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

Tag Archives: Anne Tenino

sweetyoungthangTitle: Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3)
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 108,400 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Series, College, Fraternities/Frat Boys, May/December, Firefighter Paramedic, Family Issues, Closeted, Coming Out, Sexy to the 9999999s!, Past Couples’ Cameo, Mystery, Homophobia
Rating: LOVED It!


When Plan A fails, turn to Man A.

Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual students. Persuading his Uncle Monty, president of the TAG Alumni Association, that the open approach won’t adversely affect TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step toward coming out. As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by graduation.

Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.

Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.


Well, Anne, you’ve made me do it again. Every time I pick up one of your (long-awaited) books I find myself even more in love than before. I think this time around I really fell in love with this book, simply because it had so many different qualities to love and pinged on so many different emotions from so many different characters. And, it was touching. Anne takes us satisfactorily deep into Collin and then allows us to experience the moments of clarity and insight as he feels them and deals with them.

In this third installment of the Theta Alpha Gamma series, we head back once again to the fraternity that first saw an open gay student with Brad in Frat Boy and Toppy. We meet Collin briefly (if I can remember correctly) as Brad’s friend who gives him a pretty big failure of a blowjob, one that acts as somewhat of a catalyst in Brad and Sebastian’s relationship.

In Sweet Young Thang we see that experience from Collin’s perspective. He is…/was? Brad’s best friend but not out himself. He did a pretty good job of pretending to be straight before that, but now he has a good circle of friends at the college that are all gay men. He’s the Alumni Liaison for TAG, a position secured for him by his Uncle Monty, the President of the Alumni Association with a heavy hand in current TAG politics — the biggest of which is the recent change in policy that says that Theta Alpha Gamma now accepts gay students. Of course, it always did, but it was more of a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell kind of situation. Brad changed all that. Collin convinced his Uncle Monty to support him in his lobbying to change the policy and in return promises him that there will be no repercussions from those who might be unhappy about the change.

All of that is blown out of the water when someone plants a bomb and sets the TAG house on fire. A frat brother is injured and the house is totally a lost cause. And Uncle Monty starts putting on the pressure to change the policy back. But part of Collin’s reasons for lobbying the change so hard were to see his Uncle’s reactions in the first place. His whole life has been planned out by his uncle, his prep school, college, classes and degree, including his position in the family olive oil import business after graduation. It isn’t until he meets sexy paramedic Eric (who has his own secret history with Uncle Monty), an alum of TAG himself in the bomb fiasco that Collin starts to feel like he finally has someone in his corner. But their relationship is picking up quick and heavy and the pressure from all directions in his life is starting to get to Collin.

This is quite a long novel, but it really doesn’t seem like it because it’s really jam packed with action and a super quick pace. The only real downtime in the story are the times alone with Collin and Eric, which thankfully are a fair few. Normally, I would probably prefer the story to be less sex heavy and more plot-centric, but Anne Tenino knows how to write sex and intimacy together, while keeping the relationship moving forward and the sex important to plot. And that’s all while making it some of the hottest sex I’ve read this year! Whew, Eric and Collin have a serious connection from the moment they meet and it really shows throughout the book, slowly translating from lust into something real. Even though it’s made known several times throughout the book how fast their relationship is moving (a week total over the whole book) this NEVER felt like insta-love. It isn’t about the overall time that the couple has in getting to know one another, but about how they spend that time. Eric and Collin go through a lot together and each step along the way they communicate those changes between them, so that you can see them growing together.

All i can really do is urge you to read this book yourself. I know that this book will have a fair few amount of fans excited to read it already, because of the popularity of the series previously. But all I can really say is that I feel like this series gets better and better with each book, and while your preferences for the plot of each will change how you feel about each book (they’re all fairly different), I think that Anne’s writing has grown in leaps and bounds since Frat Boy…. There are so many great things about this book, a kick ass opening chapter which really introduces us to Eric well and some absolutely pure hilarity from the frat boys:

“Big mistake the Alunmi Association made. You should never threaten a fat boy’s beer.”


“Danny,” Collin snapped. “Whenever sensitivity is called for in the future, I think you shoal ask yourself, ‘What would Tim Gunn do?'”

This moment between Collin and Eric pulled it all together for me:

“Did you feel ashamed?”
Collin felt as if Eric had just dropped his full weight on his chest, denting in his ribcage and making it harder for his lungs to expand.
Eric kissed his other palm.
“Shit. Maybe. Why would I feel ashamed?”
“I don’t know. For not being what your — what people wanted you to be.”
Oh God, now he felt nauseous. “That’s so unfair.”
Eric smiled sadly. “It’s unfair that you felt that way?”
Collin swallowed, nodding…

I admit I did wonder a few times if Collin ever went to class! Of course, that doesn’t matter, but it does illustrate the enormous pressure I felt for him. Collin has everything bombarding him at once with enormous pressure on him to hold the weight, to deal with it, to figure it out for everyone else. I really felt for him. And it made his time with Eric and their marathon sex chapters not just an expected byproduct of a romance novel, but needed as de-stressing time for him.

So, yes, I definitely recommend this one. I know a lot of you will be reading it anyway, so I’d love to know what you think. Please leave me comments!

TooStupidToLive_600x900Title: Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1 / Whitetail Rock #3)
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 80,500 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance, Rom Com
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Series, Alpha Men, Coming Out, College, a bit of BDSM (small bondage scene), Firemen
Rating: Really Liked It!


It isn’t true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?


I’ve been excited to read this one for a while now 😉 Okay, not only because I love Anne and her books, or because I really liked Whitetail Rock and The Fix, but mostly because I loved Sam so much in those stories and couldn’t wait to see him get his own HEA. And come on, a character who is admittedly secretly in love with romance novels having his own book called “Too Stupid to Live”? That’s gotta be awesome!

We first met Sam in Whitetail Rock with his best friend Nik. Compared to Nik, Sam is always seen as the tall, gangly, awkward one. Too skinny. Too underweight. When Nik finds Jurgen, Sam despairs of ever finding someone for himself, and adamantly refuses to believe that anyone as hot or as in demand as Jurgen would give him the time of day. He’s enamored of Ian when he meets him playing rugby with a bunch of other hot shirtless men. He thinks he looks like his very own Highlander and for the first time risks the chance and asks him out — only to be thoroughly shot down. Ian wonders about Sam too, and not only feels kinda bad about how he shot him down but also can’t stop thinking about him, wondering if he made a mistake. Ian has been trying to change recently, after a horrible accident while fighting a fire and then later getting out from under the thumb of the chief, his conservative father. He’s a renowned rake of the modern sort, and even though Sam might swoon at the thought of reforming him, the real-life possibility of a rather sensitive and vulnerable Sam not getting thoroughly heartbroken looks impossible.

When the two realize just what a small world it is (Ian is Jurgen’s cousin, FYI) and are thrown together at a party thrown by Nik, Sam decides to take his chances under Ian’s forceful seduction. He just promises himself he’ll try to remember that Ian isn’t anyone’s idea of a perfect husband.

In many ways this is a classic contemporary romance, albeit approached from a unique angle. While we often seem to have a romance writer as a main character, here we’re presented with a story that at least half of the time is told by Sam, an admitted romance reader and a writer himself. He’s in a unique position to critique “The Romance Novel”, and that experience in how a story is put together comes across in his critique of his own life.

And that’s when it hit Sam. If Ian was a TGH [Tortured, Gothic Hero], that made Sam…

Too Stupid to Live.

Sam closed his eyes in resignation. He was TSTL. Stupid enough to investigate the locked fourth story of the manor house, where the human screams originated; stupid enough to run out onto the moors at night to find the howling wolves. Stupid enough to want to suck Ian’s cock again. And the whole time, he’d be thinking he could somehow further the plot via his stupidity.


The thing was, whatever had happened between him and Ian was certainly fraught with internal conflict, because all romances — okay, romance novels — had some kind of conflict, and if it wasn’t external it had to be internal. Since Ian wasn’t saving Sam from international drug-smuggling terrorists, and he wasn’t the captain of an enemy starship that had captured Sam in battle (ugh, revenge sex), their plotting — his and Ian’s — had to center on internal conflict.

AKA emotional conflict.

Obviously, if an outside observer had to guess which of them had the more serious emotional conflict, they’d pick Ian. Sam wasn’t the one who didn’t even know what constituted a relationship. By default, that made Ian the screwed-up one, right?

Aside from his own charm, that connection to the reader makes the story immediately engaging. We can understand and empathize with Sam with his life because of the language he uses to explore it. He’s the first person to admit that he’s become TSTL and his fantasies are ones that we have as well, or at least know of — “Reformed rakes make the best husbands.” (I love that one).

While it might be unfair for me to compare this (as a novel) to the first two stories because of the length and time to explore this relationship, I did like it more than those. Nik and Jurgen make an appropriate presence in the story without relying on them to carry the story. And Too Stupid to Live carries on in a similar vein as those stories in similar plot, characters, style and tone. The first two stories were incredibly hot, and this novel was as well. Much of the relationship between Sam and Ian is physical (at least up front, and for the first half of the novel). They’ve created a carefully constructed fabrication over their true relationship to continue the lie that it isn’t a real relationship at all, and to do that they rely heavily on sex. For me, it carried the story and I didn’t feel the need for more, because it is actually there. The sex scenes are constructed with a careful eye to move the plot forward and subsequently, the relationship.

Fans of Anne Tenino will definitely like this story. Ian is every bit the roguish character he’s made out to be and is sometimes difficult to warm to (so are Sam’s decisions regarding him). But, those choices are balanced well with real feeling and the lens through which the story is structured (The Romance Novel) bridges the gap between them.

Definitely recommended! And I look forward to the next 🙂

Hello Everyone! I want to welcome the lovely Anne Tenino to TAR today! I became a fan of Anne’s work later than most (I think) when I read Frat Boy and Toppy, her first work published by Riptide. I didn’t end up reading her Whitetail Rock shorts until just this month in excitement and preparation for this release, but I adored those as well.

Anne and I met at GayRomLit last year, in Albuquerque. We didn’t know each other personally, though I admired her work. And somehow, don’t ask me (no REALLY don’t), we ended up talking for hours over drinks one night (along with the awesome EM Lynley) in the Hard Rock Casino. I learned that not only is the completely cute and huggable, but just how much we have in common, including fiber crafts. Many of you know about her crocheted phalluses by now ;), and I’m sure some of you are stopping by here to possibly win one. So, after you’ve read the post (because it’s a good one!), make sure you carefully read how to enter at the bottom of this post.

I won’t keep you any longer — Here’s Anne’s story about how they made the perfect cover for Too Stupid to Live:

Welcome to the Too Stupid to Live Blog Tour!

Normally, I’d be throwing confetti around (as in my last couple of blog tours) but this time I decided to go bigger—I’m giving away original artwork. For those of you not familiar with my male genital sculptures (that makes them sound so respectable, doesn’t it?), I’ll direct you here to my website, where I’m showcasing the ones I’ve made in the past, and the ones I’m giving away for this blog tour. For those of you dying to win, the details are at the bottom of this post (but really, it’s only polite to read the post first, right?).

On that note, I’ll stop the intro stuff and get on with it.

Let me tell you a story. Well, a different one than the one I’m telling you in Too Stupid to Live, about the trials and tribulations of Ian and Sam. The story I’ll tell you in this blog post is much shorter, and it’s about the cover for TSTL.

First, you need to know that the original release date for TSTL was set for late 2012, but we ran into difficulties with that. By the time it seemed best to push the date back, L.C. Chase had already begun working on the cover art in order to make the publication date for a print advertisement. I had pretty specific ideas about how Sam should look — he’s a geeky guy, and I didn’t want him to get all sexified just to be on the cover of a book. Fortunately, Riptide Publishing likes its authors to be pleased with their covers.

To make sure L.C. understood the type of guy I wanted, I went out and found me a Sam on a stock photo site. Here, as a matter of fact. You don’t have to follow the link — I’m going to show you the cover with him on it.

Image 1

After much back and forth, L.C. and I came up with a cover we both liked. It took a bit. We had Sam, but no Ian, and it kind of seemed we needed an Ian. The first image here is earlier in the process, without Ian. The second image is the one with both Sam and Ian.

Image 2

So yay! We had a cover, and L.C. just had to buy the high-resolution images and finish it up.

Except someone *coughRachelcough* saw the comps and said, “That’s doesn’t read romantic comedy.” And it was hard to argue with her, because it really didn’t.

L.C. and I—with maybe a little, tiny bit of whining and groaning—went back to the drawing board. (Don’t you love the way I make it sound like I sat next to her and made suggestions? Maybe worked on it while L.C. took a nap? I didn’t. Mostly she sent me comps at the end of the day and I gave her my opinion. I just like to think I did some of the heavy lifting. 😉

And then a miracle happened. Well, a cover art miracle, which probably doesn’t rate that highly on the miracle scale. I mean, it’s not like the Virgin Mary appeared on my cover. But what did happen is that L.C. had a random idea late one night, and it turned into this cover. Which was so perfect for the book and I loved . . . except I didn’t like that guy. He’s plenty dorky enough, and I can’t explain why, I just didn’t like him.

Image 3

Eventually, we found a guy I did like, and that is the end of the cover saga. If you’ve read the book, you know how perfect that cover is for the story. If you haven’t read it, let me entice you with the blurb:

TooStupidToLive_600x900It isn’t true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

Buy Link: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/too-stupid-live

Rainbow WebBlue Green WebBlue Balls Web

And now, for those of you dying to win a crocheted cock, I’ll share today’s all-important question. But first, let’s go over the contest rules, such as they are:

    • I’ll be giving away one crocheted cock per post; please include the question you’re answering in your email so I know which post it is.
    • Winners will have to provide me with a mailing address to send the penis to after I notify them by email (about January 21st).
    • There are no geographic restrictions on winning—I will send anywhere in the world, even to countries in which customs may confiscate the item (although if it doesn’t make it, I won’t be able to provide a replacement, I’m sorry).
    • Winners will be chosen randomly from each correct answer I receive by January 20th. That’s two days after the blog tour ends.

To win, correctly answer the question below in the body of an email sent to me at anne[at]annetenino[dot]com.

If Sam’s TSTL, what does he think that makes Ian?

AT New Logo1About Anne Tenino: Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.

Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com

This post is filthy from the outset so it ALL needs to go under the cut! Keep reading for Jo’s illustrated guide to the world of naughty knitting/crochet, and an inteview with the Penis Crochet Queen and fabulously talented author, Anne Tenino. Continue reading

Title: Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma #2)
Author: Anne Tenino
Publisher: Riptide
Length: 30k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Series, Second Chances, HEA, Jocks/Athletes, College, Frat Boys, Flashbacks
Rating: Me Like


Hypothetical love can be a real pain in the ass.

Paul’s been called many things—graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke—but “forgiving” isn’t one of them. When the new women’s softball coach at Calapooya College specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul’s forced to put aside his strict “no athletes” policy for the sake of his paycheck.

Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul’s high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one—the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor’s come out and retired from baseball, and now he’s looking for forgiveness and a second chance.

There’s no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn’t sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.


I was very eager to read this follow up to Frat Boy and Toppy when I saw that the author was carrying on into a series. Not simply because I liked that book so much, because I really did, but also because I was really eager to see how Anne Tenino would redeem Paul. In Frat Boy, Paul was the bastard friend of Sebastian, who was livid that his friend was falling for a brainless jock and frat boy. No matter where their relationship led, every time Paul found himself around Brad (the frat boy jock Sebastian was falling in love with), he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. It was obvious that there was more to Paul, other than being stuck up, snobbish, elitist. You could tell that there was a real aversion to jocks, just that he’s too proud to say why. Love, Hypothetically gives us that story, plunked straight into the middle of Paul’s neuroses, and showing the way he looks at the world around him.

Paul uses dark humor, elitism, and arrogance to cover the depth of the hurt that his one real relationship caused him. His first love, Trevor, chose his promising baseball career over their relationship in the most humiliating and sacrificial way — a pain he never dealt with, and consequently altered him into the jaded and untrusting graduate student he currently is. Now, Trevor is back and Paul doesn’t know what to do about it. He can’t face his own feelings honestly, and the friends he once had who could have done it for him he has pushed away. Trevor is asking for forgiveness and a chance to see if they can rekindle their old relationship, but Paul doesn’t know if he can trust him again.

Though shorter, this story definitely lived up to my hopes, having really enjoyed the first book about Brad and Sebastian. Paul is an interesting character himself, and I think that the reason he’s compelling is that we get to know him first through Brad’s POV, in the first book. Paul doesn’t treat him well, and for most of the book comes off as a bitter bastard. Now, sinking into Paul’s own point of view gives us a chance to understand him better. I expected a different character, honestly. I thought Paul would be a little more lost, but what we see here is a character who, while he might have a skewed perception about some things, is very frankly real about his own shortcomings. He knows that he’s bitter, that he keeps his friends at an arm’s length. The real problem is that he doesn’t know if he can change that, or even if he wants to. Getting close to people is what got him in trouble in the first place.

For the most part, I’m not a fan of flashbacks, and I was worried when Chapter 2 went back to Paul’s high school days with Trevor. That doesn’t last, for those of you who, like me, aren’t fans of going back and forth in time. It’s a personal choice that, unless done supremely well, seems to aggravate me endlessly, so I was happy to see that that wasn’t the case here. I liked Trevor. He comes off as a stock romance character at first. He’s almost perfect (well, at least in in the present time). He’s making up for misdeeds and comes in to try to sweep Paul off his feet. In fact, this plot line isn’t that original. But still, it becomes it’s own story. Paul and Trevor push past the usual plot of relationship failing in the past, to meeting again, to getting to know each other, to having a small problem to work out, to HEA. When they actually get down to talking about how they feel, the author allows Paul to be Paul. In doing so, Paul uses those old defense mechanisms like he really means them. Allowing the character not to hold their punches, to be realistic and not always perfectly understanding gave the story what it needed to come to a successful resolution.