Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow – B Very good sexy short about a good looking student with no money who trades sex for a place to stay. After being kicked out of one place, he moves in with geeky Russell, a friend of a friend. Russell is not expecting sex however and Luke has to learn to navigate a totally different kind of relationship. They become friends and Luke begins to value himself again. It was very sweet and I could happily have read on. I would have liked more of their HEA but it was a very enjoyable story.
Cop Out by KC Burn – B/B- Set in Toronto, this is the story of Kurt, a police officer who loses his partner Ben in the line of duty. He finds out that his partner left behind a life partner of 10 years, Davy. Ben was deeply in the closet and Kurt is distressed to know that Ben hadn’t been open with him at all about his personal life and they obviously hadn’t been the friends he had thought they were. Nevertheless, Kurt decides that he will help Davy – he has no-one else except for a sister going through a high risk pregnancy and he’s just devastated. Because Ben was so far into the closet he could have been living in Narnia, Davy has lost contact with all his friends and he’s just about suicidal when Kurt first takes him in hand (no pun intended). Kurt isn’t a ladies man by any stretch, he’s never had all that much luck and prefers his right hand actually, but he’s always regarded himself as straight. However, over a few months, he begins to reevaluate that label because he’s having major feelings for Davy. This book had a bit of a clunky start for me but Chris from Stumbling Over Chaos gave this one 4 stars so I figured I should persist and I’m glad I did. The writing certainly got better, IMO, as the book progressed. I was captivated by the characters and their emotional journey and that’s what kept me going even through the beginning which was a bit hit and miss as starts go.
Kurt comes from a big Irish Catholic family and as he comes to realise he’s gay, he agonises over how and whether to come out. I appreciated quite a few things about this book – Kurt wasn’t “gay for you”. He realised, via his feelings for Davy, that he was gay but after he’d come to that conclusion, he realised he was attracted to guys in general. Another thing I appreciated was that the latter part of the book skipped over a fair period of time – Kurt and Davy spent some time apart getting their shit together separately and they each made a positive decision to be together – there was no nasty co-dependence or anything and Kurt had his sexual identify sorted by then.
There wasn’t a lot of sex in the book but what there was was very good and there was quite a bit of sexual tension at times. I thought Kurt’s coming out was perhaps a bit easy (but, really, what would I know?) and I did wonder that Davy was the sexual agrressor in their relationship. It had always seemed to me that Ben must have been the aggressor in his relationship with Davy as he had Davy completely cowed to the point that Kurt felt it was emotional abuse. I’m by no means an expert in “teh gay” but it did seem a bit odd that Davy was the top in Kurt and his relationship. Maybe a sentence or two in the narrative could have cleared that up for me. This wasn’t a perfect book but from an emotional perspective it definitely delivered for me. If you find the start a bit clunky, I do recommend you read on. I think you’ll find it’s worth it. Thx for the rec Chris!
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – B-/C+ This is the second book in the Cut & Run series by Urban and Roux, featuring FBI agents, Ty Grady and Zane Garrett. In book 1, they commence their professional partnership and start having sex – it’s not what either would call a relationship initially, but by the end, there is a hopeful HFN. I had some problems with the first book – I found it quite disjointed and the main characters spent a lot of time apart (of which I’m not a fan), but online friends I trust encouraged me to stick with the series. I find both Ty and Zane compelling characters and they keep me reading even when other things in the story bother me. This one was a better book, for me, but still not great. Still, I do enjoy the chemistry between Zane and Ty and, like I said before, I find them compelling reading. This book mainly takes place in the mountains of West Virginia when a hiking trip Ty takes with his dad, his brother and Zane goes wrong. There was some clumsy writing – the use of the same word in the same sentence or paragraph for example and some frustrating things – statements that were (for me) unclear or unfinished. By the second half of the book however, the tension had ramped up and the emotions between Ty and Zane had me hooked and reeled right in. There is something about this couple that keeps me coming back and I decided to read Fish & Chips (book 3) next to see where they would take me next.
The Kid by Dan Savage – B+ I read it, so it’s going in. Sure, it’s not really a romance novel – although it is about love and commitment. The funny and touching story of Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s adoption of their son DJ. I really enjoyed it. I can’t really grade it the same way as a romance novel because it’s not fiction. It’s not like I can say – oh, if only the character had done such and such now can I? But, as entertainment, I found it easy and funny and touching reading and I highly recommend it.
The Next Always by Nora Roberts, narrated by McLeod Andrews – B. I really liked this one too. I wasn’t sure I would because I’d heard there was a lot of inn renovation in there, but I didn’t find it overpowering and I enjoyed the romance between Claire and Beckett. Mr. Andrews is a new-to-me narrator but I hope to hear more of him as he did a great job here. My full review will be up at AAR in a forthcoming Speaking of Audiobooks column.
Bad Kaetrin. I promise to do better next month. 🙂