Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Bear's Take on the Best of M/M and Why the Genre Grows

A Bear’s Take on Why M/M Grew in 2011

Simple.  The quality of the books just keeps improving, and there are AMAZING writers in the genre who know how to captivate, enthrall, touch and, most of all, entertain us.  That being said, I came up with 25 reasons 2011 rocked, and why I am looking so forward to 2012.  In alphabetical order:

1.  Woke Up In A Strange Place by Eric Arvin.  I am not sure anything touched me more than did this powerfully simple book about death, forgiveness and TRULY happily ever after.

2.  The Incident by Xavier Axelson.  Cop in danger of sliding under the waves into the darkness, finds an unexpected chance at love.  Great writing and great characters.

3.  Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke by Connie Bailey.  This book took six children, kidnapped at a young age, inducted into a brutal secret society and wove a touching love story.  So well done.

4.  Nothing Ever Happens by Sue Brown.  Nobody can tell the story of denied love like Sue.  And then to have a second chance.  Just so damn good.

5.  Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington.  Beautiful story about recovering from abuse, finding love and making sacrifices.  Not nearly long enough!

6.  In From the Cold by Mercy Celeste.  There were moments of quiet wonder mixed in with unbearable tension in this fantastic book.  My hands clenched and my neck ached by the time this book ended.

7.  Maybe with a Chance of Certainty by John Goode.  Very few writers understand what it’s like to be a young gay man.  John does.  The sequel, The End of the Beginning, is just as wonderful.

8.  Simple Gifts by L.B. Gregg.  Two broken men reunite after one night together ten years before.  Then must part again to heal.  The story is so hopeful.  Origami in prose.

9.  Ty Hard by Laura Harner.  Cowboys.  Hurt and damaged men.  Suspense.  Damn, Laura knows how to put a story together.

10.  Of Wolves and Men by G A Hauser.  Fascinating new take on shape shifters and voodoo.  Cowboys, federal agents.  Fantastic. And The Order of Wolves, the sequel, explains so much more.  

11.  When Love is Not Enough by Wade Kelly.  A suicide.  His best friend and his lover, who have never met, come together in their pain and discover his secrets.  And maybe love.  So intimate and powerful

12.  Blood Howl by Alex Kidwell and Robin Saxon.  Funny, gritty and altogether hot take on shifters.  The characters are so skillfully drawn – made me fall in love with both guys.

13.  Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune.  Boy forced to be a man too soon, falls for his best friend’s older brother.  But boy isn’t gay.  Is he?  Skillfully drawn and unforgettable characters.  Best of the year.

14.  Living Promises by Amy Lane.  Jeff is everybody’s uncle, taking care of the family he has struggled to put together for himself.  But he deserves love too, and Colin might make him see it.

15.  Boots by Angel Martinez.  Take a fairy tale and spice it up with male on male (well, demon) fun and you have a fun, original work that delights and touches..

16.  Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield.  Man meets man in 1950s California.  Secrets abound, and can be deadly  Tense, slow building and so damn satisfying. 

17.  Quinn’s Need by SJD Peterson.  Continues Lorcan’s Desire and shows us four men, all strong and all with flaws.  Sometimes love means letting go and sometimes it means waiting.

18.  Caregiver by Rick Reed.  AIDS in the 90s and how we all dealt with it.  And how love can bloom amidst tragedy.  Rick has taken a very hard time for us and shown us the hope.

19.  Ink by Isabelle Rowan.  Tattoo artist falls in love with vampire.  But Isabelle brings humanity to the characters, and shows us it Is never too late for love, forgiveness, and hope.

20.  Maroon: Dugal agus Jimmy by PD Singer.  Leonardo was not the only man to find love against the backdrop of the Titanic.  So shyly and boldly done.

21.  Visible Friend by K.Z. Snow.  A child’s imaginary friend come to life.  Love story like you haven’t seen before.  So touching, and with an epilogue that will leave you in tears.

22.  Hot Head by Damon Suede.  Firemen.  Best Friends.  Love.  This funny, thoughtful and very satisfying story was so good.  The 9/11 towers falling analogy is heartbreaking.

23.  To Adam with Love by Adrienne Wilder.  Harsh world of dragons who take the form of men, half breeds and what keeps up human.  The next in the series, Worth, shows abuse and hope hand in hand.

24.  Unshakeable Faith by Lisa Worrell.  Amnesia victim finds his soul mate.  Then gets his memory back and finds he really is a cold prick.  Lisa shows a light hand and a romantic heart and tells us love matters and will find a way.

25.  Candy G by Carol Zampa.  Cop trying to take down a gangster falls in love with his ex-lawyer.  Carol has such a romantic voice, and it makes her story shine.

So if you haven’t given these artists a chance, do!  And if you have suggestions for books you would like to see featured on my blog, please let me know.



  1. And I would like to add reason number 26...

    Captive Lover by Patricia Logan. Nobody can take such a creepy subject (pedophilia), create such a slimy villain and keep me glued to the pages!

  2. Squeeeeee - thank you Tombear - I'm honored to be part of such a list :)

  3. Wow, have very nearly left me speechless. I am honored to be included with this fine list of authors and books. Thank you,

  4. Of all the titles I published in 2011, Xavier Axelson's The Incident was my favorite. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Thank you so much, man! Deeply honored to be included with these insanely talented people! :)

  6. Thanks, all. You are all talented and wonderful people. And Ken, THANK YOU for publishing Mr. Axelson's work. I loved it.


  7. Some wonderful books there Tom! :D

  8. Totally agree with your list, Tom! Read them all and loved them all!


  9. I haven't read all these yet! What am I waiting for? And thanks for including me in the group.

  10. Super list, Tom. So many excellent recommendations. Thank you.

  11. Aww thanks Tom, you are WAY too nice to put me on this list.

  12. I hope to make your list one day soon. Great picks.

  13. So many books I haven't read yet. I need more time in a day. Wonderful list.

  14. Tom, somehow I missed it when you first posted this list, but thank you so much for including Amor Prohibido. :)