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REVIEW: Let’s Connect by Kelly Jensen

Silver fox white man in a white button down and blue jeans sits on a floor with his laptop balanced on his knees, heart eyes emojis come from the screen, the title is in a speech bubble.Why I read it:  I received a review copy via the author. The published version has an epilogue but the main story was first released as a free serial for newsletter subscribers (of which I am one).

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  year after his divorce, Daniel Stroman has decided that he’s too young to die—or fuse permanently with his couch. But when he downloads the dating app “Let’s Connect” and starts dating, his success/fail ratio isn’t encouraging until he gets a connection request from Robin.

Everything about Robin’s profile is different, from the bright little bird he’s using as an avatar to the long and thoughtful answers he’s written for the standard questions. He’s witty, funny, and easy to talk to. Robin could be his perfect match. But Robin is holding something back.

Then again, so is Dan—beginning with the seven-year crush he’s carried for his best friend, Trevor. Sadly, except for one brief moment, they’ve never been single at the same time.

Or have they?

What worked for me (and what didn’t): Let’s Connect is structured as a serial with each chapter being one “date”. Chapter one is therefore “First Date” and so on until the end of the novella. It’s intentionally episodic and works well that way.

My theory about what was going on was not quite right and it turns out that was a very good thing but I won’t go into more here because spoilers.

August Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

planetscape in reds yellows and oranges - looks kind of like MarsTo See The Sun by Kelly Jensen, narrated by TJ Clark – B Gael Sonnen is a young man living in the undercity of his home planet, Zhemosen, never allowed to see the sun which is only for the wealthy and privileged who live above ground. He’s also beholden to a bad guy because reasons. When said bad guy requires Gael to murder someone, he is unable to go through with it. With the help of a friend, Gael flees to Alkirak as a kind of “mail order groom”  on a “companion contract”.  Alkirak is very far away from Zhemosen way out of reach of the commonwealth law; a kind of wild west frontier planet, still being terraformed. Abraham (Bram) Bauer is an older guy who is lonely and looking for more than just hook ups. He can get hook ups easily enough but he wants more.

His friend suggests a companion contract and when he sees Gael’s “holo video” he is smitten.  Bram is a farmer and a miner and life is fairly hard where he is but as difficult as things are, for Gael it is a paradise compared to where he grew up (even though he doesn’t immediately see that is the case).

I don’t want to give too much way but I will say there is a strong found family vibe and I was here for it.

I liked the gradual slow burn of the romance and how Gael and Bram made a family together. The last section felt a bit out of left field and I wasn’t convinced the narrative had truly set up the scenario but it wasn’t the main part of the story and I guess things had to come to a head somehow.

May Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

White cover with a red-toned hollow heart with the title in the cenre. On the top right of the heart stand two men, casually dressed, hand in hand.When Was The Last Time by Kelly Jensen – B- This short story (it’s about 40 pages) is a relationship-in-trouble story. Paul and Evan have been together for 15 years but in the past 12 months, their sex life has gone stale. Evan raises it one morning and Paul realises he needs to reprioritise. He’s worried he might lose Evan if he doesn’t change. He plans a romantic Valentine’s Day date but interstate work runs late and he’s faced with a decision to potentially damage his career or potentially damage his relationship.

My impression was the Evan wasn’t anywhere near the stage of walking out but Paul’s wake-up is nevertheless a welcome one. It’s sweet and romantic without a ton of detail. I was curious as to why Evan chose that particular day to raise the issue with Paul – but as there was only Paul’s POV, it remained a mystery.

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