Rating: 4.5 stars
Sam has his head buried in his latest romance novel and his feet planted on the grass when he is knocked to the ground. Then Sam’s heart notices the ripped body of the man assisting him to his feet and it decides it has met his One True Love. Turns out Sam had been walking across the rugby playing field and got beaned by the ball. And no matter that Sam’s head says that his One True Love couldn’t look like some Highlander god or that someone who looked as gorgeous as the man lifting him to his feet would ever want a skinny, nerdy, beanpole like him, Sam’s heart says Sam has met his future husband.
Ian Cully hopes that he has left the worst of his life behind him to start a new life in a new town. His life as a firefighter ended with a traumatic accident. Now he has a new job, a new apartment and only his cousin, Jurgan and his partner, Nik, as his connections to his family and his past. Another part of his past Ian is hoping to forget? The part where Ian pretended to be straight. Now he is free to explore his sexuality but where to start? Ian thinks he knows his type, until he goes to the rescue of a guy who got hit by the ball during his rugby game. One look into the eyes of Sam and all Ian’s suppositions about himself are gone. In their place is a lanky, blond haired gay with his head in romance novels and a heart too vulnerable for its own good.
But Ian still has some major issues to work through and he is not sure a commitment is something he is capable of. Everyone is telling Sam that Ian is Mr. Wrong but Sam just can’t convince his heart that is true. Sam soon starts to wonder if he is not like the character in the books he reads, the one who is too stupid too live, who never sees the trouble coming and gets out of the way. Is Ian Mr. Wrong or does Sam’s heart know Mr. Right when it sees him?
I didn’t realize until I was several chapters into the book that many of the main characters originated in another book,Anne Tenino’s Whitetail Rock. I remembered reading it quite a while ago and then Nik, Jurgan and the rest snapped back into place. But you don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this maddening, happy, exasperating romp through the lives of Sam and Ian. Sam is a wonder of a character. Tall, scrawny, head buried in his bodice rippers and riddled with self esteem issues, Sam is a character you want to hug even as you are giving him a little shake. Sam is endearing, and clearly deserving of True Love but he doesn’t see himself as worthwhile. That will break your heart as more of Sam is revealed over the storyline. I love my nerds in m/m fiction but Sam is something special. He is not your normal small, cute blond but lanky, thin haired, and has a big nose and giggles. I adored him.
Ian Cully comes off at the start as a smug horn dog who could have easily descended into an unlikable character but Ian too has layers that save him from being a stock creation. He is seeing a therapist, recognizes his issues and wants to change. It took me a little longer to connect with him but when I did, I feel in love with him just as Sam did.
Anne Tenino’s dialog is a wonder. It’s funny, charming, topical, and perfect for each character she has created. There are times I just sat back and laughed out loud at the things that came out of Sam and Nik’s mouths, especially if they were getting their drunk on. And there are some heartbreaking moments that will have you in tears. One such scene involves a character that I believe Tenino is setting up for her next novel. At least I hope so. We absolutely need to know what happens to him. And that fact alone, that we need to know what happens next in the lives of these people cements my feelings about Too Stupid To Live. This book is a wonderful romantic ride to Ones True Love, and that is something Sam and Ian both deserved and got with each other.
Too Stupid To Live is listed as Romancelandia #1. I can’t wait for the others.
Cover artist is LC Chase. Love this cover. The model is adorable, the perfect representation of Sam.