Review: Velocity

Reviewed by Jen

I haven’t always been comfortable with everywhere Amelia Gormley has taken Derrick and Gavin.  When I started the series, there was barely a whiff of where these two would end up sexually, and suffice it to say, they ended up outside of my comfort zone.  I read book two, Acceleration, and realized they were entering the BDSM zone and then had a decision to make. Keep reading the series or write it off?  The thing is, Gormley did such a good job making me invest in the characters, I had to keep going. I had to see how their story would end.  And while their brand of kink still doesn’t do it for me, I am glad I chose to see it through.

The past two books followed these two men as they began their journey into relationship and ramped things up to a fever pitch. We’ve seen their failings and weaknesses, hunger and joys.  And this final installment is all about whether they’ll have their happily ever after, and what it might look like.  Among other things, that includes finding out Gavin’s HIV status and dealing with his horrible ex.

The story moved pretty fast. I read it all in one sitting.  What I liked about it is that the relationship is really evening out.  The last book had these guys consumed with sexual fire. And while the sex is a vital part of their dynamic here, the focus is really more on trust and commitment.  Derrick is a lot less emo.  Gavin is (somewhat) less neurotic.  And the power between the two of them felt a lot more balanced. One of the things that really bothered me about Acceleration was that I felt Gavin held all the cards.  Maybe it was in part because he dominated Derrick in the bedroom, but in other ways too.  Here, Derrick got to take the reins some, both sexually and with emotional empowerment.  I needed to see this balance to feel better about their future.

The sexual element focused less on the humiliation factor and more on the pain than the last one.  Take that as you will. Neither appeals to me.  But I do acknowledge that the author uses the dominance and submission as a tool for these two to work out their emotional issues.

When all was said and done, though, I was satisfied with the conclusion. I think I’d recommend the trilogy to contemporary m/m romance fans, especially if you think BDSM is hot.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
by Amelia C Gormley
Release Date: March 2, 2013

Review: Acceleration

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been really looking forward to this novella. I really enjoyed Inertia and these installments feel less stand alone and more like segments of one big story.  While Inertia mapped out how Gavin and Derrick first met and started dating, Acceleration shows how they are growing together and falling in love.

I liked it. I’m really a fan of the author’s voice. But there were parts of it that didn’t entirely work for me, making it a little less of a hit than book one.

So a little backstory: Derrick is a handyman/ small contractor who has been without love in his life for the past 10 years.  As a young man, he had to watch everyone he loved die (or leave him) and served many years as a caretaker to family members who were ill.  It was easier not to put his heart out there after that. Add to that, the fact that he had never acted on his attraction to men –and what he has with Gavin now is something he never could have imagined.

But Gavin has baggage too. He just got out of an emotionally abusive relationship with a guy who exposed him to HIV. He doesn’t know if he’s been infected and he is hyper-vigilant that a man will never control him again.  Not a good mix when Derrick feels like he must take care of everything, especially when he loves someone.  This is the major conflict that drives the story.  Derrick trying to internalize everything bad in his life to protect Gavin; then Gavin viewing it as destructive and controlling and shredding him for it.

There were times I felt like Gavin was unfair. Yes, Derrick needs to open up, but Gavin’s constant comparisons of him to his ex were totally over the top.  I wanted to jump in the book at times and just give Derrick a hug, the poor guy has been through so much.  I feel protective toward him and Gavin bothered me when I felt like he threatened to pull the plug on things if Derrick didn’t change. Give the guy a chance! It’s only been a few months.

My other issue is the introduction of a little D/s and pain play in the bedroom.  I guess I understand it in the context of the story. Gavin has always had dominant tendencies that his ex shamed him over –and Derrick can let go of his need to take care of everything by taking a submissive role.  However, I don’t enjoy the BDSM subgenre or elements of it in my romance. It’s merely a personal preference and I was disappointed when it popped up here.  It doesn’t take over the entire sexual relationship, though.

What did I like?  The writing. It’s very good. I feel completely swept up in these characters and their lives.  I feel connected to them and their love story.  There’s a lot of sex here, and it’s a big part of the focus. I’m thinking that is just a tool to show where these two are in their relationship and –other than the kink that’s not my cuppa– I think it’s pretty hot, with attention to detail.  The author is great at bringing me into the moment, both in the bedroom and in the emotional angst of the story.

I will definitely be back for Impulse.  I really want these two to find a way to make it work.

Rating: I’m struggling between a B and B-. But I am going with the B, knowing many people aren’t turned off by BDSM the way I am.

Click to purchase: Amazon
by Amelia C. Gormley
Release Date: November 30, 2012
Publisher: Smashwords

Review: Inertia

Reviewed by Jen

For the past 10 years, Derrick has lived a quiet and lonely life.  He spent the first part of his young adult years losing almost everyone who mattered to him. He tended his grandparents for three years as illness slowly claimed their lives. His girlfriend moved away for college and they drifted apart. His brother died in service.  After so much loss, it seemed easier to close himself off to emotion, to relationships, and to the possibility of heartache.

But something long asleep inside him starts to spark back to life when he meets Gavin. The sexy businessman hires him for a job and starts flirting from the moment Derrick shows up to install some bookshelves.  Though the attraction is obvious and mutual right away, it takes a while for the two of them to act on their feelings.  They’ve both got a lot of baggage and it interferes as they try to make a go of things. But eventually, they try to put their issues aside to see where that attraction can take them.

I really enjoyed this story. It was a little tough to buy that Derrick would spend 10 whole years without so much as a one night stand or make-out session along the line. But if you can put that aside, I found the rest of the novella has a realistic emotional feel.  The urgency and fear that drives Derrick’s encounters with Gavin are palpable. And Gavin’s shame and embarrassment over his past abusive relationship ring just as true.

What starts as flirting ends up this almost desperate, consuming fire between these two men. And I liked it.  Their sexual encounters never quite escalate to full penetration. However, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Especially after so much tension, I thought the love scenes were great. I especially liked watching Derrick make his first forays into an intimate relationship with another man.

Another big plus: no instant-love.  Both these men are skittish about giving their hearts and what we end up with is a great beginning between the two of them.  I am very satisfied with that. And I am really looking forward to seeing where their story goes next in book two, Acceleration.  I’ve got high hopes.

Rating: B

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
by Amelia C. Gormley
Release Date: July 19, 2012
Publisher: Smashwords