Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Week One

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads hosts a Don't Read in the Closet event each year where they invite members to submit a photo with a story prompt.  Interested authors then volunteer to write the requested stories, which are published for free for everyone to read.  It's a fun/exciting/stressful process, and a great opportunity to read stories from favorite authors.  And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a backlist of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love's Landscapes and they started releasing the completed stories on June first. Here at BMBR, we've been following along on comment threads, anticipating the stories from our favorite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

As an aside, there are SO many amazing stories being released and while we haven't read all of them yet, we will get there. There will be a few however, that won’t be reviewed here. You see, unicorns are not only badass, they are also mysterious and magically rare. We can't expect their presence to show up in our reviews, the interwebz couldn't handle it. But, just know this, this week, we LOVED Carte Blanche by Nash Summers. That is all.

Other than Carte Blanche, here are some of our favorites from the first week of the event, June 1-7:

Ann: Broken Phoenix by Edmond Manning

My Sunday was completely shot when this story came out. I started Broken Phoenix with the intention of reading a little now, reading a little later, you know. No way could I walk away once I started, though. Completely fascinating world that was complex but still easy to follow and the MC's are charming as all hell. I laughed out loud more than once at the snarky banter. I loved how Gio attempted to grasp "New York" style speak and references. It really had everything: adventure, fantasy, romance, sexy times, big feels and little feels, it was all there. This one definitely has a spot on my summer reread shelf and a big than you to Edmond Manning for his contribution to this event!

Breann: Mr. Jaguar by K.A. Merikan

I'm not much of an enemies-to-lovers fan. There always seems to be too much useless banter and meanness for no apparent reason. 

But this? This.

Here we have two guys who really are enemies. One is the hot quarterback and the kid he used to pick on in HS. And the hot quarterback is doing what? That's right, pumping Mr. Nerd's gas. Priceless!

"This had to be the guy's dream come true. A prophecy written in the stars."

For reals!

Then! It was like gay Pretty Woman. Gah! Could it be more perfecter?

Not only did I totally dig the set up, but the characters were awesome. Mike was effing awesome. Not only was he sexy and funny but he was really sweet under that rugged, manly exterior. Big, tough guy turned into a puddle of melty goo when he was with his Jamie. Which then, turned me into a melty puddle of lusty goo.


Hell, it was a full on *quelt*

Lorix: Metronomy by Suki Fleet

The Love's Landscapes event is amazing, where else do you get to read hundreds of stories for free? From both established and new authors we get a mixture of long and short, fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, shifter, historical...and most other categories in between. If MM is a genre you enjoy there is bound to be something - several somethings - for you to read and enjoy.

And here is the first problem, how do I just choose one? I've not managed to read them all but I've read and relished several. Carte Blanche I adored but won't review here for reasons (see above), The Lonely Drop was one that I very much enjoyed and came this close to reviewing here first...but in the end I decided on Metronomy by Suki Fleet.

Suki Fleet is an author I've not read before (see already why this is an amazing opportunity?) but I'll definitely be reading her books in the future. At just 33 pages long this story is short. In fact I'm hoping it serves as a prelude to a longer story, even though it works well as a short story in its own right, because I really would like to hear more about Mouse and Hunter.

This is a fantasy story. I love fantasy, yet find the cross-over from mainstream to MM fantasy doesn't always work so well for me. This though, this was great. Magical gifts, friends-to-lovers, running for their lives, enemies, ...it has so many elements I love. I think if you're a fantasy fan you'll appreciate this and (even if you're not) I'd urge you to give it a go. After all, it won't cost you a penny.

SheReadsALot: Better Than New by Charley Descoteaux
Aw yeah...4.5 STARS!

Why this story is dope:

1. The fact that the author rocked the hell out of the prompt. 
 Down to the little smirks.
 Loved her style.

2. Did you see the picture attached to this prompt?

3. These quotes:
“I’m serious. I don’t even like guys all that much and I wouldn’t kick you out of bed for getting crumbs in the sheets. Wavy auburn hair, hazel eyes, flawless porcelain skin― low on the asshole scale― what’s not to like? You’re laughing, but I’m serious.” 
“You shouldn't do that either. It’s bad for my health.” 
“I’m not doing anything.” 
“Yes, you are. You’re flirting with me. I’ve seen you look up through your lashes like that at all the cute queer boys.” 
He stepped away and leaned against the side of the building. He even looked up the street, the nearly empty street, like it was the most interesting thing he’d ever seen. 
“But that’s different.” 
“Because you’re different. Different than all of them.” 
 “I thought a lot of things. Mostly, about what I’d do once you said the magic word: graduation.” 

4. Like it's not a major thing but two of my most favorite fucking main character names are the MC's names in this book. Both of them. And the last time both names were used as MC's...I fucking ate the story up. Coincidence? I think not.

5. Er...I dunno if you caught my hint in #3 but there's a ginge MC. So like...I dig gingers. And uh, yeah...

6. The writing is top fucking notch. The story line is sweet but not sticky but just has the right amount of everything. Some feelz, some adorbz, some reality swirl, great dialogue, some smexy. I love plots like this. The entire I dug you, you didn't know I dug you, you might not think you're hot but I think you are and we're friends type of deal. Plus a MC with a disability that didn't make it all about the disability.

*happy sigh* Done right.
Two Thumbs Up!
P.S. Title is dope as hell too. Gotta check for more from this author.
Most def.

Sunny: Human Choices by Jaye McKenna

From the blurb:
Khy is a prisoner and a slave. His life consists of days of drudgery and nights of agony. He has no memory of anything else, yet he knows there must be more beyond the fog that shrouds his mind. When his Master is called away on urgent business and Khy is left alone, a moment of unexpected clarity has him running for freedom.

This story is amazing!  Great world building, beautiful characterization, and an intense story with a sweet hurt/comfort theme that avoids over the top angst.  Everything flows just right, with perfect pacing- no dragging or rushing.
I love it all.
*hugs e-reader*

And there you have it, some of our favorite stories from the first week of the Love's Landscapes event!  Stay tuned for our favorites from week two :)

*** All stories are available for download at 


  1. I haven't had a chance to read any of them but one yet! *sobs*. But love this roundup! Yay for "Metronomy" (that's my prompt! squeeee!!!)

    1. I love that there is something for everyone! Hopefully you'll find some time to read some of them soon :)