|Recommended based on Reader Reviews
|These are novels that I have read or that
have gained positive notice on the Internet.
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* * * * * I hate being speechless., July 21, 2005
Reviewer: Michael T. Rognlien "Amazon Junkie" (Seattle, WA USA) -
This book really should have been marked as being a bit scandalous. There is intercourse with
minors, incest, multiple attempted suicides, the list goes on. A lesser author would dredge up the
most obvious emotions and the associated trite characterizations of the seemingly typical
damaged characters and clobber us with a storyline that reeks with the familiar "I can tell which
heart string he's going to pull on next".
If you've not yet read Leave Myself Behind (I have lent out and purchased at least 4 copies
thus far) then you might not realize that Bart Yates is not a lesser author, and that buying and
experiencing this book is really something you'll want to thank him for making possible.
He takes emotionally wrenching subject matter and mixes it with characters that should be easily
predictable and transparent and turns them into these simple yet epic portrayals of the intricacy
of the human condition, and it's amazing to read. He certainly does put most, if not all, of his
characters through hell and back before allowing them a bit of redemption, but as with most of
the rewarding things in life, the journey is a hell of a lot more important than the destination.
I fully suggest setting aside however much time you'll need to get through it in one sitting - and if
you haven't yet read Leave Myself Behind, have it at the ready for when you finish.
* * * * * Insightful and moving story of growing up gay in the South, January 13, 2005
Reviewer: Kara Bay "bookarts" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
As a straight female from the midwest, I was not sure I could relate to a novel about growing up
gay in the South, but Perronne does an amazing job of making you care about his protagonist,
Mason. Universally, teenagers face the challenge of discovering who they are, but Perronne
brings to life the special problems of a gay teenager. One of the things I liked best is that not only
does Perronne deal with Mason's sexuality, but he also shows that many of Mason's concerns
(whether to go to college, relating to his sibling, etc.) are those of every teenager. Perronne also
does an excellent job of bringing to life the eighties era in the tale. I would not say the interest in
this story is limited to gay people - it brings understanding about the tribulations of growing up
gay, as well as simply being an engaging coming of age story.
* * * * * The Sense of the Past, June 9, 2006
Reviewer: Kevin Killian (San Francisco, CA United States)
Cleverly done, THE BACK PASSAGE explores relations between upstairs and downstairs at Drekeham Hall, a
British country estate near Norfolk in the year 1925, on the eve of the General Strike that solidified labor and
brought globalism to a halt for a few brief, ecstatic weeks. Like a Henry James heroine, young Edward Mitchell is
an American student at Cambridge, is the "heiress to all the ages." At Cambridge he has been taken up by Harry
"Boy" Morgan, his college roommate, an aristocrat bred to the bone who has been engaged to Lady Belinda for a
year and a half. Mitchell (who insists his new UK friends call him "Mitch," with breezy American familiarity)
accompanies his mate to a weekend party and soon finds himself face to face with a corpse in the stately home.
Thus begins one of the more eccentric Golden Age mysteries I've read in some time, and I've read a zillion of `em.
The working class men of England need protection both from the upper classes who exploit them sexually, and
from the police system, in which an avaricious sergeant takes money from Sir James Eagle to keep the common
people in line and to whip up false charges should any of them complain. "Mitch" can't imagine similar injustices
occurring in his home town of Boston, but we note that this is during the same period in which the governor of
Massachusetts ordered the execution of two convicted anarchists, Sacco and Vanzetti, despite an international
uproar protesting this injustice.
Whopper Hunt, a sleek Englishwoman with pots of money, is engaged to Sir James' handsome son Rex, who flees
the mansion as soon as Boy and Mitch discover the body of Reginald Walworth. Naturally, our suspicions turn to
Rex, then to Whopper, then to other members of the Eagle family, including Lady Caroline, the Judi Dench-like
matriarch of the whole family who has a bad temper and who bullies the butler, Burroughs, and his "sister," the
housekeeper Mrs. Ramage. There are so many suspects it's definitely difficult to tell them apart without a
scorecard. Author Lear has challenged himself by adding modern spice to an age-old Agatha Christie landscape,
and now and then he stumbles: was the word Mitch uses for a certain preliminary seminal fluid really lingua franca
in 1925, no I don't think so. But outside of that he's good at men's trousers and underwear and you will definitely
feel you're in the hands of a master as Mitch pursues his culprits through cupboards, swimming holes, armchairs
and Bentleys. He thinks of a unique hiding place for a roll of film that will leave you sitting up rather more gingerly
than ever before. In short, he is a fine writer with touch of the genius, or at any rate the sui generis which, in 2006
means just about the same thing. If ever he comes to San Francisco I invite him to investigate my cupboard, my
rosewood chair, my bog or my many, many, my positive heap of film canisters.
* * * * * Not a single false note in coming-of-age novel, June 22, 2006
Reviewer: C. Cruz Jr. (San Francisco, Calif., USA)
K.M. Soehnlein did not strike a single false note for me in his coming-of-age novel. The non-linear nature of many
conversations (which still communicate much to both the listeners AND the speakers), the guilt and excitement
that a person feels when he continues to experience life during tragic circumstances, the way a series of bold
decisions suddenly add up to a life spinning wildly out of control: all of these ring true to me.
The protagonist Robin McKenzie is destined for greater things than his suburban New Jersey town can give him --
he's smart, creative, and hungry -- but we're lucky to have a peak into the half-year when his life and identity are
transformed (unfortunately, by an accident when childhood teasing gets out-of-hand).
The book is written for adults, although older teenagers might be ready for it. I imagine that some high school
gays will dog-ear certain hot sections for re-reading. I would have done so had I stumbled on such a book when I
was in high school. Wait, I did ...
And for once in recent fiction, a gay relationship in high school is shown to be the intoxicating, confusing,
educational and FINITE experience that it often is.
Five books, not gay-themed, that I highly recommend
* * * * * Buon Giorno, Tristesse, February 26, 2007
Reviewer: Tom S. "filmfan3" (New York City)
I read this extraordinary novel after seeing several good reviews, notably the one in the NY Times. It is a story of
first love involving two men, but it can't really be classified as specialty literature. Here is a funny, harrowing,
heartbreaking coming-of-age tale that everyone will instantly recognize.
A 17-year-old Italian boy discovers the joy and anguish of adult emotions one summer on the Italian Riviera. The
lyrical prose, frank sexuality, and clear-eyed tone of the novel remind me of another instant classic, Francoise
Sagan's BONJOUR TRISTESSE. I recently reread that personal favorite, and I had it in mind as I read this. Like
Sagan, Aciman places us inside the mind of an uncannily precocious teenager, showing us everything through his
eyes. His total fixation on the object of his passion--an older American post-grad scholar who's visiting for the
summer--is overwhelming, and some of the scenes between the two are so intimate that reading them actually
feels like an intrusion. But Aciman insists on telling the truth of every single moment of the affair, and his young
hero has an unblinking gaze.
The rocky road to adulthood never changes--but every now and then we get a voice like this to tell us the story. I
recommend CALL ME BY YOUR NAME to everyone who was ever 17.
* * * * * Bravo, February 11, 2007
Reviewer: Jem "Jem" (MD, USA) The Tin Star by J.L. Langley
This was an excellent M/M erotic romance. Cowboys aren't usually my favorite, as they are so overdone. However,
Langley manages to make this story fresh. Jamie and Ethan are a good couple, and the problems they face in
their relationship, with family, society, and work, are realistic and often sad. The sex is frequent and steamy
without being repetitive.
There are a couple of things in the story that stood out as being particularly well done. First, there is Jamie's older
brother's relationship with Ethan. John is straight, and has known Ethan was gay for years--and they are still
friends. Holy Moly, Batman! It's nice to see a straight male character that isn't bigoted, or has secret homosexual
leanings. John is a well-developed secondary character who takes part in the story. Second, I like the fact that
Jamie and Ethan have known each other for years. Since Jamie is 11 years younger, their relationship was
necessarily different in the past. This makes their new found emotions more poignant. It's not the typical love at
first sight--more like seeing possibiltiies that have been right before your eyes the entire time.
Hot sex, touching romance, a plot with some depth--I will definitely read more from this author. And, I love the
* * * * * Superlative Gay Regency, January 28, 2007
Reviewer: Jerome Y. Hebert (Québec) -
In my opinion, Ms. Pearson has a gift for Gay Regency romances that many Straight authors of romance might
Though a rather short novel, "Discreet Young Gentlemen" successfully presents its two protagonists believably
and develops them to the reader's satisfaction - or at least to my satisfaction. Where some period authors bog the
reader down in interminable "scene-setting" minutiae, Ms. Pearson presents such complementary details
effectively and enjoyably, without ever making one wonder (as some authors unfortunately do) where the story
went after reading three pages of technical data on wescots or paniers. The story moves smoothly; the romantic
development is warm and sexy without ever becoming maudlin or cheap; there is adventure, mystery, humour
and, of course, all the delights to be discovered when characters find themselves on "the path to True Love."
Ms. Pearson is definitely an author of Gay romance whose works I can recommend. I've read both of her existing
books and recommend them to anyone who enjoys this genre. I can't wait to see the third book the author is
working on which, I understand, will deal with an English soldier and a French gentleman during the Napoleonic
* * * * * Great coming-of-age/coming-out story with a clever mystery, September 17, 2006
Reviewer: Bob Lind "camelwest" (Phoenix, AZ United States) Strings Attached by Nick Nolan
Seventeen year old Jeremy Tyler is being given the "second chance" of a lifetime, moving from the Fresno home
of his alcoholic, irresponsible single mom, to the Los Angeles area beachfront mansion of his rich Aunt Katherine.
Aunt Katherine and her husband Bill also acted as surrogate parents to his father Jonathan, who died in an
unfortunate accident on a winding mountain road when Jeremy was an infant. Jeremy wants to be a man of whom
his aunt can be proud, just like his father, whom he resembles and shares many interests. He works on
developing a good relationship with his interacial girlfriend, Reed, hoping that they will prove that an attraction he
had to better looking, gregarious guys was just envy rather than an indication of sexual orientation. While his aunt
and uncle are very kind to him, Jeremy becomes closest to Katherine's butler, Alfred, a somewhat mysterious gay
man who is a former marine officer and seems to have an uncanny knack for anticipating everyone's needs. One
day, Jeremy receives a call from his mother in rehab, warning him that he is in danger from Katherine's husband,
Bill, and that it is likely he was responsible for his father's death. Jeremy doesn't know what to think, suspecting
his mother is intentionally poisoning his mind against his aunt and uncle in order to retain her hold on him ... and
to get her hands on the sizeable trust inheritance he'll see when he turns 18.
A detailed, engaging and highly original first novel, including the ultimate dysfunctional family in a tale of coming
out, coming of age, working toward a goal and responsibility. The author pushes a similarity to the original story of
"Pinocchio," an unnecessary gimmick that fortunately doesn't add confusion to the already-complex nature of the
story. Realistic, flawed characters, a fast pace and a developing mystery make this a real page-turner as well.
Looking forward to more works by this talented author.
* * * * * Flawed But Wonderul Lovers, March 18, 2007
Reviewer: K. Peoples (Arlington, VA) - Standish by Erastes
What a moving novel! The author's characterizations were excellent, as not only the two protagonists but also
many of the supporting characters were well developed. The author didn't even need lots of words to make the
reader understand what each important (and some of the less important) characters were like. The plot line is
rather common: boy meets boy, hates boy, then loves boy; first horror then stupidity and infidelity separate the
guys, maybe forever. The continuing series of nightmares the two men then faced (including Ambrose's falling in
love a second time) put huge barriers between that I'm still not sure ever completely came down. Though I read
the last few pages of the book several times, I'm not sure whether or not the happy ending implied at the end did
or didn't happen. If it did, it required much work and interaction between the two lovers to occur after the story
ended. Good set-up for a sequel, though I'm not sure what issues could be raised by a sequel that were not
touched on in this book.
Accurate and graphic portrayal of rape, infidelity (in flagrante, no less), their emotional consequences, the
difficulties in overcoming these issues, especially in a day when homosexual activity was a major (in some cases,
capital) crime and psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists did not exist to help people deal with deep emotional
trauma. Interesting theme: that deeply felt love could find a way to overcome even the most horrendous personal
Well done. I will undoubtedly reread many times, as the writing is excellent, in addition to the plot line and
characterizations. I look forward to reading more books from this author.
When I asked Ally why women choose to write M2M romances, she said: I'm not entirely sure
what my motivation for writing m/m romance is. Other than the Hotness Factor, of course <g> I
think it's at least partly because men fascinate me, and therefore I like to get into the male mind,
or at least try to. Also, the dynamic between two (or more) men is completely different than that
between a man and a woman, and I like to explore that dynamic. There's also the fact that, being
female, one thing I can never, ever experience from either side is male-to-male sex. And of
course, all us humans are drawn to the unknown, aren't we? As far as reading goes, I agree that
m/m romance is more interesting, for the most part. I think the reason for that isn't so much that
the relationship itself is more interesting (although to me, it kind of is), but rather because m/m
books tend to stretch more. They tend to take more risks than traditional romance, go more places
you wouldn't expect. I like that. As a reader, I love being surprised. I also like characters who
behave like real people, and too many traditional romance heroines seem to be basically sheep.
"Oh my, here I am, a professional lawyer/politician/brain surgeon, yet I need a man to tell me
how I feel!" I absolutely despise that!