on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Tag Archives: 2013 Love Has No Boundaries

Pura Vida - Sara AlvaTitle: Pura Vida
Author: Sara Alva
Publisher: Self Published (m/m Goodreads Romance Group)
Length: 25,400 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: 2013 Love Has No Boundaries story, Free, Short Stories, New Adult, On Vacation, Diverse Pairing, Costa Rica, Second Chances, at the Beach, College, Summer Break
Rating: Really Liked It


Simon has found himself in an open relationship for the summer—though not by choice. Instead of wallowing, he’s decided to make the most of a family vacation to Costa Rica by hooking up with the first hot guy available. Trouble is, he has no clue how to go about doing that.

Luckily, he runs into someone with a little more experience. But when the moments of lust turn into something more, Simon isn’t so sure he’ll be able to return to his old relationship. And there’s no way to hold onto this new one, either, as thousands of miles will separate them in only a few short weeks. Either way, he’ll have to learn to let go.


I’m really happy that Sara Alva asked me to specifically review this short story of hers. Many of you will have read it, I know, because it’s a free short from the m/m Goodreads Romance Group’s LHNB event. I usually keep up a little better with the stories than I have this year and I also try to do a couple mass reviews of some of my favorites. But, I’ve really missed most of them, just because there have been too many new releases this summer! And way too many of them that I’ve wanted to review 🙂 Thankfully, Sara did ask me to review this one and I’m really glad she did because it was so cute and a real joy to read.

Simon is with his father, mother and sister on vacation in Costa Rica where his father is in development of vacation homes. It’s the few weeks after finals just at the start of the summer and Simon is in a bit of a quandary. His boyfriend back at college, Leo, has pretty much parted his company without much fanfare, giving Simon a “let’s see what happens over the summer” goodbye that pretty much means he just wants to fuck whomever he likes until Simon is back to be his bedwarmer throughout the year. Leo is a little bit cruel, but even if he isn’t what Simon really wants, he’s what he’s got and Simon figures that he shouldn’t give up on a solid thing himself.

What better for him to do than try to find a summer fling himself? At least so that he doesn’t go back to Leo having pined for him all summer. But Simon doesn’t really know how to go about catching someone’s eye. There are a lot of cute guys at the beach of their resort and it seems so easy for his sister Alyssa to catch a cute guy. It isn’t until he stumbles up on the local migration of sea turtles hatching on the beach at night that he meets Juan.

Juan is a local that doesn’t show much faith in another American tourist at first, especially when the two get off to such an inauspicious start. But Simon rallies and when he actually shows interest in the turtles, Juan invites him to help with his nightly duties. It doesn’t take them long to find a chemistry between them, but even if Simon did start to have feelings for Juan, there’s no chance of anything happening when he lives thousands of miles away.

This is such a perfect and sweet vacation fling story and this author does it in a way that sets it apart. There’s no easy out that things could continue in the future, that one could stay or the other could follow at the end of their fling. There are real differences between them. But we get to that point by getting to know the two of them in all of their awkwardness and by doing so their relationship has heart where other stories with a similar premise might not. And that’s because there are such differences between them. Juan is a local who has had only too many opportunities to get to know different kinds of people, but so many of them through the facade of the resort, bringing him into contact with a type of person that he can’t understand might not be rich or spoiled. He’s someone who has to work hard for what he has, battle his own family against his sexuality, and then battle the people he comes in contact with every summer to be seen as more than a stupid village boy. Though they come from different worlds, Simon is different. He can’t seem to make himself believe that their fling could be no-strings attached. He just doesn’t know how. And part of that is because he’s the type of person who would find interest in the beauty of the turtles and understand the beauty in what Juan sees everyday.

I don’t know Sara Alva well. And this is the first work of hers that I’ve read — no matter how many times I’ve remembered how much I want to read Social Skills. But, I can see from reading this story that she’s someone who really cares about what she writes and that she writes because she loves it. I’m not an author, but I can understand that. I want to read Social Skills now more than ever, because I feel into her prose and it was so easy and comforting to get lost in. I’m excited to see what to make of a longer story. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had so many people tell me to read it by now 😉

If you missed this one in all the crush of the free stories this summer, then definitely go get it. It’s sweet and heartfelt and you’ll probably find a new author that you like.

Sorry this post is so long guys! There was just so much I had to tell you! Please, feel free to skip around. I’d be so happy and surprised if anyone actually made it through everything LOL. Even though I can’t link these to send you right to the spot you want in the post (damn WordPress.com), for the sake of laziness, here’s a List of Contents:

Hello to another week!
Last Week’s Reviews
What’s Up This Week
Dominique Frost Visits!
My Birthday Post — Baking Cakes!
Love Has No Boundaries reviews
This Week’s Reviews
Laura’s New Blog!
Blog Updates
Coming Soon!
This Week’s Releases I Like
Lou Harper Week! (June 22-28)
Announcement! Next Author Week Profile

Look at all that GORGEOUS hair! -- Found at and Linked To Tam's Tumblr

Look at all that GORGEOUS hair! — Found at and Linked To Tam’s Tumblr

Well, how has everyone been this week? TAR is in a bit of a flux — besides this being a busy month as TAR’s one year anniversary, we’re in the downtime between two big events. Kate McMurray Week went off really well. I really loved reading all of Kate’s books that I hadn’t before and the interview was fun for both of us. She’s a really great lady! Next up is Lou Harper Week, starting on June 22. I’ve read about 75% of her backlist now (much more prepared than I was for Kate’s!) and I’m really enjoying sharing my reviews with you. Lou is a rather new author for me, or at least one of those authors I’ve always known of but still hadn’t read anything by. So many of her books have made me laugh!

Otherwise, not a whole hell of a lot has been going on. Summer has firmly settled in here and we’ve been riding daily highs around the 100 degree mark. It had to come sometime, but the heat is almost unbearable to me. I even get sick when it gets around 100-105 (though we’ve been known to have days up to 115-120!). I get dizzy and sick to my stomach and I start feeling shivery. All are symptoms of heat sickness, if not worse going further into heat stroke.

One of these days I’ll never have to spend a summer in Oklahoma again…

Well, I’ll get to the updates, announcements, and info about this week. I hope everyone has a good one!

This Week’s Wrapup

Here are last week’s reviews:

My Reviews

Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding (Coda #7) by Marie Sexton – Really Liked It
Cairo Curse (Vampire’s Lair #2) by Geoffrey Knight – Pretty Good
Bully for You (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Catt Ford – Really Liked It
Herbal Remedy by Megan Derr – Pretty Good
Beach Remedy by Sasha L Miller – Pretty Good
Tats of Honor by Vona Logan – Not Feelin’ It
Finding Master Right by LA Witt – Pretty Good

Nikyta’s Reviews

A Shot at Forgiveness (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Cardeno C – Pretty Good
Running Away from Sunshine (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Gwynn Marssen – So So
Riding the Board (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Cate Ashwood – Really Liked It
Outcast by Alex Douglas – Pretty Good

Coming Up This Week – June 16-22

theartoftouchDominique Frost is stopping by on Tuesday the 18th as part of the Big Gay Wedding Tour to talk about her new release (on that day) from Loose Id, The Bitter Rednesses of Love. That is such a great title! **The cover on the left is from a previous novel by this author. Loose Id hasn’t release the cover pic for Bitter… yet.


Gina A Rogers was really sweet to offer us an ebook to give away tomorrow with Sadonna’s review of Say Everything. Part of MLR’s Mixtape releases, these stories will take you back in time 🙂 The 80s! Be sure to visit tomorrow to comment for a win of this short story. The offer closes on Friday, June 21, so get in there early so you don’t miss your chance!

Open Giveaways! The giveaway of the two Paranormal Days stories by Megan Derr and Sasha L Miller, Beach Remedy and Herbal Remedy, is open until Tuesday, June 18. And be sure to check out Sasha’s guest post if you missed it — her interesting take on writing vampires 🙂 Comment there to win.

cakebluebdayThursday, June 20th is my birthday 🙂 I have a special post for you that day, which is my recipe for a perfect white cake and it’s what I make for birthdays (including my own!) every year. While I love it just as it is, it is rather a plain cake (though no cake of mine is plain!). Let’s just say that it’s a really good base recipe. It’s my Perfect Cake and you can customize it in a million ways. Trust me, you need this recipe. Because not only is it different from every other white cake I’ve made (in taste, texture, and technique), but you can make it into any cake you want with just a little improvisation and your favorite flavors.

LHNB-ImageAnd last, Saturday is going to be my first “Best of Love Has No Boundaries” review post, where I review a few of my favorites of the stories already posted in the Goodread’s M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries event. I’m really looking forward to this, but choosing just a few from the tons of really good stories that have been posted so far is going to be difficult! But.. it’s a challenge I’m totally ready for 😉

Here is what we’re planning to review this week:



The Tipsy Bibliophile pic:screenshotEveryone, please follow The Tipsy Bibliophile! My good friend, Laura (at Goodreads: Lauraadriana), one of the ladies (with Laddie) at The LL’s Word has opened her own/solo WordPress blog. Her reviews are wonderful and her first (of Harper Fox’s new Brothers of the Wild North Sea) as The Tipsy Reader is up 🙂 I guarantee you’ll enjoy her reviews!

She might just poach all of you loyal readers from me 😦

Ha! … loyal readers… :-\

blog_updateIn blog update news: I’m still planning on moving the blog… eventually… if I can ever figure out how to do it and have some time. But, while I’m waiting and figuring all of that out, I’m trying to make TAR’s current home a bit more hospitable.

First up, I’m finishing creating the tabs and drop-down menu at the top of the screen. In particular, I’m first organizing the reviews so that you can browse instead of having to use the search bar to find a past review. Right now, I’ve finished the Author Name page, which you can find through this link, or by hovering over the Reviews link at the top of your page and then clicking on Author Name (the drop down menu if you hover on Author Name gives you a list to search by last names in groups, i.e. “Authors A-C”). The Author Name page gives you a list of all the authors that have been reviewed or guest posted on The Armchair Reader since it’s inception a year ago and links to every post they’re tagged in. It is also alphabetized by their last name first, which I always find is easier, because last names of authors tend to stick in my mind better 🙂

Next up, I’ll be updating the browsing options by publisher, major genres and events.

Coming Soon!

This week’s releases I’m excited about:


deadmanrestlessspiritsLou Harper Week is next week (June 22-28)! I’ll be interviewing Lou and reviewing her whole backlist, which has been fun, I tell you. I love her writing. I’m also reviewing her new book, coming out next week (June 25), called Dead Man and the Restless Spirits, about Denton, the secondary character from Spirit Sanguine that has a thing for Gabe and can see ghosts. It’s a good read, so make sure to check it out, regardless whether you have read Spirit Sanguine or not — it stands on it’s own very well.


Click the Cover to read this AMAZING book!

And, I’m ready to announce the next author I’ve chosen to profile — Kaje Harper!! Kaje has agreed and offered to participate in an interview. No firm dates have been chosen, but it will most likely be around the turn of August to September, around the time of the projected release of the eagerly awaited fourth Life Lessons book, Learning Curve.

deepinthecountparkerTitle: Deep in the Count
Author: Madison Parker
Publisher: M/M Goodreads Group
Length: 16k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: 2013 Love Has No Boundaries event, Free Reads, Short Story, Baseball, Sports, Nerds/Geeks, Nerds/Jocks trope, College, Tutor, Strip Studying!, Cryptology
Rating: Really Liked It!

**Note: This story is not yet available in the 2013 Love Has No Boundaries even by the M/M Romance Goodreads Group. No specific date yet, but will be available sometime in the next 2 months.


Brandon plays baseball for Virginia Tech. Although his coach is confident he has a successful career ahead of him, Brandon’s not so sure. What if he doesn’t make it? What will he have to fall back on? He wishes he were smarter. He looks at his friend’s roommate and thinks he’d give anything for that confidence and those brains. Because brains and confidence? That’s sexy! If only he could get Corey to notice him. He needs to find a way to appeal to Corey’s inner geek.

Corey’s degree program and academic standing are sure to land him a good job in his chosen career field: cryptology. Those popular kids? They think that because he’s a “geek” he’s missing out on life, but they’re wrong. He’s got his eye on the prize and doesn’t need the distractions of a social life. So why is he having such a hard time ignoring his roommate’s flirty friend?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.


This story is not yet available, just so you know. But, seeing it already on Goodreads meant that I just couldn’t wait! So, Madison sent me a copy and let me know I could post it whenever I wanted, since we don’t yet know when it will be posted. And this is me really, really, really hoping that it’s posted soon because it’s such a cute, sweet, happy story that I want to share my reading experience with all of you!

This Jock/Nerd college story doesn’t rely on the typical trope. The prompt that started this story specifically asked for a different take on that trope, so what we get in this story is a jock that doesn’t really like his own popularity and a nerd that doesn’t want or need any of his own. Corey relies on his own genius to move him further in life. To him, college isn’t a chance to party, but to make connections and actually learn. He’s a student of mathematics, but really loves cryptology. Brandon is the star pitcher of the college’s baseball team, but has always been uncomfortable of the popularity that and his looks give him. He’s out and no one cares, but getting a date is a different thing altogether. Most people expect him to want to date another gay athlete at the school, someone like him, but Brandon has always been attracted to men smaller and smarter than him.

When Brandon finds out that his best friend’s roommate is gay, he’s curious to know more from his friend. Just seeing Corey’s side of the dorm room gives him some ideas — a worn Rubik’s Cube, posters of Battlestar Galactica, and little armies of figures in their precise places. Corey is obviously a nerd, something that his roommate and Brandon’s friend continues to tell him. So when Brandon finally faces the fact that he’ll fail his statistics class without tutoring, he’s surprised that the cute guy who helps him is Corey. He’s cute, really smart, and just happens to say no to Brandon every time he asks him out.

The continued rebuttals force Brandon to get creative, but at the same time Corey is succumbing to pressure from his best friend to get out of his room, take some time off from his work and flirt with a guy. Brandon just happens to be cute and already interested in him…

Sorry for going on so long there. The prompt for this story is really why the story is so wonderful. That and the fact that Madison Parker is really talented at putting together cute/feel-good stories. But the prompt that wanted, specifically, a story with a Jock/Nerd trope turned on it’s head is what makes this story unique and special. Throughout the story, when we’d normally expect the jock to have all the power while wooing the pants of the nerd (literally), we have Corey holding the reins. Brandon has shown his interest in him countless times and seems like he’ll try to do anything to get Corey to recognize him in a romantic way and to make time for him among his math and cryptology work. But Corey already has firm goals placed in mind and is halfway to completing them. College for him is about forging the path to his future career, and he’s got both feet placed firmly on that path. A romantic distraction is not something that he needs, or wants; there will always be time for a boyfriend later, when he’s more established. So instead of what we expected form this trope, we have a nerd with all the power! Woo!

Madison has a lot of fun with codes and making codes in this story. Not only is it a GREAT way for Brandon to woo Corey, it’s also fun for us because we’re told a lot about different codes and how they’re encrypted. And in the end (this isn’t a spoiler!), the story ends with a code that we’re left to solve ourselves. I had a lot of fun with that. Madison talks all about the story and ciphers on her blog, which you should definitely check out. She even explains a basic keyword shift and gives us a message to decipher.

It’s good practice before reading the story!