Friday, February 23, 2018

Release Blitz: Found by Annabella Michaels #Excerpt



Author- Annabella Michaels
Title- Found: Hamilton's Heroes Series Book 1
Genre- MM Romance
Release date- February 23

Cover artist- Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art





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Blurb
​As a former U.S.A.F. Pararescueman, Jeremy O’Brien is used to following orders, no questions asked. So, when Micah, his boss at Hamilton Security, asks him to take on a special case, he readily accepts. Micah’s instructions are simple, find the man in the picture and bring him back to Chicago.
​Seven years ago, Zane Wilkinson left the hospital against doctor’s orders, only to suffer a final, devastating blow that left him with no choice but to leave the only place he’d called home. Feeling heartbroken and empty, Zane moved from town to town just trying to survive, while never letting anyone get too close.
​In a chance encounter, Jeremy finds himself crossing paths with a man who fits Zane’s description. His instincts tell him that he’s on to something, but Micah warns him that he needs to be absolutely sure. Jeremy sets a plan in motion that will allow him to get closer to the man he believes to be Zane. However, the closer he gets, the more he likes the man and begins to question why he was sent to find him.

Will Jeremy be able to follow through with his orders without becoming too attached? Or will he realize that in his search for Zane, he’s found so much more than he bargained for?







 He was smart and sexy and fun to be around, and I looked forward to our time together, probably more than I should. In fact, I knew I shouldn’t be getting as close to him as I was, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. When I was away from him, I spent all my time thinking about him and when I was with him, I was happier than I could ever remember being. He had some strange sort of hold on me that I’d never experienced before, but I had to admit that I kind of liked it.- Jeremy




Author Bio


I am married to my high school sweetheart who let’s face it, is a saint for putting up with me all of these years. Together we have been blessed with the chance to raise two amazing human beings and so far, we haven’t screwed it up; I’ll let you know for sure later. I love watching movies, cooking, going to the beach and spending time with my family and best friends. I am an obsessive reader who is a complete sucker for a good love story but loves to feel a broad range of emotions throughout a book. I think real life is hard enough and so my books offer twists and turns, but always with a happy ending.

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Release Day Review: Daddy, Daddy, And Me by Sean Michael #Review #Giveaway



Author: Sean Micheal
Title: Daddy, Daddy, And Me 2nd Edition
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza
Publication Date: February 23rd
Length: 162 pages

Reviewed by Truus

Synopsis

When Jeff agreed to be the sperm donor to his best friend Beth, he never expected a tragedy to leave his newborn and three-year-old motherless. Beth’s loss has totally thrown his life into chaos: his lover has left him, his house isn’t anywhere near childproof, and his boss feels the restaurant has been patient enough with Jeff’s time off.

Donny has always known he wanted to work with kids, and he just finished his degree in early childhood education. He didn’t count on the prejudice he’d face as not only a male nanny, but a gay one at that. Job-hunting has been frustrating to say the least, so when he knocks on Jeff's door and is greeted by the sounds of things breaking and a pair of screaming children, he thinks maybe he can begin this particular interview with a trial by fire.

Becoming the nanny to Jeff's children might be a dream come true for Danny and exactly what Jeff needs, but are either of them ready to really be a family?


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Review
Just like the title suggests, this is indeed a sweet read. Sugar sweet with some sharp edges.

Jeff’s vision of his future was something totally different than reality is now. He builds himself a beautiful house to live in with his partner. 
Now he has his two little children living with him and no partner.... and he is tired so tired.

He needs a nanny and when nanny Donny steps in he finally can breathe. This very qualified man is his savior. He helps him at every front. Takes charge of his house and his children.
The mother of his children died after a house fire, she was his best friend and he donated his sperm so she could have children. Now he has them with him. Traumatized by this all.

As head chef of a restaurant, there is a wonderful kitchen built in Jeff's home... he makes the most delicious food, and Donny is head over heels but not only because of the food.
The feelings are mutual and they start to be a lovely family...
Until some ex-has other plans for the future.

A sweet read built around the two little ones and the two men. How they can live a life together with all the ups and downs. Donny's optimism is something Jeff has to deal with.

A fast read with a positive vibe, some hard issues but all covered with a blanket of love.

Beautifully written, not too heavy, even though there are some heavy things going on. I expected, and even hoped, for somewhat more drama, especially between both men, but it didn't happen. Everything was written with a positive look...and it was good!





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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet, Narrated by Manuel Pombo #Review #Giveaway





Title: The Soldati Prince
Author: Charlie Cochet
Narrator: Manuel Pombo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publication Date: January 10, 2018
Length: 3 hours twenty seven minutes

Reviewed by Morningstar

Synopsis

One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.


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Review

Oh. My. God! I freaking LOVED this story...and that narrator? Slap on that Khalon’s accent, and he can read me the phone book!

Although short this story hit the spot. It was just different enough that I got lost in the world and the story. I immediately fell for Riley, with his natural charm and happy disposition, even with suddenly finding himself running for his life from demons while being pushed away by the guy that’s supposed to be his mate. Khalon was this tough Soldati warrior and Prince, loved by his people and a fearless leader. But one Riley Murrough has a way of disarming him without him even knowing. But despite even the good times they have in the story Khalon insists Riley cannot be his mate since only a Soldati can be strong enough to stand by his side and rule.

Ahh, life has a way of showing us what’s true and right even when we don’t want to see it. I wanted to kick Charlie Cochet for how she brought that out in Khalon, but I will reluctantly admit it made the story even better! If that was possible!


I will repeat...Manuel Pombo with Khalon’s accent is the best thing I’ve listened to in years. Holy Moly! Not only is his voice sexy as ****but he gave a true performance at every turn and made me so freaking happy that I hadn't read this first because his way is sooooo much better than my measly voice ;) 






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Exclusive Cover Reveal: Heartbeats by Jenna Kendrick #Excerpt #Giveaway




Title: Heartbeats
Author: Jenna Kendrick
Release Date (Print & Ebook) – 3/13/2018
Length – 61,000 words
Subgenre – Contemporary M/M Romance





Cover Artist – Dianne at Lyrical Lines



Blurb

When Andrew Palmer and his husband decide to expand their family, they use a surrogate to carry their baby. On the day they get the happy news they're expecting, Andrew is blindsided when Mason asks him for a divorce and moves out, taking their daughter with him. Instead of counting down the days until the twins' birth with his partner, Andrew's fighting for every moment of time with his daughter and readying himself to become a single father.

Orphaned at a young age, Bradley Stern has always wanted a family to call his own. He’s done everything possible in preparation to become a single father including finding a surrogate to carry his child. Knowing he’s going to have two babies to care for means double the love, and he can hardly wait the last few months for his twins to be born.

When Andrew and Bradley each get a call about a tragic car accident and premature delivery, they discover their surrogate has promised the twins to both of them. As they wait for paternity results and watch the babies struggle to survive, they turn to each other for comfort. Only one man will walk away with what both want most, but now he'll also take the other man's heart, as well.




Excerpt

 “Surely you can tell me something. How are my babies?” Bradley raked his fingers through his hair, barely resisting pulling it out by the handful. No telling what it looked like, but he left it firmly attached to his scalp.
“Mr. Stern, as I’ve already said, someone will be out for you shortly.” The NICU nurse’s voice straddled a fine line between professional courtesy and annoyance. “Now, are you going to wait patiently, or do I have to ask security to escort you out of the hospital?” As he turned away, the glass divider between the info desk and the waiting area rattled with more force than the last time he’d demanded answers. Too bad, because he wasn’t budging until he knew what was happening to his twins and their surrogate.
For all that the hospital had tried to create a welcoming environment, the empty waiting room stank of lost hopes, stale coffee, and the astringent smell that lingered in all hospitals. If he sat, he’d be swallowed up by the despondency that clung to the chairs. Instead, he walked. Fourteen steps up the hall, fourteen steps back, just far enough for it to be considered pacing and not hovering. He’d practically worn a trench into the hardwood floor. It’d been hours already—he glanced at his watch—no, more like twenty minutes. No wonder the staff was losing patience. Time was standing still.
His mouth opened in an overly loud yawn that had him looking right and left with embarrassment, but it was too early for anyone other than hospital staff to be milling about. The inscrutable nurse didn’t even look up from her computer screen.
The adrenaline rush from racing to get here battled with the exhaustion of having been awake for over twenty-four hours. After a long week in New York City filled with frustrating meetings and high-profile events with Uncle Richard and his merry band of blowhards, he’d been unable to stand one more night there. Every car horn and squeal of brakes from the street below set him on edge, and come morning, Richard would have one more piece of business, one more person he needed to meet. Any excuse to keep him nearby and try to wear him down. He’d just wanted to get home to his mountain, treacherous roads in the middle of the night be damned, and he’d called down for his Tesla Roadster before he so much as loosened his tie. Halfway to Egremont, he’d received the call that had him veering east to Springfield.
The same refrain haunted him as it had the rest of the drive. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. Never mind that this was the culmination of a long-held dream. Making lists of baby supplies and everything he needed to decorate the nursery was a far cry from having checked so much as a single item off said lists. But none of that was important right now. He’d deal with the nursery and all the rest once he knew his babies were well.
They’re not ready, either. He’d been reading about fetal development week-by-week throughout the pregnancy, not that he could recall a single useful fact right now. Fingernails and blinking—the parts he’d been so excited about a couple days ago—suddenly took a back seat to lung development. He swallowed the knot in his throat and reached into his pocket. No. Already a hair’s breadth from losing his shit, Googling worst-case scenarios wouldn’t help him avoid being kicked out of the hospital for causing a disturbance.
Stomping feet and labored breaths caught his attention as two men ran down the hall. One pointed at the chairs, then approached the nurse’s station, quietly giving his name. His companion, jacket wide open and sweatshirt clearly inside-out, looked around the area wide-eyed before lurching across the hall to the restroom.
“Did you see where my brother went? A little bit taller, a lot less handsome?”
There was no reply from the nurse. Bradley glanced over to see the man staring back at him quizzically. He pointed at the bathroom just as the door opened.
The brother was indeed taller, by at least a few inches. But his dark blond hair, bright blue eyes, and muscles for days rendered him a hundred times sexier than the first guy.
Judging from the greenish cast to his skin, he was also either hungover or sick. Bradley stepped away in distaste, leaving the other men to melt into the chairs of despair while he resumed pacing. Fourteen steps up the hall. Turn. Five, six, seven—
The door to the unit opened. “Who’s here for the Penn twins?”
—Eight, nine. Wait. Penn.
Bradley hurried over to the man in bright blue scrubs. The surgical mask tucked under his chin pulled his ears forward, giving him a slightly elfin appearance. Or maybe lack of sleep and stress were making him as fanciful as the giraffes and elephants painted on the walls.
The nurse gave Bradley a welcoming smile. “You the new dads?”
Bradley looked to his right, only then noticing the tall guy had also approached.
“Oh, we’re not together,” he said. Being together with someone wasn’t in the cards for him. His heart was taking a big enough risk letting children in, much less a partner.
“We ask that only parents come into the unit for the first visit. Which one of you is the father?” He looked expectantly between the two men.
“I am,” they both replied at the same time.




Author Bio

Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Random Review: Sheep's Clothing by Elin Gregory #Review #Giveaway



Author: Elin Gregory
Title: Sheep's Clothing 2nd edition
Publisher: Manifold Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Length: 30 pages 

Reviewed by Michael


Synopsis

The misadventures of Darren Murchison: a gay, English, self-employed handyman – no job too small – who moves to Welsh sheep country in search of a quiet life. Not a good move for the world’s most reluctant werewolf!








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Review

Gather ‘round, everyone, I have a confession to make,
Ready?
Okay, here we go.
I have never read anything shifter.  Like, ever.  Now, you’d think that I would have.  I mean, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite television series.  I love the Underworld franchise of movies.  And, I’m a huge comic nerd.
But I’ve never read shifter. 
And, to be honest, I wasn’t going to.  When I first read the blurb for this one, somehow, I missed the little word ‘werewolf”, and so didn’t even realize that this was a shifter book until it was too late.  I don’t mean “too late” in a bad way.  No, quite the contrary, it’s in a very good way.  By the time I knew what this was, I was already sucked in and didn’t want to stop.
Here’s the thing that interested me about this:  the wolf is treated like a totally separate entity when Darren shifts.  He’s well aware of what the wolf does, like his consciousness is in another body, and can assert some semblance of control over what the wolf does.  But for the most part, he leaves the wolf to his own devises.
Until the climax, that is. (How’s that for vague?)

Based purely on this story alone, I may be a shifter convert.





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Exclusive Cover Reveal: Leaning Into The Look by Lane Hayes #Giveaway




Leaning Into The Look
By: Lane Hayes 
Publication Date: March 23, 2018




Cover Artist: Reese Dante



Synopsis

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.


Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look. 





About the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes:

*Coming March 23- Leaning Into the Look

Contact Information:

Twitter:   @LaneHayes3
Facebook: LaneHayesauthor





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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Release Day Review: Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell #Review #Giveaway






Author: K.A. Mitchell
Title: Bad Boyfriend 2nd edition
Series: Bad in Baltimore #2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Length: 272 pages

Reviewed by Jenn

Synopsis

Causing trouble has never been more fun.

Eli Wright doesn’t follow anyone’s rules. When he was seventeen, his parents threw him out of the house for being gay. He’s been making his own way for the past five years and he’s not about to change himself for anyone’s expectations. For now, romance can wait. There are plenty of hot guys to keep him entertained until he finds someone special.

Quinn Maloney kept the peace and his closeted boyfriend’s secrets for ten years. One morning he got a hell of a wake-up along with his coffee. Not only did the boyfriend cheat on him, but he’s marrying the girl he knocked up. Inviting Quinn to the baby’s baptism is the last straw. Quinn’s had enough of gritting his teeth to play nice. His former boyfriend is in for a rude awakening, because Quinn’s not going to sit quietly on the sidelines. In fact, he has the perfect scheme, and he just needs to convince the much younger, eyeliner-wearing guy who winks at him in a bar to help him out.

Eli’s deception is a little too good, and soon he has everyone believing they’re madly in love. In fact, he’s almost got Quinn believing it himself….



Links





Review

This book was one I’d be waiting for because I really enjoyed Bad Company, book one. You don’t have to have read book one to read Bad Boyfriend.

Quinn Maloney has been living with a closeted man for 10 years. One morning Peter not only tells him that he’s ending it, but he’s marrying the pregnant woman he cheated on him with. Quinn is shocked and angry and has to let go of 10 years worth of history. The worst part is that he is so close to Peter’s family, his brother is his best friend. What looks like the end of the world to Quinn, I see as his best chance yet. Quinn has been living in a world of gray and needs some color! In walks color in the form of Eli Wright.

Eli Wright is almost 23, he’s been on his own since he was 17. His parents threw him out when they found out he was gay. Eli appears to be all about a good time when Quinn meets him one night at a club. What starts off as some flirting and Quinn intending to take the obviously gay Eli to Peter’s child’s baptism....becomes a lot more very quickly. When a man who has been living behind closed doors for so long gets a taste of how good it can be, faking a date is no longer enough.

I loved Quinn and Eli’s interactions from the beginning, I don’t think either was expecting so much heat between them. This book is funny and definitely has some drama, the sex is very hot! A really good read and I always love seeing characters from previous books pop in.


Sexy Daddy and younger guy with a fun/little angsty story



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Release Day Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor #Review #Giveaway



Author: Shae Connor
Title: Teaching Ben
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
House Line: Dreamspun Desire
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Length: 209 pages

Reviewed by Racheal

Synopsis

Learning to love means a study in patience.

Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.

David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.

As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….


Links




Review

First I have to say this was my first time having read a book by Author Shae Connor and after reading Teaching Ben, I am definitely without a doubt her newest stalking fan!!!

She had me hook, line, and sinker within the first few pages. Ben's character of having to start over in college at the age of 24, having a hard life growing up, and be forced into a life he wouldn't have normally chosen for six years; seeing the strengths in his character was what attracted me from the start. He didn't have that poor me attitude. He adjusted to the things that life threw at him but he decided when he had enough and took charge of his life with a goal. The only obstacle that he saw was his sexy student teacher David.

David's character was just as strong but had a past which from time to time haunted him. I could relate to a point because I have done things in my past that I look back on and wish I think, that person isn't who I am, what happened, why did I do that? If people were to find out would they judge me for my past mistakes or look past that and see me for the person that I am today. David holds on so much to the past and is afraid to let Ben in, even though they both struggle with the realization that for the time being all they can be is friends. 

Ben and David share not just sexual energy but a closeness that two best friends have. I like how the story was written showing more of how they managed a close friendship and didn't try to ruin that by just throwing away something they were both were working towards. 


However, keep in my mind that the semester does not last forever, and Ben and David's story doesn't end once the semester does. Trust me when I say this is a fantastic build up to an amazing story that takes you on a journey of two men coming from two different worlds that find a way to show each other, friendship, family, strengths, acceptance and love along the way.





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Monday, February 19, 2018

TC Talks~ What Buffy means to me; as a gay man, as an author, as a human. #Giveaway




What Buffy means to me; as a gay man, as an author, as a human. 


*Contains some spoilers for Buffy the vampire slayer, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries.


Trying to entice others into watching Buffy in a post-Twilight world is no easy feat. After all, the vampires of the late 00’s/early 10’s are moulded for a very specific audience (tweens) and have as much depth to them as their cardboard cut-outs that you can undoubtedly purchase at Hot Topic.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched the entirety of The Vampire Diaries, I still watch The Originals and I’ve seen all the Twilight movies. I’m riding that paranormal hype train all the way into my 30s and I don’t plan on getting off anytime soon. However, when I watch these shows I go into them knowing that they’re nothing more than melodramatic fantasies designed to appeal to a crowd that crave the traits that most modern-day vampires possess: Immortality, power, freedom. They’re designed for 15-year-old Becky that CBA with her math homework and desperately wants a boyfriend that only has eyes for her. They’re for 16-year-old Sarah who (despite being popular) feels utterly alone in the world and wants that one person she can “be herself” with. They do to teens what explicit, billionaire romance novels do to middle aged house wives/husbands that feel as if their life is slipping by them.

There’s nothing wrong with that. We all need an escape. We all deserve one. However, these shows are nothing more than fantasies, whereas Buffy is all about reality.

You see, what sets Buffy apart from the rest of vampire media is that it’s a show with purpose. With meaning. With depth. It isn’t about a bored, high school girl who feels a little awkward and needs an escape. Its sole purpose isn’t about Buffy finding a boyfriend. In fact, the show is all about the call to adulthood (being the slayer) and the sacrifices that becoming an adult (slayer) entails. It’s a show that subverts expectations (a blonde, former cheerleader kicking ass), that challenges the patriarchy (the watcher’s council), that deals with depression (season 6), addiction (black magic), the consequences of losing yourself in a relationship (season 2) and having the ability to make a choice.

This show is all about choice and consequence.

So, let’s break this down.

What is Buffy?

Buffy the vampire slayer (created by Joss Whedon) ran from 1997 – 2003. The show focuses on Buffy Summers, a 16-year-old girl who happens to be the latest in a long line of slayers; superpowered women (of which there is only one in all the world) that fend off the forces of evil. When one slayer dies, the next is chosen and it’s been that way for around one thousand years. As with those before her, Buffy is sent a watcher (Giles) to aid/train her. However, unlike those before her, Buffy has a group of friends (Willow, Xander, and more as the show goes on) who help her in her fight against evil.

Simple, right?

But it’s still vampires, how is it different to Twilight/TVD/Etc?

Twilight is about an “out of place” teenage girl who follows her hormones into the arms of a man who could kill her. She submits herself to him entirely, giving up any semblance of a normal life in the hopes that the pair might one day have sex, doesn’t care that he stalks her, that he “watches her sleep for months” or admits to wanting to feed on her.

Sure enough, there’s the underlying message of an all-consuming love that most teenagers dream of. However, there’s also the message of Edward breaking into her home, coming onto her, then pulling away and making Bella feel bad because she was fully prepared to go there. In fact, Bella willing to die for the D is a prominent theme throughout the movies/books, as is her co-dependency and willingness to lose herself entirely (and even kill herself) for the sake of a man whose very presence puts her life (and her father’s) at risk.

If Twilight says anything, it’s that women should submit themselves to men entirely and feel bad for contemplating sex before marriage. How romantic.

On the flip side, Buffy season 2 tackles Buffy coming into her sexuality and giving herself over entirely to a man that she’s willing to shrug off her responsibilities and future for. How does the show handle it? It turns the man evil and forces Buffy to stab him through the heart. Sure enough, this sends her into a spiral as any first-love breakup would, but the important thing is that she learns, grows, and never makes the mistake of putting a man before herself (and her duties) again for the rest of the series.

Choice – consequence – growth.

The Vampire Diaries differs in that it handles multiple characters/plots. However, while Elena does prove to be more competent than Bella, she still gets with a man that murdered her ex’s sister for fun (and countless others) and kills her brother at one point (and the show provides no McGuffin to explain these actions away/ take accountability away from the characters when they do something horrific other than Vampires being “emotional heightened” within the shows mythology) Not to mention that the show itself has very little regard for its body count, and none of the characters seem to care too much that their supernatural temper tantrums result in dozens of innocent bystanders dying throughout the show’s run. (Whenever someone breaks up with someone else, they handle that by killing a restaurant’s worth of people and are usually forgiven within the next 4-5 episodes).

If TVD says anything, it’s that your own passions/desires transcend that of those around you. That only you matter: your love, your “plot” and your pain. It’s a show driven by selfishness and moral ambiguity. And, to be fair to the show for what it is, our teenage years can closely resemble these themes. However, at no point does the show do anything substantial to push its characters (or audience) into adulthood.

On the flip side, one of the main themes throughout Buffy is her call to being the slayer (growing up) and Buffy constantly having to make sacrifices so that others may thrive. She kills her first love to save the world. She works a crappy job to provide for her sister. She drops out of college to take care of her mother. She dies (twice) so that others may live.

Neither TVD nor Twilight are about responsibility. About growing up. About saving the world or caring for others. They’re about escapism, the lack of responsibility, selfish love and fending off adulthood for as long as possible. They idealize immortality, youth and passion in a “watch the world burn” way, with little regard for anyone other than the main cast.

This is everything Buffy (as a show, as a concept, as a character) fights against.

What it means to me as a gay man

Not only was Buffy one of the first TV shows to feature a prominent LGBT couple (and arguably the first to feature a relatable/realistic depiction of LGBT characters) but a major theme throughout Buffy is the struggle against masculinity – something that, as a gay man, I relate to.

Buffy isn’t a Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley. She’s a young woman that very much still wants to go to prom, still wants to wear nice dresses, still applies her makeup and wants to melt in the arms of her boyfriend after a hard day.

She isn’t ashamed of her femininity, and at no point throughout the show’s 7 seasons does she succumb to masculine traits that other female characters (and most male leads) are written with to show that they’re “strong.” Nor does she become a mockery of femininity by tackling monsters in ludicrous high heels and impractical attire. She’s your average teenage girl with a handbag full of stakes and footwear appropriate for a battle.

Not to mention we get a young James Marsters and David Boreanaz without their shirts on in a LOT of scenes. Amen.

What it means to me as an author

Leaving behind the various metaphors and underlying themes of Buffy – the show is just brilliantly constructed when it comes to its plot and character development.

For plot -

Each season has a singular threat (a “big bad) that correlates with Buffy. In Season 2, we get Spike and Drusilla representing sexual maturity and an all-consuming love (selfish love) to mirror Buffy’s sexual awakening. In Season 3 we get the mayor (authority) to mirror Buffy’s graduating year. And, whereas a T.V. show like TVD or The Originals breeze through their plots, having character’s motivations change episode by episode, Buffy sets up a clear, consistent, cohesive narrative that we follow from start to finish without us ever wondering how we got to where we are.

For character development -

We watch Willow turn to dark magic from as early as Season 3 to solve her issues. So, when she gives herself over to it by the end of Season 6, this doesn’t feel like an unearned moment forced upon us to serve a plot. And from a “paranormal writer’s” perspective, her coming into her powers is a slow build over the course of years, unlike the irregularity of TVD’s witches who are as powerful/weak as that episode requires them to be.

On a smaller scale, in a “monster of the week” episode in S3, Buffy obtains telepathic powers which allows her to read the minds of all her fellow students. In this episode, she learns that even the most popular people in her school have their own issues/worries, and it’s a lesson she carries with her for the rest of the show. It’s never forgotten, despite the episode not meaning much in the grand scheme of things.

Both of these (plot and character development) are handled with a consistency that is rare in a 23 episode-per-season show. Sure enough, there are some “bad” episodes (and by bad, I mean cheesy) but the important thing is that no lesson is ever forgotten by the characters – they continue to develop, learn and grow as all good characters should, without ever doing something that feels unwarranted. Without ever doing something for the sake of the plot.

As a writer, you can learn a lot from watching this show.

What it means to me as a human

On a personal level, Buffy means the world to me. It reminds me of a time when I’d sneak downstairs after being put to bed to watch the show with my Dad – it’s the first memory I have of us bonding, and our mutual love of the show is still something that adds twenty minutes to every conversation we have. For that alone, I could love this show enough to do an entire article on it, but it’s given me so much more –

Buffy is a show about being mortal. It’s a show about growing up, about accepting change and responsibilities. It’s a showcase of female strength, of friendship, of building a family for yourself. It’s about remembering who you are, despite who your other half is. It’s about considering other’s feelings, regardless of how passionate you are.

In conclusion

Unlike Twilight, Buffy teaches you that no man is worth your life. Unlike TVD, Buffy teaches you that your pain doesn’t justify inflicting it on others. And if I could sum up the show in a single word, I’d pull from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows –

Sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

P.S. As always, I’m supposed to leave a recommendation at the end of this article, but instead of pulling a random MM book from my facebook feed, I’m going to implore all of you who have not yet watched this show to give it a chance. I promise you, if you give it a little time (and can look beyond the late-90s aesthetic) you’ll gain something from it. 

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