A Caryn Review: Unspoken by R.A. Padmos

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

unspoken-2I wanted to like this book so much.  Historical (yes!), set in the Netherlands (yes, yes!) during the  years prior to and during the second World War.  I expected a romance that would develop during a time of danger, sacrifice, and privation.  And I got – well, I’m not quite sure.

Stefan was a married man with 3 children, a caring wife, and a tremendous sense of pride responsibility for them.  In the interwar period in Europe, even in countries that had not been allies of Germany during WWI, there was too much unemployment, too much poverty, and too much hopelessness.  Stefan was a hard worker, and humiliated to find himself on the dole most of the time, punctuated by brief stints of working.  In his daily walk about the city to find work, he ran into Adri, an out of work painter, who was also in line to receive benefits.  Stefan had never been attracted to men in his life, but something about Adri just struck him, and the passion between the two of them was more than he’d ever had with his wife.

Adri always knew he was a homosexual, and had discovered those subtle ways to find other like minded men.  And though homosexual activity was not illegal – as it was in most of the rest of the world – it was still frowned upon and something to be kept hidden.  (The author was insistent upon repeating, frequently, that as long as the men involved were both over the age of 21 that sex between two men was legal.  Although Stefan and Adri did get arrested once, I wan’t quite clear on why that happened, but maybe public indecency?)  Adri was also drawn to Stefan from the beginning.  The men became friends first, then lovers, and eventually Adri was even adopted by Stefan’s family as a sort of honorary uncle.

The majority of the book takes place before the war starts, and was primarily an ongoing monologue in Stefan’s mind of what it meant that he and Adri were lovers.  He insisted to himself and Adri pretty much right up until the end of the book that he was not really a homosexual, and that effeminate men were worthy of ridicule and abuse.  He kept trying to walk away from Adri – resulting in his wife getting pregnant with a fourth child – but always ended up coming back to him.  He felt responsible to provide for his family, so he would not abandon them, even when he eventually realized that he loved Adri more than he loved his wife.  When the Germans occupied the country, he was even more sure that he needed to stay with them and provide food, shelter, and safety, but he still carried on with his affair with Adri.

I was never really sure where this book was going, whether it reached any particular goal, or even how to classify it.  It’s not a romance, not a memoir, certainly not an adventure.  To be honest, the closest I can come is saying that it was Brokeback Mountain set in prewar Holland – but I never connected to these characters.  To be honest, Stefan just irritated me – I wanted him to either accept that he was going to carry on an affair, or break up with his lover, or his wife (to be fair, I felt the same way about Ennis in Brokeback Mountain).  His ongoing denial of who and what he was just didn’t touch me at all.  In the end, it was just a long, meandering book with what seemed like endless angst without resolution from Stefan, that ended abruptly and unsatisfyingly.

I do not know this author, but I guess from the writing that English is not her first language.  I would believe that she was Dutch, or at least from some part of Europe, as she had excellent grasp of the culture and the history of life in occupied Europe, as well as the hidden culture of gay men of the period.

Cover art by Posh Gosh is absolutely beautiful, and the park bench is an important symbol in the book and really the perfect image to use.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, Revamp Edition
Published March 29th 2016 by Pride Publishing (first published May 1st 2012)
ISBN139781786513946
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: How the Other Half Lives (London Lads #2) by Clare London

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

how-the-other-half-livesThis was a cute, quick, funny read, perfect for an hour of pure, angst-free entertainment!

Martin Harrison is an uptight, obsessive neat freak who has trouble tolerating disorder in any part of his life – or in other people’s – who is perfectly happy with his regimented, solitary life.  His best friend Ethan nagged him to at least try to interact more with people, so Martin promised to get involved with the flat-sitting scheme his apartment set up (which was the first thing he thought of) to get Ethan off his back.

Russ McNeely is a free lancing chef/food critic with an admitted authority problem.  He’s enthusiastic and creative, but flighty and forgetful and has no idea why his best friend Don gets upset that he still hasn’t unpacked after living in his apartment for 6 months.  He’s OK with his cluttered, chaotic apartment, messy clothes, and lack of a social life, but he agrees to sign up for the apartment’s flat-sitting scheme as a way to meet some new people.

So of course these two are assigned to each other, and both are horrified to see how the other one lives, so they start making little changes in the other apartment that gradually lead to changes in themselves as well.  I loved the difference in their voices as they talked to their friends – Martin was ever so posh and snooty, Russ was emotional and earthy.  By the time they finally met each other, romance was clearly inevitable.

The meddling best friends were awesome, the descriptions of the completely opposite ways the men saw the same things were hilarious, and of course the way they finally met was just adorable.  Finished off by an over-the-top, wildly successful collaboration that let the two men ride off into the sunset while their best friends applauded from the sidelines.

Normally a book I’d give 3 stars, but this gets another half star for sheer cuteness!  And for the very clever introductions to each chapter.

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs doesn’t exactly indicate that this is a comedy, but it’s OK.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 65 pages
Published February 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 5th 2011)
ISBN 1635333156 (ISBN13: 9781635333152)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLondon Lads #2

A Caryn Review: Silent Night by Erin E. Keller

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

silent-night-by-jms-booksEh, it was an OK holiday story.

Pete is an average guy with a crappy seasonal job dressed as Santa Clause and advertising for a book store in New York City.  While internally whining about said crappy job, he keeps noticing a homeless man with a book who is not very successful at begging in front of his store.  Although Pete thinks of himself as a jaded hardass who really doesn’t care about other people, he decided to give the man a whole dime (in present day NYC?  What good did he think that would do???), but the man’s response – or rather lack of – was unexpected.  And made him want to know more, especially when he saw how cute the homeless man was.

Lucas is deaf, mute, orphaned, friendless, and recently homeless when he refused to sell his body.  Despite circumstances, he has continued to try to find a job, and escapes into his book when life is just too hard.  He doesn’t really know how to beg, and is way too soft and naive to survive on the streets, but something about Pete just drew him in.  On Christmas eve, Pete came to find Lucas to offer him a meal.  An initial misunderstanding between them led to Lucas getting assaulted and losing what few possessions he had, so Pete, feeling responsible, took Lucas home.  Where the expected happened in a fade-to-black scene, which was actually very sweet.

This next paragraph will be a spoiler, so you may want to skip it!  After the meet-cute, there was a disconcerting jump to the next Christmas Eve, with a flashback from Pete telling how they got together and both found satisfying jobs, but Pete was over-protective, possessive, and an insensitive jackass who treated Lucas like a child, so Lucas left.  Now that it’s Christmas Eve, Pete needs to win him back.  Which he does, being a possessive and semi-violent jerk.  And though he recognizes what he did wrong, he seems helpless to do any better.  And Lucas goes back to him because he loves him despite how he acts sometimes.

Doesn’t this seem like a perfect set up for an abusive relationship?

And to cap things off, there were grammar and spelling mistakes, and I got the sense that this was written by someone who really isn’t all that familiar with American culture, and American English.

Cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice, and the photo captured the two men well.

Sales Links

JMS Books 

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 39 pages
Published December 3rd 2016 by JMS Books LLC (first published November 24th 2014)
ASINB01N97IR96
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Alpha Barman (J.T.’s Bar #1) by Sue Brown

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

f1ba3-final_suebrown_alphabarman_ebookSue Brown is one of those authors who, for me, sometimes knocks it out of the park, and sometimes her books are just meh.  This book was definitely one of those meh ones.

Jake Tyler was a member of a special operations team who left after he found his brother-in-law Riley – who was also his best friend and member of his team – standing over his sister’s dead body with a bloody knife.  He worked to make sure Riley was convicted, and then abruptly quit and moved to Wyoming, leaving his long time lover Mitch behind.  He opened a bar in a tiny town in Wyoming, and started over, trying to leave everything about his past life behind.  He told no one on his team where he was going, and never even said goodbye to Mitch.

When the remainder of his old team shows up in his bar, Jake is angry and conflicted.  They came because Riley has escaped from prison, and everyone is convinced that he will head straight for Jake, to exact revenge, or to try again to make Jake believe he is innocent.  The team is there to protect Jake, but he doesn’t feel he needs protection, and most of all doesn’t want to be reminded of everything that happened before, and all he walked away from.  Especially Mitch.

At first, I believed the entire set up.  All the guys are tough as nails, intelligent and resourceful, physically imposing, and share that bond that comes from facing danger and saving each other’s lives.  Or that is what they are supposed to be.  But they kept falling short of the set up.  Or the background wasn’t supported at all by their actions.  Riley was supposedly Jake’s best friend for most of his life, married his sister, and they were as close as brothers.  But Jake never even considered listening to Riley’s version of events until Riley tracked him down in Wyoming.  Jake is supposed to be able to predict Riley’s moves because he was the one who trained him, but he never does.  The team is supposed to be the best of the best, and yet their plans to capture or neutralize Riley are pretty amateurish.  And the author spent way longer describing the two days before Riley’s arrival than was necessary, and I got tired of Jake angsting over Mitch, over Howie, over how Simon will treat Howie, over whether anyone will be able to eat Moose’s sloppy joes….  Nope, doesn’t make Jake sound all that tough, and certainly not decisive.  Then there was Riley’s progress to the bar, which actually started to get funny:  he escaped!  He must be hitchhiking!  He must be stealing a car!  He has contacts all over, and of course he’s gotten a gun!  How will he be able to get a gun?  He has a Hummer, he could just crash right into the bar!  He got rid of the Hummer, because the team would know he had it!   We’ll never see him coming!  Let’s put the retired Marines outside to reconnoiter!  Lets get those retired Marines inside before they get themselves killed!  Jake, get in the basement!  No, I won’t!  OK, I will!  I must be the one to confront Riley, I will not be in the basement!  I don’t know who edited this, but I’m not impressed.

And it didn’t even end there.  I got the impression that the Ms. Brown thought it would be great (or at least profitable) to write a story consisting entirely of stereotypical alpha males, because they are hot, and therefore six of them will be six times hotter.  Of course the most manly occupation possible is special forces, so that’s what they are.  Although I never saw exactly what organization they were part of – military?  NSA?  CIA?  Who knows, who cares, these guys are oozing testosterone through their hard bodies, and being hot will make up for their inconsistent and frankly stupid actions.  And rambling plot with huge holes.  Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy the occasional dual alpha male story that involves them beating the shit out of each other, or the bad guys, as a form of foreplay (i.e., Ty and Zane in Abigail Roux’s Cut and Run series do that trope excellently), but the author just kind of missed the mark here.  By a mile.

Cover art by Garrett Leigh works perfectly.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 150 pages
Published November 24th 2016 by Sue Brown’s Stories
ASINB01N99W6N4
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesJ.T.’s Bar #1

A Caryn Review: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Vivien Dean

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

bridge-over-troubled-waterOnce again I found myself choosing a book for all the wrong reasons:  I love the Simon and Garfunkel song.  And I like this author, so I picked the book without even reading the blurb.  When I started reading, and found out it was about vampires, my first response was ugh.  I really don’t like vampire books, why did I choose this???

Detective Brady Lindstrom is the quintessential workaholic cop.  He never takes a day off, has no life outside of his cases, and doesn’t even seem to want one.  He has no friends, no lovers, few possessions, and life outside of work is mainly working out until he drops.  He works homicide, and has dealt with some of the most horrific cases in the Bay area, but his single-minded devotion to the job means he is usually successful in bringing criminals to justice.  The case he’s investigating now, however, is much worse than anything he’s ever seen before – 12 frat boys slaughtered, found with their throats and hearts ripped from their bodies.

When he goes home from the murder scene, he’s in his usual routine of running on his treadmill until he’s exhausted enough to sleep, because he has a good idea of what committed the murders, even if he doesn’t know who.  When someone knocks at his door just before dawn, he is not as surprised as he should be to find his ex-lover, Cole Singer at the door.  Cole, who died 10 years ago.

Despite his deep distrust of vampires, and Cole in particular, he needs Cole to help solve this murder and kill the vampires who did it.  He’s the only one on the force who is aware of vampires’ existence, so he’s on his own.  Cole is severely injured, and needs Brady’s protection and help, so the two forge an uneasy truce in order to track down the killers.

Two things frustrated me about the story:  the first is that the author seems to assume that her readers know all the powers of the vampires in this book.  There is some explanation, but it was a little inconsistent – the superhuman strength and speed, the heightened senses, the rapid healing are traits I’ve come to know from other books, but what was with the hearts being cut out from bodies?  Was that another thing that vampires do?  Cole is no longer killing people, but he does go to “blood bars” where he can partially bleed men who get off on that.  It wasn’t really clear how that worked.  And what was the deal with his fangs during sex?  The second issue is the almost complete lack of background.  Why and how did Cole become a vampire?  Was it an act of malice or a random accident?  How did Brady come to know about it?  Cole apparently almost killed Brady shortly after his change, but was that what made Brady hate Cole?  Or something else?  Although the main plot arc was finding and killing the vampires responsible for the murder, the secondary arc was clearly the changing and developing relationship between the two men, and it was much harder for me to follow it without knowing what happened before.

I thought it was kind of funny that Brady brought home human blood a few times for Cole.  Like that is something you can just pick up at the grocery store.  Really?  Another pet peeve for me was how the author kept describing how Brady’s tongue would be cut just about every time they kissed, and I was thinking this poor guy shouldn’t have been able to talk or eat solid food by the time the story ended.

But despite all of those things I didn’t like about the story, in the end I did like the relationship arc between the two men, enough that I was able to give the book 3 stars.  It won’t be a reread for me though.

Cover Art by Ginny Glass captures the two MCs perfectly

Sales Links

Loose Id

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 112 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Loose Id LLC (first published 2008)
Original TitleBridge Over Troubled Water
ASINB01MDNXUO2
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersBrady Lindstrom, Cole Singer settingUnited States

A Caryn Review: Boots by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

bootsOK, I have to admit it.  I love retold fairy tales!  I love how an author can take a recognizable skeleton plot and add, change, twist, and fold it into something entirely new.  I discovered them when my kids were in elementary school (East by Edith Pattou is one of my all time favorites), and have been reading them ever since.  And I was so happy to find that they are a fairly popular sub-genre of M/M romance (Brute by Kim Fielding is my favorite here!)

The other fun thing about retold fairy tales is when an author will weave in elements of other myths, other folklore from other cultures, and combine them with a fantasy world, or, like in this one, with the contemporary world.  Ms. Martinez combined the European “Puss in Boots” with the Japanese Kasha, or cat demon, but then she created her own background for why he was in present-day small town Pennsylvania.  And when a book sends me to Wikipedia to look up the references and find out where and how the author departed from canon mythology, I call that successful!

The book starts when the unfavored third son, Willem, inherits only $300 and the family cat when his father dies.  Although he thinks this was just his father’s last jab at him, he’s going to make the best of what he has, and after all, he’s always liked Puss.  He’s been laid off from his job, lost his apartment when his boyfriend cheated, and is essentially homeless but doesn’t want to impose upon either of his brothers, even though winter is setting in (this was the only part of the story that bothered me – if Willem is such a good and reasonable guy, why does he let something like pride drive him to the streets?)  He is shocked when Puss starts talking to him, but is so low that he’s willing to believe in magic if it finds him a warm place to sleep.  The cat informs him that “Puss” is a terrible name, insists that Willem call him Kasha, and sets out to help him get back on his feet.  Kasha is a demon who has been exiled to the human world, and is moved from one master to another in order to help them find what they want and need.  When one mission is accomplished he moves on to the next in an endless circle of servitude, so he’s learned to take what joy he can from that life, but he’s been burned enough times by cruel masters to be guarded about his purpose and abilities.

Willem is different, though.  Despite his past mistakes, he is a good and generous man who doesn’t accept or want Kasha as a servant/slave and still feels that it is his responsibility to take care of Kasha.  Kasha can also manifest as a man (with some cat parts that makes the sex both funny and kinda kinky) who is conveniently gay and Willem is just his type.

The rest of the story is the classic sacrifice and redemption that makes any good fairy tale work.  I enjoyed it, but was never able to really get behind either who these characters were before they met, or what it was about their connection that made them worthier of blessing in the end.  There was a little punishment kink introduced that was both gratuitous and unconvincing.  Kasha’s personality was a little more fleshed out in terms of what made him into a somewhat jaded and suspicious man in the beginning, but I just wasn’t convinced of the love between the men, and certainly not that it was responsible for either of them making the grand gestures that a fairy tale requires.

I really like this author though, and I’m going to be reviewing another of her fairy tales in this blog here soon, and I’ll be hoping for a little more!

Cover art by Posh Gosh is perfect for the book (except that Kasha had green eyes, not yellow!)

Sales Links

Pride Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook
Published November 8th 2016 by Pride Publishing (first published April 16th 2011)
ISBN139781786514967
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Sebastian & Owen (Storming Love: Tsunami #3) by Nic Starr

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

sebastian-owen-cover-200x300-pxThis is a sweet novella about an established couple, Owen and Sebastian, living and working together in Tasmania for the past 6 years.  After an injury leaves Owen, who is 6 years older, with chronic pain, disability, and depression, he starts to doubt his worthiness to be partnered with Sebastian.  It is a typical trope:  “I’m not good enough for you, so why would you want to be/stay with me?”  I usually see it written in the beginning of stories, when it hinders a couple from getting together in the first place.  This couple, however, has a very strong foundation, which makes it all that much harder for Sebastian to accept that Owen could possibly doubt his love and faithfulness.  And although it is a fairly tired theme, I liked how the author worked it into an established relationship, which actually made it more fresh and certainly more realistic.

With those misunderstandings in place, arguments ensue, and ultimately Sebastian ends up at their island house while Owen stays in their city apartment.  Owen has an epiphany about their relationship and wakes up determined to fix everything, and that is when he hears about the impending tsunami – about 75% of the way through the book!  Now he just has to get to Sebastian, and he races against the countdown for the wave to impact the island.

The story was predictable, but that did not lessen its sweetness.  It is always nice to see a couple facing the ups and downs that come with being together, and finding a way through them.  And of course they come through the tsunami closer than ever, as fear and danger make them see that loving each other is the most important thing, and everything else they can work through.  I also liked the description of the tsunami itself – not a monster wave crashing to shore, but a deceptively peaceful looking swell of the water that hides its destructive power.  If the author hasn’t seen one in person, she certainly did her research well!

The cover art by Kris Jacen is for all the novellas in the series, a picture of that monster wave that looks like something to make surfers salivate rather than devastate a shore, but it is pretty.  And very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

MLR Press 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 79 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by MLR Press, LLC
Original TitleSebastian & Owen
ASINB01LZERZEJ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorming Love: Tsunami #3

A Caryn Review: Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises #1) by Sue Brown

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

e50f3-morning2bmy2bangel2bjpgYou gotta love thrillers with snarky protagonists!  Josh Cooper works for CDR, a security company in Seattle that usually provides bodyguards and such to celebrities, but he and his team have been sent to London for a special assignment.  This job is more of an investigation than what they usually do, and they first have to find their mark, before they can protect him.  CDR has contracted with a London based company to assist them, and set Josh’s team up with an equivalent team there.  From the beginning, there is mistrust and animosity as both teams – as well as various London law enforcement agencies – battle over turf and refuse to share information.

Josh is unapologetically out, gay, and willing to hit on anybody who is attractive – gay or straight – sometimes to get laid, but mostly because he just loves to get a rise out of people.  He is snarky, abrasive, has a massive caffeine addiction, and proud that everyone at CDR knows him as an asshole, but an asshole who gets things done.  About two years prior to the events of this book, after an accidental message, he started up a virtual friendship with a man whom he dubbed “Charlie” who called Josh “Angel”.  Yes, there are mentions of Farrah Fawcett in here and references to the original TV series!  Josh comes to regard Charlie as a close friend, confides in him, is happy every time Charlie contacts him, and realizes that he is falling in love with him.  Now he just needs to find out Charlie’s identity so they can get together in real life.

The pace of the book was fast and exciting, both the investigation and the romance, and I basically read it in one sitting.  Just when I thought that the action was peaking and the book was wrapping up, I’d realize I was far from the end, and the plot would take another twist.  Some of those were very predictable (Charlie’s true identity was pretty obvious to everyone but Josh), but I have to admit the big reveal at the end really surprised me.

There were a lot of loose ends that weren’t completely tied up at the end of the book, which would have been disappointing, until I realized this would be the first of a series.  Josh and Charlie don’t get their HEA, but they definitely have a HFN and the set up for more danger and adventure in the next installment.  This is a series I am going to enjoy reading!  It reminded me a little of the Shadow of the Templar by M. Chandler, for those who enjoyed that series.

The cover art by Meredith Russell made me think of an entirely different story – the model looks like a mild mannered software engineer looking out over Seattle instead of who I imagined Josh to be, and even had a beard that Josh certainly didn’t have.  The book reads like a thriller, and the cover doesn’t convey that at all.

Sales Links

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A Caryn Review: Silences of Fallen Stars by Vivian Dean

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

silences-of-the-fallen-starsThis novella was set in Nebraska in the late 1960’s.  Although elsewhere in the country the Stonewall riots were happening, and hippies were experiencing free love, in the heartland things were much less progressive.  It was certainly not a place conducive to romance for gay men.

Jim and Ronnie were friends for most of their lives, and in high school they became lovers, but  secretly, and innocently.  Jim was lucky enough to be able to afford college, so he went to Omaha after graduation, and Ronnie stayed home.  Pride, and shame, led to a falling out, and then Ronnie was sent to Vietnam.  The story actually begins when Ronnie comes back home, wounded, and Jim is back at his grandfather’s farm after falling short of everyone’s expectations.

I love a good hurt/comfort storyline, and this book did it very well.  In the 5 years they were apart, Ronnie and Jim became men, and left the naïve highschool lovers behind.  They were both changed by    loss and heartache, and in Ronnie’s case, physical injury and disability.  Coming back together was not automatically a given, and Ms. Dean did an excellent job of showing the fragility of their new relationship, and how they eventually found their way back to each other.

The historical details were entered unobtrusively, but clearly enough that the impact of the times and the location on the men’s personalities and actions made perfect sense.  I am so thankful that I didn’t see any glaring anachronisms that bother me so much in poorly done historicals!  Overall, a sweet read, fairly low angst, with relatable characters and a realistic HFN.  Definitely recommended.

Cover art is lovely and eye catching.

Sales Links

JMS Books LLC

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Published September 3rd 2016 by JMS Books LLC (first published April 19th 2015)
ASIN B01KPNUMEU
Edition Language English

A Caryn Review: Out of My Mind (Browerton University #3) by A.J. Truman

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

out-of-my-mindMac is a college freshman who has been hiding his sexuality pretty much all through high school, but decides to start college out and proud, and has high hopes for dating.  Gideon is the first man he meets that he thinks might be interested, but after one kiss, Gideon basically runs away screaming, leaving Mac scarred for life.

Fast forward 2 years later, and Gideon has broken up with his girlfriend, but is stuck with the apartment.  Mac is in a similar situation having broken up with his boyfriend and is without housing.  Although they both remember the disastrous first meeting, and Gideon is still a little afraid that “the gay” will rub off on him, they move in together because they have no other options.

With that setup, the men are now clear to develop and act on their attraction.  Of course, Gideon is gay, but he’s hidden it so deep he doesn’t even acknowledge it to himself.  As the story progresses, it becomes clear why Gideon does this to himself, and we also find out about Mac’s history that leads to his own hang-ups.  Their path to a relationship is full of ups and downs, fueled of course by the usual lack of communication.

I think there was a lot to like about the book.  The Jewish humor, with the stereotypical Jewish mother and the magic of matzo ball soup, was especially entertaining.  Big Bird was hysterical (and you’ll have to read the book to know what that’s all about!)  The secondary characters were interesting, and supported the story and the MCs.  But overall, there were too many negatives, and while I was reading I found myself focusing on them instead of the story.  The point of view alternates between the two men, which became very confusing and periodically I would have to back up a sentence or two to figure out who was doing/saying what to whom.  There were character inconsistencies:  in the first chapter Mac seems to be the geek with OCD, but later on Gideon is.  Gideon is the excellent dancer, then Mac is.  From one sentence to the next Gideon drops his girlfriend but then she drops him.  They decide to have sex without a condom because they don’t have one, and then it appears in the scene.  All questions and conflicts are solved with sex.  There were a few points where there was some real drama and conflict (when extended families get involved), and I thought “Oh, it’s finally getting good!” but then it would devolve into the resolution via sex again.  I think with some tighter editing, the book could have been much better, because it certainly had potential.

Least favorite quote:

“Mac yanked him into a kiss that dared to suck his lips off”

Ugh.  Not sexy.

Cover art is cute.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by A.J. Truman
ASINB01KSL0Y0G
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBrowerton University #3