Wednesday 24 October 2018

Really Mini-Reviews - Escorting the Escort by Lyss Em and Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering

Really Mini-Reviews title image with inset title images for Escorting the Escort and Babyvamp, and icon of books in bottom corner

You want some awesome M/M New Adult romance novellas?

Of course ya do!

Today I've got reviews of Escorting the Escort by Lyss Em and Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering - which are both written by the same author, just under different names.

They explore orientations beyond just Gay or Straight, and are pretty damned awesome t'boot!

Escorting the Escort title image with black background, white car, and red writing

Title: Escorting the Escort

Author: Lyss Em

Genre: Romance (M/M,) LGBTQ+ (Bisexual, Demisexual,) Contemporary Fiction, New Adult, Novella

Amazon: UK - USA

The Verdict:

As you can probably tell from the title, this book deals with sex work.

Because of the subject matter, I would suggest this book should be 18+, just as a guide for those who want one.

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There are one or two graphic sex scenes, but it's not an erotic romance as such - it's more of a New Adult contemporary romance.

I actually found the way both sex and sex work is dealt with in this novella to be really refreshing - it's neither romanticised nor demonised, which is kind of what you want.

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Eden, who works as a male escort, is also demisexual, and the interplay of these two aspects of his life is done really well.

The demisexual rep. in this book is also #OwnVoices, and the writer, Lyss Em/Lyssa Dering, is non-binary, using any pronouns. #SupportDiverseCreators.

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I loved Eden and the sense of a complex character that the author achieved in a very short space of time.

I liked the detail of why Eden was working as an escort - it was neither tragic nor aspirational, but pretty mundane. He needed the money and he was good at it.

It might have been even better to hear about Eden's thought process when he decided to work in the sex industry.

I get why that would've been very delicate to write though, and would rather it was left out than done poorly.

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I didn't really get much sense of Greer as a character, except that he was a) insecure, and b) really into Eden.

A lot of his insecurity came from internalised Queerphobia/Biphobia - which was the best-written part of his character.

I get that. Most Queer folks will get that.

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What I don't get is why he doesn't correct his best friend's Transphobia.

Like, I get that it was brief and we're supposed to be seeing his friend as prejudiced, which is a barrier to Greer's coming out.

But the whole way it's handled is... considering Greer corrects his Homophobia/Biphobia, it would be great if he'd challenged the Transphobia too.

Also, the whole SPOILER [Greer stealing Eden's underwear to masturbate] END SPOILER thing is not ok, even though he apologises later.

Content Warnings:

A few things to watch out for in this one:

- sex work
- reference to dangers of sex work
- uncomfortable sex
- clients refusing to pay sex workers
- stigma against sex workers
- Biphobia/general Queerphobia
- internalised Acephobia
- internalised Biphobia
- brief Transphobia
- Coming Out

Buy Now UK - Buy Now USA - Goodreads - Author's Website

Babyvamp title image with red baby's bottle, black background, and white writing

Title: Babyvamp

Author: Lyssa Dering

Genre: Romance (M/M,) LGBTQ+ (Gay, Pansexual,) Paranormal, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Novella

Amazon: UK - USA

The Verdict:

How does this manage to be so beautifully deep while appearing to be shallow?!?!

What seems, on the surface, to be a pretty standard gay vampire romance, is actually dealing with a looooot of stuff under that.

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This is the story of Max and Kieran.

Max finds Kieran, a newly turned vampire, snacking in an irresponsible and borderline illegal way in an alley, and ends up taking him in...

Only to find out that the vamp-daddy* who abandoned Kieran is Max's ex...

*I can't remember his name, ok?! He's now officially vamp-daddy

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And that opens up a whole heap of trouble. 

Because his ex was an abusive a**hole - who also happens to have a butt-tonne of social status in the vamp community.

The relationship between Max and Kieran is complex and brings in all sorts of threads - responsibility, trust, recovery from trauma, etc.

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The relationship with the vamp-daddy lurks under all of Max's interactions with Kieran - especially when it becomes clear that Kieran wants some BDSM stuff with Max as the submissive partner.

Max'd actually be into that... but he's not ready for that. He's still kinda vulnerable, y'know?

Max and Kieran struggling to define what they each want their relationship to be, and how much they are willing to trust each other, is awesome.

Content Warnings:

Even though it doesn't feel overly-heavy, Babyvamp does deal with some surprisingly heavy sh**, so be aware:

- domestic abuse (all types)
- heavily implied sexual assault/rape
- (pseudo-)child abuse (all types)
- (pseudo-)child neglect (all types)
- self-esteem issues related to abuse
- trust issues related to abuse
- mental health problems with symptoms implying possible PTSD due to abuse
- PTSD-style flashbacks
- abuser with high social status
- having to interact with abuser
- cages
- blood and general violence

Buy Now UK - Buy Now USA - Goodreads - Author's Website

Do you like it when books seem to be light, but have deep stuff going on beneath the surface?
Have you read any M/M romance lately?
Do you prefer romance novels or novellas?
Talk to me! 😁💬

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Last updated: 28th Oct 2018


  1. I’m glad that the first book portrays sex work in a mundane way! I was expecting something really dramatic that only exposes the negative sides to sex work, but it’s good that this book explores other issues to it and that sex work is just one part of the story. It’s definitely a difficult topic and so it’s good to see books like these!

    1. But it also manages to not lose the fact that this *is* dangerous work - which is awesome! Eden is so much more than 'just' a sex worker, and as a character I totally love him! :)

  2. Yay for Escorting Escort being own voices! And it doing a good job with the representation. I am not sure it is one for me but I am glad you could enjoy it and relate to the characters internalised issues. I love when you come across a book which seems shallow but then has all this hidden depth to it. That's what makes the second one sound really good :D

    1. They were both awesome! And yes, I love it when that happens! It's like: 'hang on! I thought this was shallow af! It's not!' Lol.


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