M/M Book Reviews: Loose Cannon and The Penalty for Holding

Posted May 24, 2017 by shooting in Book Review / 16 Comments

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryReleased after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

Review: Loose Cannon was a good read, though it did feel a tad too long. Granted, I think that was due to the fact that it’s setting up for the sequel. I’m not sure who the sequel will focus on exactly, but my guess is Ghost, who Church knows from a rehabilitation place called Woodbury (the title of the series). Besides this, I was very much interested in Church and his friendship with Miller. Of course, it leads to more, but it’s not easy to for either of them. Church doesn’t feel good enough, and Miller has a lot of ingrained homophobia from his late father – even though he knows there is nothing wrong with being gay and has no qualms about Church being so.

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell is a good start to a new series - you'll fall for Church and Miller! Click To Tweet

There is a mafia-esque aspect to the story that while still realistic in a sense, brings this story into a different genre than just realistic contemporary. At least in my opinion. All in all though, I liked this one!

M/M Romance

The Penalty for Holding by Georgette Gouveia 

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryWhen the quarterback of the hapless New York Templars is injured, backup QB Quinn Novak takes the team to the playoffs. There he attracts the attention of two other quarterbacks who’ve been rivals since high school – Mal Ryan of the Philadelphia Quakers and Tam Tarquin of the San Francisco Miners. Quinn begins a volatile relationship with the narcissistic Mal and a loving one with the open-hearted Tam, keeping each secret from the other.

What he doesn’t know is that the two have a complex sexual history of their own. Quinn will have to overcome a thorny present as well as a troubled past if he hopes to have a promising future.

Review: I gave this one two stars, but sometimes I think that’s too nice. The Penalty for Holding is a difficult book to review. It’s definitely a book that went in a direction I was not expecting. I will say that I didn’t like the way it was written though – and the pace of the book was a bit too jumpy. There were moments in the book that seem to come out of the blue, without any specific explanation. I wasn’t a fan of the ending either, because I just felt like it gave a bad representation of being gay. I can’t really explain without spoiling the book, so I’ll leave it at that.

There is also a case of domestic violence between two gay men that could have been great, but it was very lackluster. The topic wasn’t focused on enough or fully addressed in the book, though there’s a sense it will be in the future. It’s a tricky topic, and it just didn’t work for this book.

Obviously I finished the book, so it wasn’t completely awful. There were moments that I enjoyed. I just felt like nothing really worked out in the way that I hoped/wanted. Definitely not something I can recommend, I’m afraid.

16 responses to “M/M Book Reviews: Loose Cannon and The Penalty for Holding

  1. Ohh sorry the second one didn’t work for you. This sounds really good though. I loved how the couple couldn’t be more different. Anyway, awesome review, Lauren. I hope your next read is way better. ?

  2. I loved Loose Cannon but then I read Bad Judgement (different series by her) and that was BRUTAL. Have you read that one yet? It makes me fear for Ghost’s safety when he gets a book lol

    I think she said the other boy they were in prison with (I forgot his name but he was in love with Ghost) gets a book next.

    For What It’s Worth

    • I haven’t read Bad Judgement. Oh gosh, now I’m even MORE worried about poor Ghost. And okay, the other kid is next! I’m blanking on the name, but I really like him!

  3. That is disappointing. You would think that a story line with domestic abuse in a M/M romance would stand out. Better luck next outing.

  4. Finishing the book is definitely something, there are books I have just given up on before! I am impressed by all the reviews you do… just out of interest, how long does it usually take you to read 1 book?

  5. Intrigued by the mafia reference in Loose Canon even though you said it was a bit of a longer read… Sounds interesting! Not sure how I feel about the name Church, but that’s just me and probably doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things 🙂

    Thanks for always sharing such interesting reviews! That’s too bad re: The Penalty for Holding. SKIP!

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