Review: “The Tinder Stories – Oceanside Fire Series” by Tory Temple

TITLE: The Tinder Stories – Oceanside Fire Series
AUTHOR: Tory Temple
SERIES: Oceanside Fire Series
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Garrett Leigh
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 206 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback
  

BLURB:

Return to Oceanside Fire, where the sizzling passion between men scorches everything they touch—especially each other. For firefighter Chris Matthews and instructor Morgan Daniels, it’s dislike at first sight—but that doesn’t mean there’s any relief from the heat building between them, and it only takes a spark to set the tinder ablaze.

Will Chris and Morgan go from enemies to lovers, or will they remain enemies with healthy libidos who stoke each other’s flames? Morgan is no fan of firefighters in general, and he finds Chris especially grating. But when they’re together, the sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife—and there’s only one way to work it off. A battle of wills is sure to follow. Add in an age difference, and finding common ground will be an uphill battle. Even if they succeed in building a relationship, secrets and suspicion could reduce everything to ash.


Although this is an anthology of three books, I will review it as one.

For me, this was a really fast read. Why? Because it was super awesome…

Chris is a firefighter. He likes his job very much, but in order to maintain it, they have to do additional yearly courses to be updated about the risks they may face during an intervention.

Morgan teaches the firefighters course on sexual harassment, and the cocky attitude of Chris rubs him in a wrong way. He assigns Chris a homework assignment about the statistics on sexual harassment at workplace. Well, although Chris is very gathered and precise, he forgets his homework at home…but instead of being punished, after he let Morgan know about his opinion, Morgan seems to give him another chance. When Chris asked Morgan what’s his problem with Chris was, Morgan simple answer was “I hate firefighters.”

After the course is over, Chris hopes that he’ll never meet Morgan again, though he was aware of the strange connection between the two. Chris also likes to ride his motorcycle. When he meets up with his motorbike gang, he’s mortified to see that the new member is no one else than the unsupportable Morgan.

Morgan is the real jerk, in my honest opinion, and his behavior is not changing during the books. I found it difficult to believe how Chris is putting up with this man, but he falls for him. Morgan feels the same way, but he is more introverted. There is also an age gap between the two and Morgan very often treats Chris as a child even though Chris is in his thirties.

This three-book anthology guides us through their coming together. I liked it very much, even though I wanted to punch Morgan on his face. He has a reason why he behaves like he does, but the dude needs to learn how to let the past be the past. In my opinion, Chris is a saint, I wouldn’t have that much patience with Morgan…that said I think I’m more like Morgan and that is not a good thing…well, I need a “Chris” in my life…

My rating is an honest 4.5 OptimuMM!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love” by Dale Cameron Lowry

TITLE: Falling Hard
AUTHOR: Dale Cameron Lowry
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Terrestrial Press
COVER ARTIST: Terrestrial Press
GENRE: Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 172 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2017
PRICE: $5.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book.

Part 1: Falling Fast

Warm up with whirlwind romances that last.

Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?
Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.

Part 2: Falling Fantastically

Because reality is overrated, these stories have elements of the fantastical.

Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process.
Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite.
Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.

Part 3: Falling Deep

The deeper the love, the hotter the intimacy.

Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?


This review is a bit tough. There are nine stories in total in this collection. They run the gambit from little to no sex to multiple sex scenes. They run first-person to third-person depending on the story. I have to say they are all well written, great little reads! If you’re looking for a quick nighttime read before bed, this is a great choice. If you only have 20 minutes between errands or meetings, this one is easy to pick up and read one fast-paced story and go on with your day. Dale seems to lean toward the novelette and anthologies so keep that in mind!

Part 1: Falling Fast – short whirlwind stories

Mi Alma 4*s

I’m not normally a fan of foreign language in a book. However, this author did it right in our first story. When he used Spanish, he also added the verse in italic English! For a quick little journey, I was delighted with the characters and the ending. As the reader, you don’t have a chance to get too involved with Alma and Damian. However, I found myself awing by the end.

Loggerhead 4*s

Dale gives the reader a quick look at how Jake and Eric met and fell in love, then moves quickly to six years later. The characters are also in their mid-lives which is a treat from all the younger characters out there in the genre right now. I like these types of stories that move forward to let the reader know where they are now. Most of us can relate to the dulling of love because of work and life, but he shows the reader that people can reconnect and find that first spark again in this short. And who doesn’t love turtles?

Reading the signs 3.5*s

This quick story gives us a look into the lives of Theo De Jong of the Netherlands and Alfonso Grossman of the United States. Both are at the University of New Mexico, for an international linguistics summer program. Theo is doing a comparative study of the dialects for his master’s thesis. Theo has read Dr. Grossman’s work and has an intellectual crush on him that also turns to a physical crush when he meets him in person. They end up having a two-week affair where they do everything together. After going their separate ways, they keep in touch. Theo figured they would eventually drift apart and find other love interests, but after six months, Theo is still just as much in love with Alfonso as he ever was. And when he finds out that he will be doing his doctoral fellowship in Boston which is only 90 minutes away from where Alfonso lives, he has to find out how Alfonso feels about him and whether he wants to continue their relationship. The story was really cute, had some love scenes but nothing graphic. But the story left me wanting more of this cute couple. It felt like the first part of a series.

Part 2: Falling Fantastically – stories that don’t follow normal realities

Born on fire 4.5*s

This short story filled my love of Ireland and the fairy folk who were notorious for stealing infants and switching them with old Changelings. Aodhán, who was accidentally burned by his mother as an infant and Cainnech. Even with his disfigurement, Aodhán led a full life as a great basket weaver. While traveling to sell his baskets, he falls asleep by a fairy mound one Midsummer’s Eve and sees a handsome face in the full moon that he falls in love with. The fairy people also enchant him. After spending so much time with them, he forgets his human life and thinks he is a fairy. On Halloween, they decided to kidnap a handsome human to join them. They find the perfect specimen in Dublin and kidnap Cainnech who is battling the grippe. The fairies cure Cainnech’s illness the same way that they had cured Aodhán’s disfigurement. Seeing Cainnech brings back all of Aodhán’s memories of his human life and he doesn’t want to go with the fairies any longer. He takes them back to his family home, and the fairies take their revenge by taking back their cures. Aodhán nurses Cainnech back to health, but will Cainnech still love Aodhán when he sees the real him for the first time? I loved that this story had an epilog that tied up the story nicely. Really great short story.

Ghost of a Chance 4*s

Dale brings us a cute story about a ghost (Frank) whose unfinished business is growing old with a man he loves and a college senior (Jeremy). I thought it was a very original storyline that Frank’s body followed the moon’s cycle. When it’s full, then he has a warm solid body and when it wanes then so does the solidness of his body. However, strong emotion allows Frank to have a solid body for a while. Although he only has a warm body during the full moon. This story was a little more explicit which made me happy, and I enjoyed all of the flirting that Frank and Jeremy did. This story inspires happy feelings.

Far from Home 5*s

Wow. This short story is a keeper. It’s a story about Mateo and Rajiv. They’re married, but they have been terraforming two different planets for the last two years. Mateo is on Mars and Rajiv is on Earth. They were last physically together seven months ago for their two-week vacation. They have another month to go before another vacation and then one more year before they’re up for new assignments. They hope to get assigned to the same station. This short story is about one of their Skype calls that turns into a very explicit call. I loved the TTASS – or temperature, texture and shape simulator – and how it used a combination of probes and ultra-high-frequency sonar to map three-dimensional images similar to the nerve signals that dart from skin to brain when a person touches something. So it is like touching a live copy of his husband when they make love. So much better than the standard phone sex or skyping calls. Perfect short story to read just before bed.

Sweeter than Blood 3*s

This short story is about vampires. John accidentally changed Keith during a bathroom hook-up at a gay club, and now Keith doesn’t want anything sexual to do with his sire. Keith has a crush on one of his customers at the barbershop where he works. I enjoyed the chemistry between Keith and Andre during the erotic cut and shave that Andre came in for and their hook-up later that night. But the hook-up ended up going further than it was supposed to and Andre beat Keith off of him and kicked him out. Keith goes back to John and tells him what happened and then because the blood has made him horny hooks up with John. Although the story was explicit and kinky, I found Keith to be wishy-washy about what he wants and how easy he gives up on and replaces the person he had a crush on. Maybe if the story was longer, we could have seen if he was able to work things out with Andre or not. Not a bad story just not my favorite.

Part 3: Falling Deep – a little more in-depth stories

Rough Love 5*s

Yep, this short story hit the spot. I love when two men can communicate what they want in a relationship, and that’s what Blake and Michael do. They communicate when Michael is unhappy with their sex life and finds that Blake has been holding back for doing what he would normally do which is give it to the guy hard and rough. He was under the mistaken impression that making love had to be slow and gentle. This story is definitely explicit and had me squirming. I will definitely be reading this college story again.

Pacific Rimming 5*s

Yep, this one is also a keeper. Mike and Ken are married and on vacation on Vancouver Island to celebrate Mike’s 40th birthday. Ken is Deaf and Mike is the hearing child of Deaf parents. Ken and Mike occasionally bring a third to the bedroom since Ken is a top only and Mike likes to do both. They meet Jason while out bird watching, and Ken and Mike immediately feel an attraction to Jason. But he runs off before they can exchange numbers. They end up running into each other on the beach later and decide to meet later that night. After a very explicit and hot night, Jason has to leave the next day. They exchange numbers for keeping in touch and realizing they are both from Chicago. They continue to date, and finally, after a year of being together, they end up back on Vancouver Island for a commitment ceremony of their own. I loved how balanced the relationship was and how Mike and Ken loved Jason just as much as they loved each other.

*** I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “Sexy To Go Gay Romance” by Avery Duran, Leigh Ellwood, Asta Idonea …

TITLE: Sexy To Go Gay Romance
                                            AUTHOR: Avery Duran, Leigh Ellwood, Asta Idonea, Eva Lefoy, Dale Lowry, Jodi Payne, Shiloh Saddler, Sam Thorne, and A.E. Wasp
SERIES: Sexy To Go
PUBLISHER: Sexy To Go
COVER ARTIST: Sexy To Go
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2017
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

9 Hot MM stories sexy enough to make your blood sing. Find shifters, hunky construction men, mythological heroes and everyday lovers who scorch the sheets with their boy on boy, man on man lovin’. From honey-mooning couples to intense instant hookups, these same-sex couples remind us that love is always worth fighting for, no matter what the cost.

Matzo Ball by Avery Duran

When Jacob’s outgoing best friend talks him into attending a party for Jewish singles, neither man realizes that it’s not a gay event. Things go from bad to worse when Jacob’s friend doesn’t show up. The night turns around when Jacob befriends Ian, a sexy bartender. After a spectacular kiss good night, they go their separate ways. But Jacob can’t forget the chemistry he shared with Ian, and hungers for more. In a city the size of New York, will these men be able to find their way back to each other?

Styx & Stone by Leigh Ellwood

What’s the afterlife really like? Charon the ferryman knows the River Styx like the back of his hand, and he enjoys giving newly departed Stone the full tour.

First Swallow of Spring by Asta Idonea

The first swallow of spring draws Seanán back to the fae circle each year, where he dances with the handsome fae lord, Iorweth. He knows the four rules he must follow if he wishes to be free to leave at the end of the night; however, Iorweth is growing ever more inventive in his attempts to trick Seanán into breaking them.

How Hercules Got His Bruise by Eva Lefoy

Hercules might have completed his 12 labors and become immortal, but he’s still not out to himself. Until he meets Sisyphus, a man who turns him on in ways not even a goddess can compete with. When Zeus threatens to destroy their new bond, Hercules must again rise to the challenge, this time to protect his right to love a man.

Loggerhead by Dale Lowry

Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles – and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.

Handyman by Jodi Payne

Danny is haunted by memories of his ex, Peter, who moved out six months ago. He recognizes just how bad off he is when he wakes up to a flood in his condo, a problem Peter would have adeptly handled. Danny can’t find the insurance paperwork, he doesn’t know who he should call first, and he’s about ready to strangle his stoner neighbors. His day starts looking up, though, when the workmen arrive to deal with the water, replace his breaker box and demolish the soaked ceiling. Ken, a handyman, shows up to handle the drywall, but can Danny handle Ken?

Clipped Wings by Shiloh Saddler

When a male swan shifter is captured by a cruel master he develops feelings for another male slave. The master has plans for the shifter that go against every fiber of his being. Will the two men bow down to their station in life or take flight to keep their love alive?

Rebuilding the Future by Sam Thorne

Allen’s peace has been seriously disturbed. As the shy architect takes on the task of extending the home he inherited from his late aunt, his life becomes a battle. The building work is going fine, but he can barely contain his one-way lust for sexy foreman Declan, who’s a one-man generator of testosterone and mixed messages. As the build completion approaches, Allen’s ready to do just about anything to keep Declan around a little longer…

Man in the Mirror by A.E. Wasp

A companion story to the Paper Hearts novel, Man in the Mirror is the first short in a new erotic series set in the world of the Veterans Affairs books. Benny hasn’t let Mikey see him naked in a week, will barely let Mikey touch him. Mikey’s going to get to the bottom of the issue if it takes all night.


This is a true gay romance anthology. Not only do you get a good variety of writers, but also a unique blend of tropes. With that many choices, it is easy to see which writers you’ll want to read more of.
For me, the first two fall into the needs more category. I enjoyed Avery Duran’s Matzo Ball and the main characters Jacob and Ian. It was a good short but would have been a great novella. Styx and Stone by Leigh Ellwood definitely needed to be more. I thoroughly enjoyed the world she created but because of the details needed, Cheron and Stone took a back seat.
Asta Idonea’s First Swallow of Spring was a sweet short story. I’d love to see this author turn it into a series. You can’t go wrong with the fae.
I love stories about the Gods, and Eva Lefoy delivered beautifully with How Hercules Got His Bruise. It’s a great blend of the myth with a romantic spin. I’d love more myth based stories from her.
Loggerhead by Dale Lowry is such a sweet romance. Eric and Jake remind us that life may get busy, but we must take the time for each other. By slowing down and reconnecting, they remember what they love the most.
Full on steam with a sweet side, Handyman by Jodi Payne reminds us why we enjoy reading romance. Danny and Ken show that while they both may have been hurt, they can take the chance to try again. Plus, the amazing sex doesn’t hurt either.
For those who like historicals with a twist, Shiloh Saddler’s Clipped Wings is just for you. While I’m not big on historicals, I did like the writer’s concepts.
I loved Rebuilding The Future by Sam Thorne. The writer’s style and balance were highly enjoyable. Even though it was a short story, you still got a slow burn with angst built into a hot conclusion. Not to mention a very adorable boy named Charlie and the most unpleasant twin sister. I am definitely going to look for more by this author.
Ending out this set is a little catch-up moment by A.E. Wasp. Man In the Mirror takes place after her Paper Hearts novel. I love when authors do this. It gives us a chance to reconnect with characters we fell in love with.

Overall, I find these anthologies a great way for readers to discover new authors and
learn a little about their tastes as well. I would like to thank the authors for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book.

***The ARC was provided by Sexy To Go. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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