Middle Game, part two in the Chess Series by Sean Michael, is a continuation from book one in settling the relationship between the four men Jason, Bishop, Knight and Rook. The only difference between book number one and two is that it gets more intense and real in book two. This doesn’t make book two any less lovely or steamingly hot. I’d even go so far to say that part two is even better because of the intensity. Something Sean michael is great at creating, sexual tension mixed with some good ‘ol fashioned love.
To write series isn’t something all authors are capable of doing, least of all not this kind of series since in my opinion a lot of erotic/kinky books becomes all about sex, and fucking, and there's little to no story mixed in with the steamy scenes. I think Sean Michael is at his best as a writer when he comes back over and over again in a series where he can come back and bring you to the depth of the characters and their story. When he can show you all those small things that makes each individual character special and what brings him together with that special someone, and foremost where you as a reader get to find out why things are the way you are the back story gets developed over time and things are revealed in bits and pieces.
In Middle Game, Jason finds himself in a dilemma where he is falling in love with Rook. The two of them have been a thing, had a special bond since book one, where Rook is there is Jason. Rook is the reason Jason takes the huge leap in involving himself with three people, especially three men at all. Rook is the glue that keeps them all together, Jason will show to be the silent dependent strength, Bishop the law and order making sure everyone are happy and settled and Knight is the spice that keeps them all alive and alert and the reason they all stay.
In book two there’s also a lot of commotion going on with Knight and especially between Bishop and Knight settling their relationship and what’s to be of it while Jason is there. Knight is terrified that if he show himself as the bottom he actually is, but only for his two men and especially Bishop, he’s scared Jason won’t find him attractive or somehow judge him and push him away, he's scared his two lovers won't need him any longer, now when Jason is there. He has it set in his head to be attractive and fierce he has to be a top only. But no one does.
There are three major events in this book one going down between all of them but with Bishop and Knight in focus. It’s in a game of truth and dare where they try to share some intense love with Jason and he freaks and Knight becomes the player instead. But Jason still refuses and backs out. Then there is the piercer that comes for the impromptu piercing party that Bishop throws for all his boys, and then there is the part where Jason breaks up with his men and it is heart crushing. Sean Michael has Rooks reaction down like whoa, expect tears people, and you feel for Jason to the point where you think your own heart is going to break because of how absolutely devastated he is and hopeless he feels because he is in love with Rook but thinks he's just a boy toy for a year.
Middle Game is an emotional rollercoaster without being too much and still has a lot of fun and naughty segments. It leaves you wanting more and thanking your lucky star there’s a third to go grab right away.
You can find Sean on the following social medias:
Sean Michael Website
Sean Michael Blog
Oh, Jonathan! I think that was the first thought that rushed through my mind after reading the last few sentences of Hans Hirschi’s, Jonathan’s Hope. I simply adore books, when you finish reading them you feel devastatingly happy, which in my world is a mix of pure bliss mixed with complete and utter heartbreak.
I’ve read many books in my life, there are many that has touched me in different ways, and that I’ll always remember, Jonathan’s Hope will become another one of those books that will not only get that special place on my bookshelf those books you have that you want to read again, but you dread doing so because you know that emotional turmoil they will bring, but will be of great inspiration.
Jonathan’s Hope, is about a young man, who is a couple weeks shy of his 18th birthday when the book starts. He’s driven out into the woods by his parents and left there to die for no other reason than because he’s gay. His father is a troubled man, a monster really, who has lost all faith in himself as well as in humanity. The only way for him to be able to live with himself and his own pain, to be able to take that next breath, is to inflict pain on others. At first I hated Jonathan’s father by the end I felt nothing but sadness and how society with its bigotry had failed yet another person.
Jonathan is more or less freezing and starving to death in the woods, trying to find his way, when a man and his dog appear and lead the way to a remote cabin in the woods, where the man, Dan and his dog lives. Spite his shyness, Jonathan finds the courage to knock on the door to the cabin and asks for help.
Dan, who one year prior, to Jonathan showing up on his doorstep, lost his partner and love of his life, Sean, in a hunting accident, lives a quiet and isolated life in their cabin that he and Sean renovated together. He is refusing to live life to it’s fullest, missing his Sean every day. That day when the knock on the door comes, he’s startled and almost shocked to who was out there, and when he finds the half frozen to death young man on his doorstep all of Dan’s own worries, pain and focus on himself disappears and all he ses is a young man in distress who need his help.
Over the next coming weeks, and months, you get to follow this amazing journey of two individuals, their own journeys and the one that they take together. Dan becomes the family that Jonathan never had, show’s him simple pleasures, as enjoying a real good cup of coffee, getting presents, eating food of the gods, and learn how it is to be love and love right back. Dan’s heart gets a chance to heal, when he himself learns that if a man is real lucky he will have more than one great love in a life, one better than the other, just different. In Jonathan he finds life, a reason for living. Dan finds the will to fight for himself and for Jonathan and together they fight for each other, to be together.
This is not just some random love story, with a 30 year old man falling in love with a man 13 years his junior, or a boy that has been so severely abused by his father since birth, that learning the simple joy of coffee is like winning the lottery. Well at least not only that because obviously it is about love and finding it for the first time or again, but it is also about finding yourself, learning your own value and to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. It is about not hating those who done you wrong but being able to forgive them for what they done to you, so you can move on and start living the life you deserve.
The end, if the ending had been the last chapter that I know from Hans was the end, without the epilogue, this would still have been a great book, but with the epilogue it became a fantastic book. The epilogue is what made Jonathan’s Hope become full circle. It is the epilogue that wraps up what this entire book is about, and again Hans Hirschi shows us how important family ties are to him, how influenced maybe he is and in reality we all are by where we come from, but spite our genes, our past and the environment we are brought up in we all have a choice in who we become. Cruelty doesn’t necessarily give birth to cruelty, no, instead the choice is always in our own hands to turn the boat around and sail towards our own destination, even if we have to sail in headwind most of the time, there will always be a harbor waiting for us to arrive safely.
You can find Hans on the following social medias:
Opening Moves, is what the titles says, the start of a awesome, sexy, kinky and fun series, with a lot of soul and also heartache. I have said it before, describing Sean Michael’s writing, but it is an art form knowing how to write erotic books that are filled with sex and kink without them lacking in heart and story. Sean Michael, according to me has mastered this art form better than anyone I’ve read before. The Chess Series, which Opening Moves, is the start of is one of his best series (together with the Hammer Series) and proves this fact over and over in each of these books. This is a series I have read and re-read many, many times and I’ll do so many more without a doubt. I never get tired of reading this author’s books.
Opening Moves, starts out with Jason a struggling personal trainer in a slump, gets an offer from the threesome consisting of Bishop, Knight and Rook to be their live-in lover, plaything for a year and for doing that he get besides room and board, half a million dollars for his time. Jason who in the beginning of the book doesn’t know that he’s gay, is shocked by their suggestion and doesn’t know what to make of it. Compare to the three, very different men who is propositioning him, Jason is shy and blush easily. Bishop is the top, Knight the pushy bottom, Rook the man who loves with all his heart and is very comfortable with who he is and his desire for sex. He doesn’t hide himself at all. None of the three men does, they are all confident but in different ways. Knight is the eccentric artist who comes off as grumpy and quit mean but in real is scared to be hurt. Bishop is the solidness that keeps them all together and as the author so aptly put it he has a “Masters in Knight”.
Jason is finally convinced by Rook to take the leap of faith, Rook being the charmer in the group but also the star on Jason’s sky. He’s the one that makes Jason calm, the one who Jason trusts and the one who seduces Jason to want to try being with the three of them. Bishop is Jason buddy with benefits that makes Jason feel like he’s being charged, Rook the sweet and beautiful man who makes him soar, and Knight is the one Jason can’t quite place and is a little bit intimidated by but still extremely attracted too.
I think this is what I like the most about these books, even thought there’s plenty of hot and steamy sex, I would even go so far to say with four horny men, because yes even shy Jason soon finds his place, at least sex wise in the well established threesome and enjoys sex more than ever before. They all have these different connections to each other they are a threesome, on the making of becoming, a foursome but Sean Michael show’s the characters differences with ease and how those differences compliment the foursome instead of complicate it.
Each time I read these books I’m astonished how I’m always left feeling that Jason is the outsider who never quite fit in, I feel that emotion each time even though I know what happens and what makes him in the end fit. Jason may be the shy one but he is also the strongest and how that is will be revealed in the fourth book. He is the observer, the careful one, but when shit hits the fan you will see how he steps up to the plate.
This first book is about adventure, about daring to take that scare step and jump off the ledge not knowing how it will affect you but just trust in that those who are there around you will catch you. This especially when thinking about Jason and Knight who has certain things set in their minds when the adventure of Jason moving in with the thrio. It’s about proving that love comes in all shape, sizes and is sometimes not limited to one person, not even two or three. You love who you love and it is possible to make a relationship based on more than two people work if that is what you want.
You can find Sean on the following social medias:
Sean Michael Website
Sean Michael Blog
I have to say, I’m surprised by this fourth installment of Mannies Incorporated, and it is the sort of surprised that I didn’t know a Sean Michael book could still give me. Sean is well known for his Hammer Series and Chess Series, to name a few of his well told and well appreciated BDSM series. The man doesn’t have a tagline that goes “Smut fixes everything” for nothing, it’s there for a reason. He’s a master at smut and kink and does it really, really well. One could even claim Sean Michael has done his job in becoming the master of kind so well that his readers don’t know how to handle this more romantic side of him, where there is less of the “I’ll spank your ass rosy red only to fuck you into oblivion” to more “devotion, love and care for my family” kind of books.
Up until now I’ve liked the Mannies Incorporated just fine, they have been good “sexy/flirty men with families” types of book but they have still had Sean Michael’s more well known touch of loads of sex and hot men getting it on, with tension building, so color me surprised when I start reading, Three to get Ready, the latest of the Mannies Inc books and it is about as family oriented and non sexual, but still being sexy, as a Sean Michael book can get. Three to get Ready is about family, about fate meddling and giving two people who never meant to to break up in the first place, a very non dramatic chance of getting a second chance together. That not every break up cause heartbreak that last forever or eternal hate but instead it makes you smile when you get that chance to do it all over again.
Three to get Ready, is fairly non dramatic, there are no huge fights, misunderstandings between Dan and Jack, old flames from College were Dan wants kids, Jack doesn’t and therefore takes of running to the hills. Thirteen years later Dan comes to work at Jack as a nanny since he has a soon 6 year old blind son and two new twins on the way. The build up between Dan and Jack is slow and nice, family is the core between the two men that brings them together, and there’s no jealousy and drama. Which I like, instead the situations that this family of four are faced with has to do with family expectations, dealing with how to raise a blind child and make him feel included in things that seeing people take for granted, how to fit in two small new born babies to a family in the making and to avoid sibling jealousy as much as possible, how do you prepare a 6 year old for the unfairness of the world and still make him into a strong and independent person.
The only thing I can say that is seriously missing from this book that would have made it even better is more about Jack’s ex, the one who left when Nathan, Jack’s first son, was born because he apparently “changed his mind”. I personally would have loved to have seen Jack or Dan for that matter tell that bastard to jump off a cliff.
So, If you are a Sean Michael, hard core BDSM fan and never have read anything “soft” written by Sean or know for a fact that you want your kinky Sean Michael is your preference this is not the book for you, or the book to start with. This is so far from kinky, vanillia is riskier, than what is going on in this book. If you want a tender, family oriented love story that makes you sniffle and your heart to grow warm, a feel good story from start to finish, this is so very much the book for you.
You can find Sean on the following:
Sean Michael Website
Sean Michael Blog
Brave, by Alp Mortal, was the first book I read by this author, and what a great start it was! I think this type of book is one of my absolute favorite kind of books, with a lovely love story mixed in with a great suspense story.
What I like most about it, is the fact that it starts out really calm and sweet, well besides the fact that one of the main characters, who later will chose his name to be Archie, is hit by a car that belongs to a wealthy and kind man named Joseph. It starts out that way but Alp Mortal has this fantastic way of slowly building up and sneaking in suspicion in you, the readers, mind without you really knowing it or being able to pinpoint it but when shit hit’s the fan you’re like, I knew it!
Archie is at the time he gets hit by Joseph’s car, homeless and living on the street, and has done so since he was a young child. His time on the streets has been so long and lonely, that he’s forgotten his own name. In Joseph’s care he’s taken care of by Joseph himself and his chauffeur and butler, Jacob, who both becomes his close friends. In the midst of this enter Anthony, who is a teacher who is there to teach Archie about the world, to read and understand the world around him; and foremost enter Nathan.
Nathan is there to help Archie to care for him, help him with his physical therapy and make sure that he heals. Between taking care of Archie, and Archie learning about the world from Anthony as well as choosing his own name with Joseph’s help, Nathan and Archie slowly starts to fall in love. Just as Archie and Nathan has fallen in love, and is exploring this love, odd things starts to happen, things you can pinpoint exactly what they are and one night Jacob comes to their room only to tell them that they are going to have to leave very hastily and never look back, them and him, which they all do.
The second half of this book, is a mix of heart beating suspense and heart beating love, and the beginning of a new family. As a reader you are torn between worrying about what will happen, will they find each other again, will the evil in men who Archie and Nathan thought were their friends find them, who is a foe and who is a friend. The suspense is dragged out to the very end and the ending is top notch. It keeps you wanting more but Alp Mortal still manages to wrap you up in a nice warm blanket.
Alp Mortal has a excellent skill of telling a story, he seduces you with easy words, well thought out characters and plot, which all helps keeping you on your toes. Do not miss this book and the journey of young love trying to conquer evil in it’s truest form, human greed.
You can find Alp Mortal on social media by following these links:
The Carter Seagrove Project
It was with great curiosity that I set out to read this book, the fact that it was a personal gift from the author himself as we met for the first time right around Christmas, at a small cafe here in our hometown, Gothenburg was an amazing plus.
Sitting down with an actual book, a real book in my hands was a treat I forgotten how special that was. It also took me about 50% through the book to stop tapping the pages and think that action would flip the pages for me, which you get use to after only reading on a kindle for two years.
Hans, mind you now I've only met him once, talked to him several times, but Hans is this exuberant, honest and most interesting man to talk too, and really what you see is what you get. Hans, is extremely proud of his family, of his husband and their boy, it shows every time he mentions them how much he loves them. Heart to heart loves, no questions about it. He's open with how he feels about things and shares it with ease, without it being shoved down your throat, and that makes it welcoming to get to know him.
For the little over two hours we sat and talk about books, writing and how we wrote and why, where did our ideas come from and about family the more it felt like I was meeting a friend from 20 years ago. Someone you known before but hadn't seen in a long time.
So, why am I telling you about all of this for this review of Family Ties, because when getting this book from Hans he told me "this is my life story of sorts", at the time I didn't understand what those words meant but as I started reading Family Ties, and especially after finished reading Family Ties I understood maybe how personal it may actually be.
I could see what little I had seen of Hans, and learned by listening to him talk about himself and observed, in many of the characters, Sascha especially.
Family Ties, is exactly what the title says, a book about family and family bindings, what makes a family. It proves that family can be blood but it doesn't have to be, it shows that family can be that amazing man that saves you from living on the street, the man who loves you enough to dare live a life that is against society's norms, it can be those children that is part donor eggs, part surrogate mother and your partner's sperm, those children that isn't biologically yours, but still are by your loins and is more your family than the blood brother you never really got to know.
Family Ties, is an emotional journey of a whole family through Sascha's eyes, he let us follow him to Australia where fate teaches him harsh lessons no man or woman for that matter should ever have to learn, it let us follow the journey that two men takes on to be able to start their own family, spite the fact that many countries and society has negative ideas about other than man/woman couples having children. It's about learning that it is never too late to finding a middle ground with your blood family even if years, maybe even decades has past, you can still find understanding and become a family.
What I loved about this book the most are all the different stories weaved into one, and that they went so well together. You really got a full life story of Sascha and his husband Dan. You got to find out why their relationship was so special, understand why it works and was a match made in heaven. Hans really explains with such ease the connection of all relationships and why they were so important in Sascha's life and how they influenced him.
Family Ties, sure as it says, is a #LGBT book in its rightful definition. I don't say this about a lot of authors, I may just have said it to one other author, and that is Hans Hirschi write classics, books that will be in every book shelf, read because they give meaning to anyone who reads them, explain societal issues, and gives us as readers and people of this society a greater understanding for how it is to live in the real world as man, with a family with skeletons in the closet, and who just happens to be gay.
This is an author you have to read and experience on your own, Family Ties is a book I still over a week later of finish reading, still am thinking about and wonder in awe. I wonder how he manage to fit it all together so beautifully. That is just how good Hans Hirschi is at telling a story, he is a true storyteller.
You can find Hans on the following social medias:
Dreamer, Writer, Reader and Metal Head.