Category: Michele L. Montgomery

Review: Lethal Obsession Deserted

Review: Lethal Obsession Deserted

I love any book that begins with an acknowledgement to Glenfidditch, however, that was only the beginning with this one. Lucca is a lonely, arrogant, rebellious young man who seems to crave attention from his family. However, due to this lack of attention from family he winds up finding it in a few questionable places. Almost as if he’s daring himself to see how far he will go. And in the same respect, his self-destructive nature could also be described as vengeance toward his family. His only consolation in Italy is his mentor, Sal, who sometimes seems too nice for a young man who needs more guidance. The first chapter moves fast, and the the story really begins when Lucca asks Sal to take him to America. Only that makes life more complicated, and it changes Lucca in ways he couldn’t have predicted.

Lucca becomes obsessed with the idea that he needs to be worth something to someone, which is almost a direct quote from the story. And in order to prove his worth, and to prove how determined he is, he stuns his family with something they never saw coming and disappears into the world of BDSM in Denver, CO, with his friend, Marcello. When the family realizes he’s gone, Carl, from the prologue, enters the picture through friends of friends and he reluctantly begins a search for Lucca. But Carl also has a story of his own:  Carl opened the door and stopped for a moment to process the feeling that hit him every time he entered the club, the feeling that he’d just tumbled down the rabbit hole and into a sexual wonderland. And at this point in the book I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how well the subject of BDSM is handled. There’s nothing too graphic, but it’s the concept that is treated with respect to those who are into the scene, which I found interesting as a bystander who isn’t into BDSM. I don’t see that often in BDSM books.

In the meantime, Lucca and Marcello form a closer bond because of their circumstances and I often felt as if Lucca feels responsible for Marcello. From there, the BDSM scene continues in more interesting ways I’d rather not say to avoid spoilers. Marcello is not as savvy or articulate as Lucca, and he becomes a liability Lucca’s not sure he’s willing to deal with. As the character of Carl is explained in more detail, we see him as a stronger, almost stubborn man who is determined to get what he wants and we’re not certain about him just yet. All we know is he wants to find Lucca.

In some scenes that follow, the BDSM world is shown to be a sometimes dangerous place for young men who aren’t as careful as they should be. Marcello discovers this after a particularly bad scene he does because he needs the money. This is when we see a stronger side of Lucca as he convinces Marcello to go home. In the same respect, he refuses to go himself in spite of the things he knows he must do to survive. Then Carl enters the picture again and ignores his own feelings because he’s promised Lucca’s parents he would bring him home again. He then becomes a counselor, or guardian of sorts and tries to convince Lucca his family really cares about him.

What happens after this is a surprise. In fact, like with most of Michele Montgomery’s books, there are a few surprises I didn’t expect and I don’t want to spoil them for the reader. From a more technical POV, the book is written well, with careful attention to detail and it’s not overwritten. I speak and read book Italian, but I think it’s important to mention this for those who don’t. The dialogue constantly moves the story forward and that’s interesting because part of the book is set in Italy and the characters are Italian. However, this is handled very professionally, without words and phrases…or colloquialisms…that stop the story, or that the average reader might not understand. We know they are Italian and the book continues in English so it will move forward. It’s a clever trick most seasoned novelists understand. And not one that’s easily obtained. Montgomery has a way of drawing the reader into the story with dialogue in all her books, but I found this one especially well-executed.

I would recommend this book to anyone for several reasons. One, because it’s so well-written. And two, because even if you aren’t into the BDSM scene it’s interesting to read about them in a book like this that’s more focused on love, emotion, rebellion, and the kind of relationships that grow from some underlying connection that’s not always visible, but is there all the time. And once again, I’ll take these characters with me for a long time.

To read more and purchase the book, click the photo above which is a link to Amazon.

Harry Hamlin: Shameless; Review: River of Tears by Michele L. Montgomery

Before I get into my review of “River of Tears,” by Michele L. Montgomery, I wanted to mention something about actor Harry Hamlin who is now playing an interesting role on the TV show, “Shameless.”

Hamlin has been around for a while, and he’s starred in several projects that have gay themes. In “Shameless,” he plays the wealthy father of Steve/Jimmy, who is also having a down-low sexual relationship with Steve/Jimmy’s girlfriend’s younger brother, Ian. You can read more about “Shameless,” here. I find the way they handle the gay characters is superior to any of the network shows. They are just gay and they are there. You don’t see a lot of political nonsense, stereotypes, or trendy bullshit. In other words, they make gay normal without trying too hard to make it the NEW normal…pardon the shameless puns.

In any event, I find it interesting that Hamlin (who is straight, and very fine, indeed) is playing a part like this in “Shameless,” because of a former role he played in the older gay film, “Making Love.” I was only a kid at the time, but I remember the controversy this film created.

According to gay film historian Vito Russo‘s book The Celluloid Closet, straight critics found the film boring while gay critics, glad for any attention paid to the subject, praised it. Making Love opened strong at the box office its first week, but poor word of mouth led to a large drop-off in box office receipts the following week.

Of course the straight critics didn’t like it. Straight people can’t relate to gay films like this, and these reviews are living proof in black and white. It was one of the first gay films I’d ever seen, and one of the first gay love stories I’d ever seen as well. I loved it. I would even go so far as to say it gave me role models at a time when young gay men didn’t have any. As a side note, Hamlin was younger then and extremely attractive. Trust me, he’s aged very well. I think he’s just as hot today on “Shameless” as he was back then.

Review: River of Tears by Michele L. Montgomery

I’ve read and reviewed this author’s fiction a few times before on this blog, but in all cases, up until now, those books and stories have been M/M Romance. As a M/M Romance author Michele is clearly one of the straight women writing in the genre who really knows how to nail it and get it right. So when she sent me a pre-release copy of “River of Tears,” I was a little apprehensive about reading it because it wasn’t M/M Romance this time. If I had to classify RoT in a bookstore, I would probably put it on the Romantic Suspense section. It is mainstream, with straight main characters, and I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Authors hop genres all the time, but not all do it well.

In this case, I was nicely suprised. The one thing that is most difficult about writing a review for any of Michele’s books is that they are filled with suspense and surprises and I don’t want to give out any spoilers. In fact, while I’m reading, I sometimes think about how…or if…I’m going to review the book because every other page seems to bring a new surprise. So I will be careful here and I won’t give spoilers.

The central theme of the storyline revolves around Abby, a sweet young women, but just as strong and determined as she is sweet. Abby winds up falling in love with a guy, Caiden, who comes from one of the most insane families I think I have ever read about in my life. The mother-in-law, Joyce, pulls some of the worst things anyone in the history of time has ever pulled on a daughter-in-law. I sat there, with my e-reader, in the middle of the night just re-reading certain things to make sure I got them right.

The rest of the family isn’t much better either. There are siblings that make the worst families look tame. And the things they do to poor Caiden left me stunned. Also, throughout the book, Michele adds bits and pieces of back story that make them all even worse. The things that happened to Caiden alone in his childhood would make most detectives who deal with child abuse sick to their stomachs. But it’s done in a way that leaves you hoping for the best, not focusing on the doom and gloom.

And that’s because of Abby’s inner strength, a strength she often doesn’t even know she has herself. One thing leads to another, and Abby winds up on a quest…or mission…that consumes her entire life. She becomes determiend to save her life, her own family (she has three small kids), and will not stop until she gets answers. It’s been a long time since I’ve read about a character as strong or as tenacious as Abby. She does have support from her own family, which I found to be a nice relief in the book. I think she would have been strong enough to get her life back without all this support, but it was a nice touch to see the family dynamic there as well. I think most of us who are family oriented like these things in novels.

As a side note, the writing was excellent, the editing was articulate, and I didn’t see any of the mistakes I sometimes find in digital books. But even if there had been a few mistakes in formatting…which there weren’t…I would have liked the book just as much because of all the other elements that made it such a good read. The settings are places we would all love to visit someday. I like novels to take me away to different places and I think in this case, with so many serious topics happening, these wonderful settings provided a brief sense of relief at times. It showed me that Abby’s life isn’t all bad, and that she does have so much to fight for.

That’s about all I can do without giving out spoilers. Part of the fun with a book like this is to be suprised all the time. You won’t find a great deal of sex in this book, and yet at the same time I found Caiden both adorable and sexy even though there aren’t any sex scenes. He’s so vulerable and such a nice guy, you just want to protect him from all these vicious people in his life.

I would recommend this book to anyone without thinking twice. I read it in three sittings, very late at night, but I would have loved to have had a chance to read it on one sitting if I’d had the time.

Purchase link from publisher’s web site, here.

Photo of Harry Hamlin, found here.

Harvey Fierstein; "Smash;" Michele L. Montgomery "River of Tears"

I was once lucky enough to be in a book where Harvey Fierstein wrote a foreword. I posted about that here in 2009, and the title of the book was “Best Gay Love Stories 2010,” released through Alyson Publications. It was an ongoing anthology series about gay love and romance Alyson did for several years in a row. I think I was part of several but don’t recall the details right now.

In any event, It was a nice surprise to turn on the TV last night and see Harvey Fierstein in the new NBC TV show, “Smash.” I’m a huge fan and he’s going to be guest-starring all season. I started watching “Smash” by accident last year and wound up loving it. But like a lot of TV shows, I forgot all about it until I saw the title while I was flipping through channels last night. For those who don’t know, this is what “Smash” is all about, from Broadway World:

Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire – to be a Broadway star.

I’ve posted before about how I’m not the biggest fan of Broadway, or show songs. However, I think this show is different because it doesn’t focus on tired old Broadway shows like West Side Story that have been redone so many times in the past fifty or sixty years. “Smash” is also different because it’s more contemporary and there’s a mixture of characters from gay to straight. The songs won’t make you gag.

And unlike “Glee,” a show I honestly can’t even watch anymore with the fast forward button, the only trendy politics you’ll find in “Smash” has more to do with insider theater industry politics than all those politically correct storylines you’ll find in “Glee.” In other words, it’s not self-indulgent and the characters are likable.

For those who don’t know anything about Harvey Fierstein, shame on you, and here’s a wiki link. I’ve always thought of him more as a gay icon because of all the positive things he’s achieved so far in his life…during a time when it wasn’t easy to achieve these things if you were gay. I’ve also always thought he was one of the artists who revolutionized gay films and plays with “Torch Song Trilogy,” and not that person who wrote the flawed quasi gay romance story about broken backs and mountains in some awful place up in the middle of nowhereland. If you’ve never seen Torch Song, you might want to rent it and check it out. It was the very first play I ever saw where I realized that gay men can have lasting monogamous marriages, and it left a huge impact on me as a young gay man. I also had a good friend in New York who had a chance to invest in it and he didn’t.

Harvey Forbes Fierstein (born June 6, 1954) is an American actor and playwright, noted for the distinction of winning Tony Awards for both writing and originating the lead role in his long-running play Torch Song Trilogy, about a gay drag-performer and his quest for true love and family, as well as writing the award-winning book to the musical La Cage aux Folles. He has since become a champion for gay civil rights.
Michele L. Montgomery’s New Release with Silver Stream Press:
I’ve read and reviewed Michele’s gay romantic fiction before on this blog, and the one thing I’ve always found in her books is the element of surprise. Seriously. I can never predict what’s going to happen from one page to the next, and it’s almost impossible to write a review because I don’t want to give spoilers.
And now she has a book out with SP Silver Publishing titled, “River of Tears.”  I will be reading it and writing more about it in the future. As a side note, though I’ve never worked with Silver Publishing, I have read many of their books and I’ve always enjoyed them. It’s the overall feel of a publisher I like sometimes, and I’ve always thought Silver did things a little differently than others. And, once again, I never found them to be too political or self-indulgent. It’s all about the fiction.
From Silver’s Blog:

Michele L. Montgomery is an American writer of GLBT fiction. Her available works include Lethal Obsession: Tony & Ryan, Lethal Obsession: Caged, Lies of Omission, DAMMIT!, and X Bar. She wrote River of Tears, a work of Contemporary fiction.

Michele runs a review site called Top 2 Bottom Reviews. She lives in Colorado surrounded by the beautiful wonders of the mountains, her family, and her pets. Abby is a Golden Retriever, and Skyler is a Chesapeake Bay retriever who should have been named Linus because he drags a blanket around with him wherever he goes.

Michele has a very serious on-going relationship with her coffee pot, which keeps her company from the time she gets up until the time she goes to bed, and to fill in the gaps, she is obsessed with KitKats, Twix, and Haribo Gummy Bears.

Here’s a description of “River of Tears:”

River of Tears is about a woman’s struggle as she searches for her missing husband, which leads to shocking revelations about him, his family, and the crime of adult kidnapping.

Abby meets Caiden when she is sixteen years old at nineteen they marry and after seven years of marriage it ends. She is left alone with her children and the bloody clothes Caiden was last seen in.

Knowing her husband isn’t dead, Abby begins a search that takes her from Arizona to Arkansas and lasts for a span of eight years.

More determined than ever to locate her husband, before he’s killed, Abby hires a private investigator who opens the doors to Caiden’s private world of hell.

The release date will be February 16, 2013, and you can order it here. From what I’m gathering Silver Publishing is launching a new imprint, “Silver Stream Press,” where they will focus on fiction in various genres. You can also read more about Silver Publishing and Sliver Stream Press here.

"Dammit" by Michele L. Montgomery: Published by Seventh Windows Publications

Before I get into anything else, I’d like to state up front this is a hard review to write because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. But with “Dammit,” Michele Montgomery had me surprised by her characters and the plot almost every time I seemed to think I had them all nailed down. In fact, the title of the book is perfect in more ways than one. Every time something took me by surprise I kept thinking, “dammit she did it again. I didn’t see that one coming.”

The book opens with an airport scene. This always resonates with me because I absolutely despise air travel because of the horrible complications that go along with it these days. But after reading the scenes in this airport, and some of the things that happen to Michael before he boards the plane, I might rethink how I feel about air travel and take a short trip somewhere. This is where Michele really is a master at fantasy, in my opinion. I read this book late at night this past weekend. And from Friday night until Sunday night, Michele took me away into a world of “what if combined with intrigue” and I loved every minute of it. I’ve had an intense month. I needed that and loved every minute of the escape. In fact, I’ve posted many times about how much I love Anne Tyler books. Well, I bought the most recent Tyler book and put that on hold so I could read “Dammit” first. I’m glad I did. It put me in a better mood and helped changed my perspective about a few things that have been irritating me recently. And books that can to that don’t come along often.

The story revolves around Michael’s adventure, and his good-natured way of being there for others. It talks about his past and how hard he’s had to come back from some serious trauma most of us can only imagine in our worst nightmares. I liked him from the first page, and as I read more about him I started to like him even more. Without getting into spoilers (this is where it gets tricky and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience) he’s had a rough past with regard to his love life, and he’s still not completely over it nor is he ready to trust again. He’s also very sexy and not obnoxious about this either. There are more than a few airport scenes that leave the reader on the edge, with teases and erotic references that made me smile more than once.

In the airport, Michael meets another interesting character, Carly. She’s a little outrageous, she’s funny, and she’s not shy about anything. In fact, she’s fascinated by the fact that Michael is so shy. When Carly goes to the gift shop, another character is introduced: Cash. He’s strong, sexy, and just what Michael needs. But there’s more to his story, too. And the connection between Michael and Cash is much stronger than Michael thinks it is in the beginning.

As it turns out, Michael is on his way to Pittsburgh to help out his cousin who has been committed by his step-mother because he’s gay. There’s another storyline here that’s as emotional as Michael’s own back story (and another big surprise later), and Cash seems more than interested in listening to everything Michael has to say. When they arrive in Pittsburgh, the sex scenes are as intense and emotional as the story and they add a layer of reality to the book that’s done very well. The way each character and sex scene is handled in the book gives an authenticity that’s hard to describe. The best way I could describe it is that I’ve been in situations like that, as a gay man, more than once and everything I read regarding the sex scenes could have happened to any gay man in real life. In other words, I didn’t have that “Oh no, she didn’t do that,” moment during the sex scenes. I had that “Yes, she got that right” moment instead.

And the emotion was there, too. I’ve written about other books by Michele Montgomery and I’ve mentioned this before. It’s one reason why I look forward to reading her work. The sex isn’t just there for the sake of sex and yet the voice is strong. There’s always some kind of a bond between her characters. And it’s all executed in a way that keeps the story moving forward and the reader waiting to see what’s going to happen next.

As I said earlier, there’s a lot of intrigue in this book I didn’t expect to see. It happens in a way that hits hard at times and to get into detail about this would ruin the book for other people. Let’s just say that nothing is as it appears to be when it’s first introduced. And as the characters arc and grow in different ways throughout the book the reader is in for more than a few shocks he/she didn’t see coming. For this alone, I would recommend this book to anyone.

As a side note, “Dammit” is well written, in Michele’s own style that I love. And as far as quality goes, I saw nothing to complain about. This e-book is just as well produced as any e-book from any large publisher I’ve read in the past year…in some cases it’s even better. The book was published by Seventh Window Publications and I don’t know much about them. But you can get there from here to check out their web site. And I will be checking out more books by them in the future. This prices look good, the covers look good, and it seems to be a simple site to navigate. I’m also hoping they publish more with Michele. She’s an author who loves what she does and it shines through in her work.

Dammit! by Michele L. Montgomery

I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while. It’s about Michele L. Montgomery, an author I admire.

She has a new book out and that’s really all you need to know. Though I haven’t read this book yet, I will. I have read other books by Michele and I’ve rated them on goodreads and loved them.

When I say I admire Michele, this covers a lot of ground. Most of all it’s her work I love. And then there are the little things. When I run into her on social media, she’s always doing something nice and it’s always positive. I always get the feeling the Michele I see online is the same Michele I’d meet in person if I ever get out to Denver. This, I might add, comes through in her work, too.

If you like reading gay fiction, please take the time to check out her work, especially the new release.

Here’s a link to Amazon. A link to another post about her. And below is the blurb to “Dammit.”

Escaping the past isn’t easy, especially when the scars left behind are a constant reminder that trust and love can hurt.

Michael McKnight knows what it means to be on the run from memories. Years ago, after fleeing an abusive relationship, he was brutally stabbed and left for dead. His only savior had been a compassionate stranger he’d only gotten a glimpse of before slipping into the blackness that claimed him.

For Michael, recovery was an arduous and hard fought return to some semblance of normalcy. He rebuilds his life, spending his waking hours buried in work and fighting to forget the past. And his life seems to be going well until he finds out that his cousin Wayne is being held captive in a mental asylum for being gay. So he buys a plane ticket and flies out to rescue his cousin.

But the weather is against Michael, keeping him grounded and talking to a man who claims that he’d once saved his life and is willing to help him rescue his cousin. Can this man be for real or is something more sinister in the works?

Lies of Omission: Who Said There Isn’t Enough Emotion in Erotic Romance?

Those who read my blog know I rarely ever review books. But once in a while I do comment about a book I’ve read, even though it’s not a formal review. And the reason why I’m commenting about this book, LIES OF OMISSION, is mainly because I read a comment the other day on a well known romance blog where the person writing the post said she couldn’t find enough “emotion” in erotic romance, and then went on to say most of the erotic romances she’d read were not well written.

Well, this dear romance blogger should pick up a copy of LIES OF OMISSION, by Michele L. Montgomery. Because this book is filled with emotion beyond what I expected. And the mc, Trenton, is one of the most emotionally charged characters I’ve read in a long, long time. I’ve read other books by Michele before (Tony and Ryan), and I’ve enjoyed them. But I liked this one in particular because of all the emotion…not to mention the modern romance quality. And, it’s very well-written.