying to be a nice guy, and he’s pretty sure she’ll regret him when she’s gotten her head straight.

They push and pull, and when they finally get to the hokey-pokey, its glorious. Jay Crownover writes some hot smut. I bookmark like crazy. Asa’s strategy for brushing off her advances for good is to lure her into the bathroom where she can see that he’s jacking it in a steamy shower instead of taking her up on her many offers. Because that’s obviously a logical plan.

C: I don’t usually think of being stared at while a guy jerks off as being particularly hot, but Crownover proved me wrong. She does know how to write the smut, and I bet she’d be very fun to get drunk with and talk trash.

M: Their relationship is easy-ish, with most of the drama revolving around Asa’s terminal guilt for his past misdeeds, and his absolute conviction that he will fuck up everything nice in his life, including Royal. It’s like he has preemptive guilt. Honestly, it’s a little over the top.

“She lathered up her long hair either unaware of or purposely ignoring the fact that I was a boneless, shaking mess behind her. I had never had anyone offer something up without expecting something, usually more, in return. I couldn’t get my erratic heartbeat under control so I could put all that emotion her selfless actions had awoken in someplace safe.”

Her selfless actions causing this emotional upheaval are of course, a blow job. LOLOLOL

C: The Crownover books don’t usually provoke eye rolling, but that definitely did it, I refuse to believe that a boy who is crazy charming, super pretty, and has been around the block has never before received a blow job without the quid pro quo. Also:

“He was filling me up with his emotion and his impressive erection”

That one made me laugh so suddenly that I bit my tongue a little, and Mary informed me she highlighted the same line, possibly my new favorite romance line ever. It kind of sums up the genre, no?

M: I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything by saying that there was a breakup, and it was dumb. I hate to criticize Jay, you know she’s my girl, but I can think of a dozen more interesting/plausible reasons for them to break up.

Asa text 2

C: Yes, without being spoilery, or defaming our main writer squeeze, the drama in this one could have been way more interesting or scandalous. We made a list but it is kind of spoilery, so I guess email us if you want further ramblings.

The ending was very sweet, and gave us a nice update on where everyone else in the series is in their life. We’re going to miss the marked men with their tattoos, pierced dicks, and feisty ladies. Luckily Crownover is doing a new series in their expanded universe, and maybe the new gents have cock piercings!

(Note: We’re 80% certain that after reading this series, we can convince the Paperback Purist to convince her husband to get an erotic piercing and report back to us on whether or not these books were being accurate.)

“No one has a headboard made for handcuffs in the real world.”

They don’t, but they should, we are #teamhandcuffs

Click to view on Amazon: