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.
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
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.
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.
My first interview with Collin and Tanner
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
About the Author
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.