A Caryn Review: Last Call by Kate Sherwood

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

One shallow, rich, university student party boy

One hot bartender with no education and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility

One bar in deep financial trouble, and a desperate (and not very bright) owner

It doesn’t sound like it will work, but put those ingredients into the blender, mix in a few of their friends and a few bad guys, and in the end it kind of does.

I didn’t like Ethan much at first.  We meet him sitting at a bar, for the third night in a row, waiting for the hottie bartender, Alex, to notice him.  Ethan is spoiled:  he’s rich, he’s cute, he’s oversexed and drinks 5 nights out of the week, and is always the pursued, never the pursuer.  He hangs out with friends who are as shallow as he is.  When Alex doesn’t notice him, Ethan basically decided screw that, I’m getting trashed.  Which did get Alex’s attention, but not in a good way.  Alex ended up taking Ethan to his apartment and putting him to bed when he passed out, and walked away.  When Ethan woke up, it was metaphorical as well as literal, and for one of the first times in his life he took a step back to look at his actions.  And decided he was a bit of an asshole.

Following Ethan’s epiphany, his first action was to apologize to Alex, but when he showed up at the bar before opening, he found a group of thugs threatening Alex and Leo – the bar owner and Alex’s best friend – over money owed to a loan shark.  Undeterred, Ethan immediately jumped in with ideas to boost the bar’s revenue, brought in his own friends, and business started picking up.  He told himself he didn’t want Alex as a hookup anymore, but he did still want him as a friend, and Ethan was nothing if not persistent.  Alex started opening up, but he was a complicated man with a lot of baggage from past abuse, and insecurity about the differences in their social standings.

I enjoyed the story, the way Ethan matured and Alex gained confidence, but the whole scenario never really seemed plausible to me.  Ethan just seemed too shallow and childish to even have an epiphany about how poorly he treated anyone, and the idea of him pursuing Alex so hard was completely unconvincing.  As his friend Josh said,

When in your life have you ever applied hard work and dedication to something?  When have you done something that didn’t come easily right from the start?

Why would a guy like that decide to get mixed up in trying to save a failing bar, when he had already seen people get beaten up for it, and wasn’t getting anything out of the guy he liked anyway?  And Alex had a little of that TSTL vibe going on – yeah, he was a loyal guy, and owed Leo a lot, but he knew what was happening was criminal, wrong, and was going to get them both into a hell of a lot of trouble, but he just sat back and let it happen.  Leo was a selfish asshole to multiple people, until he suddenly wasn’t.  Nah, I didn’t buy it.

The blurb was intriguing, but the actual storyline itself kind of fell short.  Ethan was sweet, but his constant verbal diarrhea was also annoying.  Alex was devoted, but let that override his intelligence.  Leo was just an idiot, and I kind of wanted him to get what was coming to him, and he didn’t deserve Alex’s loyalty.  Overall, the book was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

The cover model was the perfect representation of Ethan.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2020

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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