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


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.

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Book Details:

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

A Sammy Review: Behind Closed Doors (Browerton University #1.5) by A.J. Truman


Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Behind Closed DoorsAt Browerton University, a lot can happen behind closed doors.

Two frat brothers can reveal their true feelings. An honor student’s dark past can come to light. Ten hours in a car can turn strangers into lovers. And a coach can teach his star quarterback a very valuable lesson.

Catch up with some familiar Browerton students and meet new ones. Four stories. Four doors. Endless possibilities.

Door Number One: The Whitmore Room (Out in the Open prequel)
Door Number Two: Is There a Porn Star in my Class?
Door Number Three: Road Trip Cone of Silence
Door Number Four: Coach’s Revenge

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a collection of gay new adult romance stories filled with humor, heart, and hot guys. The book is intended for audiences 18+ as it contains explicit sex and language. Approx. 30,000 words.

Behind Closed Doors is comprised of four short stories that give a quick glance at life at Browerton University. The first story, The Whitmore Room, is a prequel to the first book in this series and tells of Greg’s first gay encounter with his fraternity big. The second story, Is there a Porn Star in My Class?, has Blake on the quest to figure out if his classmate is the stunning porn star Austin Kelly or just a regular guy. Next is Road Trip Cone of Silence. When Henry sees an ad with someone looking for another person to drive to Chicago with over break, he takes the chance to get away from everything, including his closeted potentially ex-boyfriend. But his driving mate Nolan is not quite what he expected. And rounding out the stories is Coach’s Revenge. When the QB of the football starts to harass a fellow player who just came out, the coach takes it into his hands to teach the QB a lesson.

Porn stars did not go to college in the middle of Pennsylvania. They lived in Los Angeles or Miami, where it was warm, where they didn’t need their brains. Blake wished his life was this exciting. It wasn’t. Porn stars did not go to Browerton University and take art history classes on Wednesday afternoons. They didn’t study the David. They were the David.

The stories in this book all have one thing going for them. They’re quick, often hot, little reads. You can fly through them in an afternoon and still have plenty of time left to do chores without any guilt that you put a book first (…speaking from experience.)

Unfortunately, they suffer from what I call “short story syndrome.” For the most part, they lack depth and don’t necessarily grab the readers attention. The second story in particular had this issue for me. It moved very quickly and the end felt like a freight train coming out of left field. The relationship and characters unfortunately lacked development for me.

The first story is one that I was conflicted about. It was great to see Greg again, but reading about him with another guy was a bit off putting for me. It is a prequel, which is important to note, but I felt like I understood enough about what happened in this situation from the first book to not necessarily need this. I also felt like when it came to the actual sex scene between them, it was over in literally the blink of an eye. I suppose that if you’re going to go there, you should probably actually go there the whole way.

The story I preferred the most was Road Trip Cone of Silence – though the title confused me. I kept thinking the author typo’d code and made it cone. This one had a little bit of trauma and a lot a bit of hot. Like the others, it happened to fast, but it was a cute story.

As for Coach’s Revenge, I’m very conflicted. It was steaming, but it was also very heavily dub-con. I don’t mind dub-con at all, but this one just didn’t quite sit right with me and I wasn’t really expecting it to go there.

In general, the author still shows some good story-telling skills, but I think that maybe they are more suited for long stories than short ones.

The breakdown of story ratings:

The Whitmore Room: 3 stars
Is there a Porn Star in My Class?: 3 stars
Road Trip Cone of Silence: 3.5 stars
Coach’s Revenge: 3.5 stars

The cover art by James at GoOnWrite.com is nice and simple, but it doesn’t really apply to any of these stories specifically. So as far as a generic cover, it’s nice, but not original.

Sales Links: Goodreads | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published June 30th 2015 (first published June 29th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBrowerton University #1.5

A Sammy Review: Out in the Open (Browerton University #1) by A.J. Truman


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When Ethan thought about it, though, when was the last time he had had real fun? College was supposed to be a party. For him, it’d been more of a dinner party.

Out in the Open coverEthan Follett is a good student. He’s passionate about law and has big dreams, and most of the time you can find him studying or hanging out with his small group of friends – never at a party. He spent his time in high school invisible, and that’s mostly how he’s spending it in college, too.

Greg Sanderson throws a wrench into that plan. Greg is disarmingly witty, always trying to sink further under Ethan’s skin, and it’s working. But when he pushes too far, they both get the shock of their life… something that leads to much more.

Things are changing for Ethan. Between public (sex)capades, new friends, and falling hard, he’s not sure how long he can be someone’s dirty little secret.

“Since when did you become so invincible?”

Since I met you.”

I so enjoyed this. I literally destroyed it, in the sense that once I started to read I could not stop. Come hell or high water (or a 6AM wake up, whatever) I was going to consume this all tonight, and boy did I.

I so fell in love with the characters. I was worried at first that we wouldn’t get to see more of who Greg truly is, but then the author really delivered, especially when they included Sahil in everything. I would’ve liked to get to see even more of Greg’s world, especially with Ethan in it.

ANYWHO. I was surprised at how much fun I had with this. I was wary initially with the stereotypes that Ethan and his friends had towards fraternities/sororities (being a member myself), but with characters like Lorna, I was pleasantly surprised. She summed it up well in saying that some people suck, but not all. Well, her words were much more eloquent, but you get the point.

The cover art by James at GoOnWrite.com is nice and simple. It’s a good-looking guy, so I certainly appreciate that, but it doesn’t say anything special about that story, I’m afraid. Still nice to look at though.

So now that I’ve read this I can go to bed happy and hope for more of Ethan and Greg? Please? I’m quite looking forward to Behind Closed Doors.

Sales Links:  All Romance eBook  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published September 25th 2014 by Smashwords Edition
original titleOut in the Open
seriesBrowerton University #1