Tag Archives: HEA

19May/17

Review of Sugar & Spice by Garett Groves

The spicy Garett Groves recently delighted us on our show! To hear more about Garett, listen to his interview and find links to his work, follow this link…. Episode 110:  Bad Pantser: Be A Plotter!

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although part of a series (Spice of Life), it was a standalone, straightforward read, with zingy dialogue and two engaging main characters.

When I first started reading, I thought Max, the young, hot, clueless wannabe model, was a bit of a knob, to be honest (US readers, that isn’t a good thing.) He certainly didn’t endear himself to me when we were first introduced. Yes, he has the body, but he also has a self-destructive streak that I wanted to slap out of him. It was hardly surprising that Lucas, the older man who had been around the block a few times, was wary when Max made play for him in a gay bar. Encounters like that seem rarely destined to last.

But Lucas was a sweetie. I had the feeling that the author was trying for David Gandy, but I read Lucas as Henry from Cucumber. The image was thankfully shaken off when he and Max first hook up for their first pearl-clutching sexual encounter, after which, Lucas has the presence of mind to leave, rather than fall headlong into an improbable “mind-blowing sex all night” scenario.

And it is this restraint which makes the book work. Max does all the running. Lucas is the one holding back. At 45, he has doubts about his viability both as a lover and and photographer, so when Max has eyes for no-one else, he is understandably wary.

Max is also learning a sharp lesson in humility, after being fired from his job and dumped as favoured model for his photographer ex-boyfriend, but he is also wary of Lucas’s motives for wanting to hire him for his own photography purposes.

When they begin to work together, the awkwardness is almost painful, and Lucas’s attempts to make things right between Max and his former crush are excruciating, but in a good, “read it behind my fingers” way. You’re never really sure whether these two will make a successful couple. The odds seem stacked against them, for all Lucas’s wealth and Max’s worldliness, but the pay-off is worth the slow burn. (No spoilers – the author guarantees an HEA on Amazon. Also, no cheating or cliffhangers – good to know for people who hate both, like me.)

The author has paced this book very skilfully, creating an enjoyable, fun read with depth, and characters that feel real and well-rounded. And Lance, Max’s frenemy, is hilarious. I spent most of the book not trusting him, expecting him to stab Max in the back. Will he? Won’t he? Read it and find out.

BLURB

 After getting rejected by the only guy that he’s ever allowed himself to feel something more than lust for, Max Williams has convinced himself that the bachelor’s life is the only way for him to live. At 28, Max has everything he needs for it: a smoking body, just enough money to keep the drinks coming, and an endless supply of guys that are more than happy to keep his bed warm at night. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that something is missing.
When he loses his day job thanks to his partying and the modeling career he’d been trying to build collapses, Max isn’t sure of so sure of himself anymore, but there’s one thing he knows without a doubt: something’s got to give.

Lucas White has a reputation of his own–and he’s tired of it. The security provided by his cushy job as editor-in-chief of a legendary local photography magazine has kept him stagnant for too long both professionally and personally. He never dreamed he’d be able to retire by the age of 45 and start his own passion project, but that’s exactly where he’s found himself and it hasn’t been an easy transition.

While celebrating his last day at the office, Lucas and Max get up close and personal at a new bar and Lucas’s entire world turns into a photo negative. Max is the perfect model that he’s been looking for to bring fresh eyes to his new venture, but he looks so much like someone who once broke his heart–and Lucas isn’t sure that he can look at Max’s beautiful body every day for work without continuing to touch it.

Against his better judgment, Lucas hires Max. As they start working together, the line between employer and employee quickly blurs, and not even the pact they made to remain strictly professional seems to keep things in focus. Though they know better, neither man can resist their desire for something more–but Max is afraid of commitment, and Lucas can’t stomach the idea of being taken advantage of by another pretty face.

Will their differences bring them down, or will they come together like sugar and spice?

27Jul/16

A More Perfect Union (Anthology – various)

a-more-perfect-unionWe were fortunate enough to have all four authors of A More Perfect Union on the show! Listen to their interview and get links to their work on Episode 062 – Celebrating Perfect Unions

REVIEW

A delicious quartet of stories to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage equality. Poignant, tense and at times horrific, some are based on personal experience. It’s humbling to read these tales of ordinary people who just want to get married, to have legality as well as equality. It isn’t about swans and over-the-top nuptials, just the simple fact of being acknowledged and recognised as a legal married couple. That right has been denied for so long, and to hear the things that some couples have been through is shocking, though sadly all too true.

Flames – J Scott Coatsworth

What happens when your partner is involved in a terrible accident and taken to hospital in a coma, but because you are not legally “next of kin” his family are entitled to keep you from seeing him? Alex has made a terrible mistake and is desperate to be by Gio’s side and talk him out of his coma, but Gio’s mother has other ideas. Alex has always resisted the idea of marriage, thinking it’s an unnecessary formality, but now he will do anything to make sure Gio knows he really is committed to him. If he ever wakes up. A romantic tale from a terrific author who knows how to tug at the heartstrings.

Jeordi and Tom – Michael Murphy

Jeordi is also involved in an accident, and has bigoted parents who disagree with his relationship with Tom. Despite all the odds, they run away to get married in another state, only to be thwarted by a Kim Davis-like figure who won’t do her job on account of her “beliefs.” Then their luck changes, and the gay community rally round in the best way possible. A sweet, romantic tale with an undertone of despair from another accomplished author.

Destined – Jamie Fessenden

Jay and Wallace are destined to be together, but somehow, keep missing each other. When they finally do get together, it isn’t all sparkles and cupcakes. They have obstacles to overcome and have to stay strong. Their love is the tie that binds them, but this story illustrates that HEA’s do not come easily if you’re not straight. I love Jamie Fessenden’s writing, and his warmth for these characters shines through.

Someday – B G Thomas

A massive story, crammed into a shorter one. It all starts with a shoelace, and turns into a love affair that at first seems unrequited. Lucas is the boy determined to marry Dalton, from their first day at kindergarten. In less skilled hands, this might have seemed stalkerish, but it doesn’t. It works, from teenage antics to deep lasting love, Thomas has created a grand love affair between characters that deserve more than just a short story.

So in effect, all four of these tales touch on the problems that gay couples have come up again and again, even since the marriage equality bill was passed. There is a lot of work still to do, yet they are ultimately uplifting, all very different, and massively enjoyable to read. I learned a lot, but also, could not put this book down. The writing is exemplary in all cases, so it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Love against the odds, the importance of honesty in relationships, the need to be strong in order to fight for the things that others take for granted. Every Bridezilla should read this, and be bloody grateful she has never had these kind of issues to deal with.