Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mini-Impressions: Latest M/M Reads #3

I recently re-read the following four M/M books. The Assignment was the first M/M erotica book I read and the one that started the whole M/M "research" obsession on my part. Yes, "research"... *g*.

I read quite a few other books in between this first book, Out of My Mind by M.L. Rhodes andThe Tin Star by J.L. Langley, but I remember these were the books that made a difference to me. These were the books that kept me reading M/M and looking for more. With time, much reading and continued research, my tastes have evolved and changed, and I've discovered many wonderful and favorite authors. However, these books continue to hold a special place and I suspect they always will. After all they were the ones that introduced me to a whole new genre I now love and can't stop reading. :)

The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson
Detective Nicholas Valenti, tall, dark and stoic, has been best friends with his partner, Sean O’Brian for six years. The two men have seen each other through divorce, disaster and danger and saved each other’s asses more times than Valenti can count. Exactly when he started seeing his blond, intense partner in another light, Valenti isn’t really sure. He only knows that he wants O’Brian in a way that had nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with possession. It is a desire he will have to hide forever because O’Brian is undeniably straight.

Just as Valenti is coming to grips with his new, unacceptable feelings for his partner their police Captain puts them on a new case that could blow Valenti’s cover once and for all. He and O’Brian are going undercover at the country’s largest and most infamous gay resort to bust a notorious drug lord and stop the shipments of poison cocaine that are flooding the gay bars all over the city.

Now Valenti will have to make a choice between friendship and desire. He and O’Brian will play the roles of gay men that will push the limits of their relationship to the breaking point. Will their time at the RamJack forge a new bond between them or destroy their partnership forever?
I always think of The Assignment as the ultimate "double gay for you" story. As I was going down memory lane as this was my first M/M book ever, I remember falling in love with O'Brian and thinking these were two HOT cops (I mean WOW, I was blind sighted by M/M!) and wanting to read more about them. At the time, I went ahead and gobbled up the follow up stories, I'll Be Hot for Christmas and Fireworks. :)

As I re-read the book, I remembered that I was frustrated by Valenti's attitude throughout, and that was still the case this time. He was so centered on his own feelings that he was oblivious to O'Brian's. The other thing that hit me was the fact that I didn't buy the fact that O'Brian's feelings came to the forefront during their undercover gig... I always thought his feelings were there waaaayyyy before then and he knew it. It seems to me that's the way it was presented throughout the book. What I found and enjoyed again was the sexual tension in the story and the encounters between Valenti and O'Brian. I enjoyed them during this re-read just as much as I did the first time. :)

Out of My Mind by M. L. Rhodes
For four years Rafferty Jones and Nick Tucker have worked side-by side as police detectives in their small Maine town. But lately, Rafferty’s imagination has been creating fantasies about Nick—more specifically, about Nick and him together—that have shocked Rafferty. Detailed erotic scenarios a thirty-something, set-in-his-ways straight man shouldn’t be imagining. He’s been struggling to keep them secret, afraid that if Nick discovers the truth it will end their friendship. But with each passing day it’s getting harder and harder to pretend Nick is “just” a friend. And harder and harder for Rafferty to come to terms with the possibility he might not be as straight as he’s always believed.

Nick’s always known he’s gay and he’s had deep feelings for Rafferty for years. But after a difficult experience at his former police precinct in Boston, he decided when he moved to Maine to keep his sexual orientation under wraps on the job. He wants to be acknowledged at work for what he can do, not who he’s doing. And with Rafferty being straight, there’s always been a clear-cut line that Nick’s known he can’t cross with his unsuspecting partner and best friend. And yet...for the past few months it’s become difficult to remember that line. He’s not sure why, he just knows that for the first time in four years his heart and his body are urging him to go for what he really wants...Rafferty.

When a stormy weekend trip on Rafferty’s boat gives birth to an unexpected night of passion, will it be the spark they need to forge a new and deeper relationship? Or will Nick’s past and Rafferty’s fear drive a wedge between them that will destroy not only their barely-begun love affair, but their partnership and friendship as well?
Out of My Mind by M.L. Rhodes was the second book that made a difference for me. This is another "gay for you" story that was both frustrating and sexy. When I first read it, I fell in love with both characters. I loved, loved Nick and thought Rafferty was just wonderful. Raff's angst and indecision felt real and raw, and Nick's love felt real and painful. Their love scenes, although few, were great.

I still love that Rhodes didn't make the change easy for Raff, even though I was bleeding with Nick when he was suffering through Raff's indecision about their relationship. And, I still wish Rhodes would write a follow up to this story. I loved Out of My Mind this time just as much as I did the first time.

The Tin Star by J. L. Langley
James Killian learns the hard way that smaller towns are full of bigots. When he comes out to his father he is not only kicked out of his home but off the Quadruple J where he works as the ranch foreman. With nowhere to go and little money, his savior comes in the unlikely form of his older brother’s best friend, the man he’s been in love with for over half his life.

Ethan Whitehall is a successful rancher and a well-respected man in his community. His ranch the Tin Star has been in Ethan’s family for generations and affords him a certain prestige and power in the small town he calls home. Ethan knows without a doubt that all of that could shatter if his sexual orientation were to ever become public. But when he learns his best friend’s younger brother’s banishment and the reasons behind it, Ethan can’t help but get involved. He’s always had a soft spot where Jamie Killian was concerned, and it may very well be his downfall.

The Broken H by J. L. Langley
Sheriff Grayson Hunter hasn’t felt like he belonged for a long time. Once he loved The Broken H, his ancestral home and Shane Cortez with all that he was. Now he tries to stay as far away from the ranch and the man as possible until an accident brings them together.

Shane Cortez has been the Broken H’s foreman for going on twenty years, he’s lived on the ranch for even longer. Because of a rocky past that sent him fleeing his home and seeking refuge on The Broken H, he’s kept himself from the one thing that has always been dear to him…Grayson.

Now Shane has let go of the demons that haunted him for so long. And he wants Gray. They'll have to mend what's broken to make a life together.
I also re-read The Tin Star by J.L. Langley and then just had to go ahead and re-read The Broken H following that. It's been a long, long time since I read these two books. I still feel the same way...

In The Tin Star, I thought the back story about intolerance in the community was the best part of the story and it was well done. Being a newby, at the time I remember loving the fact that I was reading an M/M book that had something important to discuss... it was not just about the sex, lol. Not that I didn't enjoy Ethan and Jamie's scenes, I did -- they are hot. I especially enjoyed Jamie's character and the way he loved. But, I never quite bought Ethan's sudden attraction and love for Jamie. Yes, Jamie was Ethan's best friend's "little brother," but Ethan was never attracted to Jamie until he came out of the closet, and then it was BAM, "OH, there you are... you're hot... I love you"...

There are other questions that were raised in this book that were not answered, and because a book about Jamie's brother John was never written, these issues were left dangling. So yes, plot holes. I always thought that John's actions in The Tin Star were questionable and we never really received good enough reasons for those. I still enjoyed reading it and it was great to re-visit with Ethan and Jamie. I always loved Jamie and never questioned where his love came from, so it was a great nostalgic re-read.

On the other hand, I still think The Broken H is better than the The Tin Star, when it comes to the relationship part of the story. I do believe it's because Gray and Shane knew and loved each other for such a long time and that relationship didn't just pop out of nowhere -- it was established. I thought theirs was a passionate and believable love...

We meet Gray in The Tin Star and quite a few of the characters make an appearance in this book. There is a contrast here between Jamie's coming out of the closet to his father (in The Tin Star) and Gray and Shane's coming out to the parents... an important one, as everyone doesn't have the same experience. I thought this story was better balanced and complete with the erotic romance maintaining the focus, while still bringing in secondary characters into the mix.

So, upon finishing my trip down memory lane, I still enjoyed all of them, but out of the four, my favorites are: Out of My Mind by M.L. Rhodes and The Broken H by J.L. Langley.

7 comments:

  1. The Assignment is one of those books that keeps coming up as early m/m reading. I like the cops storyline.

    For me, it's the emotions of the Tin Star which make it such a favorite of mine. I just found myself thinking of Jamie during the day when I wasn't reading. He was a character that really stuck with me.

    BTW, I tagged you for a meme! :-)

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  2. See now I have to read The Assignment :) I've read the others and I agree with you... I like the Broken H better too.

    Have you read any by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux? They write as a team... very beautiful books and the characters are fantastic.

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  3. Renee, it seems as if The Assignment is a good introductory M/M story.

    The Tin Star w/always be a favorite of mine. I also thought a lot about it when I read it & Jamie, his situation & capability for love also stayed w/me. :) Thanks for the tag, lol!

    Mariana, come back & let us know what you think of The Assignment! It's a sentimental favorite. :)

    I've read Abigail Roux (her latest), but no books by the Urban/Roux team. I've heard much about them & haven't tried them yet. Thanks for the recommendation. :)
    BTW, I'm getting to your Buchanan recs, soon. *g*

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  4. Thanks for this fun trip down memory lane! JL Langley way my first M/M too (the outer space planet regelence one). It was interesting to read about all these and your early/present reactions. I've read none of them, but I think I should read the Assignment!

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  5. So glad you enjoyed my nostalgic trip, CJ.:) Interesting how many people read Langley first. Huh! Also interesting that you chose The Assignment. I hope you enjoy the double gfy, hot whammy, lol!

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  6. Hey! Read 'The Assignment' and enjoyed it! Loved Sean so much. Very nice interaction with the characters, and how they just loved each other.

    Thanks for the recommend, just bought Rough Cut yesterday... will be reading soon :)

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  7. Mariana, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Assignment! Wasn't Sean wonderful? He was my favorite. :)

    Hope you enjoy Rough Cut, please let me know what you think of it.

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