Interview · review

MOMENTS IN TIME by KAREN STIVALI #MaleMonday #review #characterinterview #mmromance

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Since my last post on April 3rd in which I revealed the cover for Moment of Clarity and the Moments in Time series, I have since read the final instalment of Collin and Tanner’s story and returned to interview the two characters. On Male Monday today, I will re-visit my previous posts and add my review for Moment of Clarity.

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Title: Moment of Impact
Author: Karen Stivali
Series: Moments in Time #1
Release Date: January 7th 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary romance, Gay romance, M/M

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Outside Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room is a dangerous place. Beyond his door the students of his small, conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his incredibly sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Their room makes a perfect place to hide away and fall in love. The moment they cross the line from roommates to lovers, Collin becomes caught between their heavenly passionate encounters and the hellish reality that someone might find out and destroy everything. Tanner’s not used to being so confined, and wants to show the world how much he loves Collin. But Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UKDreamspinner | ARe

Review
Karen Stivali’s novella, Moment of Impact, is proof that good things do come in small packages! The author does not waste her precious word count delving into the back-stories of her main characters and instead in the first few pages we witness masturbation, ejaculation and adoration!
Following the initial sexual encounter between Tanner and Collin they learn to balance college, work and cocooning themselves in their room, exploring each other, It is during these times and the pillow talk exchanged between them that we learn more about who Tanner and Collin are. Tanner has grown up in a flamboyant household and is comfortable with his sexuality, whereas Collin has a strict Catholic family and has never publicly admitted he is gay. This makes their developing relationship problematic, especially when Tanner wants to touch and kiss Collin in front of their friends. I like the fact that it is the depth of Collin’s feelings for his roommate which allow him to awaken, sexually and emotionally and when their ‘moment of impact’ arrives we are faced with a dramatic, but positive ending.
On finishing this coming of age novella I wish the next installment had been ready for me to read.  After looking at both blurbs for the following stories, I am already hooked on the angst, passion and power of Karen Stivali’s writing.

Rating:
 

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My first interview with Collin and Tanner

Me: Tanner, can you tell me how you felt at the Christening when you were hiding your feelings for Collin, from his family?
Tanner: It was…difficult. When Collin and I are alone together, we’re totally comfortable but being around his family and their friends we were both hyper-aware that we had to steer clear of one another. I knew he was nervous which made me want to hold his hand or squeeze his arm but I knew if touched him he’d have freaked out. And I get it. Guys don’t touch each other. Or at least not the kind of guys Mrs. Fitz wants her sons to be. I did like meeting his brother Sean though. He was cool. And his kids were great. Lots of fun to play with and super smart. I’m glad I got to meet them all.
Me: Collin, how are you feeling after the last time you saw your mum?
Collin (scrubs hand through his hair and shrugs): I don’t know how to answer that. I wish I could say I’m surprised by how she acted, but I’m not. She never made any secret about how she felt about “the gay thing” and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get to be some exception to her rule. She knows how to contact me. I don’t think she will. And until she’s ready to talk about the reality that I’m gay and that’s not going to change, we have nothing to say to one another. It’s her choice now. She can stay away or she can try to rebuild some sort of relationship between us—IF she can accept me for who I am. I’m done with the lying.
Me: Are you both excited, or apprehensive, about spending the summer together?
Tanner: I can’t wait for us  to get to Fire Island. I’ve had a blast there the other summers and I can’t wait to show it all to Collin. Plus (he wiggles his eyebrows at Collin, who instantly blushes) we can be out there. And no one will think twice no matter what they see us doing.
Collin (still blushing): I’m looking forward to it. I want to meet our house mates and see the restaurant where I’ll be working. It all sounds great but it so much new stuff all at once. It’s overwhelming. I almost don’t believe it could be as open and easy as Tanner thinks. But I hope he’s right. And I trust him. Completely.
Tanner (grins and leans in for a quick kiss which makes Collin blush even more but leaves both of them smiling). It’ll be awesome. You’ll see.
Me: Collin, how has your relationship with Tanner changed you?
Collin: Changed me? I don’t know. I don’t think of it as he’s changed me, it’s more like he’s just helped me get comfortable with who I’ve really been all along. Which is pretty amazing because I used to work damn hard to keep who I was a total secret. I’m much happier now. I still worry about stuff, but I feel so much more at peace with my feelings. And knowing Tanner believes in me makes me feel like I can make it through just about anything.
Me: Tanner, what are Collin’s 3 best qualities?
Tanner (wicked grin on his face): Best three qualities for Collin? Shit, I’ve got to narrow it down to three? He’s insanely smart, he’s one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met….(the smirk returns) and he’s so fucking sexy I can’t even think at all once I start thinking about that. Blond hair, blue eyes, that mouth…it’s amazing I ever get any work done because I could be totally fucking happy staring at him all day.
Collin (claps hand over Tanner’s mouth to make him stop talking). Tanner pries the hand away. “What?” (innocent face).
Collin grabs Tanner’s face between his hands and kisses him to silence him. Doesn’t work. Tanner pulls away “I forgot to add fucktastic kisser. Best kisser in the world.” Laughter rattles between them until they kiss again, then no one else exists.
I really want to thank Karen, Collin and Tanner for taking part today . . I love this interview and the insight it gives us into the two young men ♥ ♥

Title: Moment of Impact
Author: Karen Stivali
Series: Moments in Time #2
Release Date: March 4th 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

MomentofTruth large cover

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Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UKB&N | Dreamspinner | All Romance

Review
In Moment of Time Karen Stivali takes the relationship between Collin and Tanner onto the next level, both physically and emotionally. Although being on Fire Island gives both young men the freedom to openly display their affection for one another, their summer break tests the strength of their relationship.
The way in which Karen Stivali chooses to develop Collin’s characters allows us to see a different side of him than the one we were shown in Moment of Impact. In the first book, I liked his innocence and empathised with the way he was treated by his family. Now, however, I found his naivety irritating and I wanted to shake him out of the funk he lands himself in.
In the first book it was Tanner I was unsure of, yet on Fire Island his confidence is a little more subdued, despite the fact that he is working in a nightclub and spending time with his friends. The strength of his feelings for Collin are obvious and though certain events ask us to doubt him, I never did.
As Collin and Tanner question each other, they also lose the trust of an important friend, as Fire island and its drama begin to spin its web around their lives.
The freedom of the island gives Collin and Tanner an opportunity to explore their sexual relationship and Karen Stivali definitely increases the heat level of the story, but however passionate these acts are, we appreciate their context in terms of the romance.
Moment of Truth is an excellent sequel, in which the characters have the time to come alive a little more. We also have the feeling that each event that has taken place will have consequences for the young men once their summer is over and I wish I had the next instalment in my hands now!

Rating:
 

Bed

Collin and Tanner visit All in One Place again . . . 
Me:  So, you’re back from Fire island. Collin, was it everything you hoped it would be?
Collin: (*wonders if my face is as red as it feels*) Fire Island was…great. Definitely the best summer of my life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Me: *lowers voice* Tanner, how has sex changed your relationship?
Tanner: (*can’t keep the grin off my face as I watch Collin turn seven shades of red*) It’s awesome. We’re burning a lot more calories now so I can eat even more of Collin’s kick-ass cooking. (*laughs when Collin elbows me*) What? I’m serious. You’re a great cook and we’re burning a fuckton of calories. It works out perfect! (*winks at Collin and smiles as he blushes again). Seriously though, not to get all mushy on you or anything, but I’ve never had sex with someone I’m really in love with before. That part’s been pretty fucking amazing.

Me: Collin, was it difficult hearing from your brother again?
Collin: Difficult? No. I mean, when he was trying to get me talk to my mom and Quinn that was really awkward and kind of annoying but when he said he needed to talk about what’s going on with him? That wasn’t difficult. I mean, it sucks that he’s having problems, but I want to be there for him. He’s my brother and I love him. I’ve missed him. I really hope all of this works out for both of us. And I can’t wait to see the kids again. I’ve missed being Uncle Collin.

Me: Are you both ready to be open at college, about the fact that you’re a couple?
Collin: (*stomach sinks, glances at Tanner—he’s still smiling but I can feel him tense) I’m more comfortable about the idea than I was last year, but “open” and “our college” aren’t really a match made in heaven. If we do come out, we’ll be the first openly gay couple on campus, as far as I know.
Tanner: (*takes Collin’s hand, swallows hard when he squeezes it extra tight) Whatever happens, we’ll be all right. If people don’t like it, that’s too damn bad. It’s our life, not theirs. I think if we can find the right time to tell a few people at a time, it’ll be okay. (*hopes I’m right*)

Title: Moment of Clarity
Author: Karen Sivali
Series: Moments in Time #3
Release Date: May 6th 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

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Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.
As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin’s brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle, and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture. In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.

Purchase: Amazon | Dreamspinner | B&Ne

Review
I must admit that I am gutted that Tanner and Collin’s story comes to an end in Moment of Clarity, although it is my favourite of the three novellas.
In Moment of Impact the couple began their romance a little tentatively, mainly because of the attitudes of outsiders. Moment of Truth revealed their vulnerabilities, even though they had the freedom to explore their sexual relationship. In Moment of Clarity Collin and Tanner’s choice to publically admit they are a couple is taken away from them at college and both young men face a new round of homophobia.
Karen Stivali takes us to the point where we really doubt whether their relationship will survive, especially when the possible outcomes of Collin’s supposedly unselfish decisions could result in Tanner finding love with someone else.
Although I think the narrative concentrates on Collin, again it is Tanner who I found the most intriguing character. He loves Collin unconditionally and is almost reckless with his emotions. Despite the guilt he feels over the situation with Collin’s family he places complete trust in the fact that they can overcome the prejudice together.
Clearly the events of Collin and Tanner’s relationship have enthralled me and I have been lucky to receive advanced copies of the last two books. Yet the story would not have worked so well without Karen Stivali’s very open and human representation of her two protagonists. I have laughed with, cried with and sympathised with Collin and Tanner and feel as though I am saying goodbye to old friends!
Rating:

About the Author

Karen stivali

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. Her lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.
When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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3 thoughts on “MOMENTS IN TIME by KAREN STIVALI #MaleMonday #review #characterinterview #mmromance

  1. awesome reviews, and I love the character interviews! I will miss Collin and Tanner, I’m going to have to reread the series soon! ~ Tracy

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It makes my day to see all your comments :-) Thanks xx

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