I don’t usually put nonfiction here, but …
It’s the first in a series, 5 or 6 books it appears, and it was free. Win/win, right? I mean, costs me nothing and if I like it, I’ve found a new author. It was lose/lose.
It pains me to do this, really it does. I’ve given a grand total of 1 bad review ever. I don’t mean that everything’s 5-star with me. That’s not fair to the authors and other potential readers. What I mean is that I find the good things to point out in the midst of pointing out the bad stuff. I’m a writer, too. I know what it’s like to have your tiny precious child out there in the cold cruel world, bullied to tears on the first day of kindergarten. (I’m also a mother; been there, done that.) So, a bad review is a rarity for me. I don’t get off on the power of emotional evisceration. I just don’t.
HOWEVER, there are cases.
This was one of them. Like I said, first in a series, all by the same author, unlike some series which use different authors to populate the same bookverse with stories around a theme. It’s the only thing this guy (and it’s a male name) has written that I’ll ever read.
1. The book (and no, I’m not going to name it here: see the evisceration remark above) reads like the author spent about as much time writing it as I did reading it — about an hour and a half. And yes, I read the whole thing. A book has to make me actually vomit before I’ll write about it without reading it cover-to-cover, out of respect for the craft of writing. If this is the best the guy has to offer, I’ll pour out my non-renewable resource, my time, my actual life on something I’d like better, such as having a colonoscopy.
2. The author violated the first rule I learned in writing, back in middle school before the dawn of time. He told the story rather than showing us the story.
3. It wasn’t much of a story. OK, it’s romance/erotica. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a story to tell.
4. For a male author, and I have my doubts about that gender assignment, this dude writes his main characters as if they were women. I don’t mean effeminate. They’re not that. But they think like women, talk like women, react like women. Example: story premise is a spoiled ultra rich arrogant sex machine in his freshman year at Harvard has a nerdy geeky shy skittish (but gay and hot) roommate. SexMachine plays an extremely cruel and humiliating prank on ShyNerd before they’ve known each other an hour. ShyNerd gets him back with an even more cruel and humiliating prank a few days later. Rather than demanding a change of roommates, ShyNerd opens up emotionally and tells SexMachine his deepest darkest most hurtful secret. Really???? OK, given that there’s attraction there, it’s still not what a man would do.
5. Other things are just as unbelievable. Like the college official who stares at their crotches rather than disciplining them for the pranks? REALLY???? Ever hear of Jerry Sandusky?? Ever talked to someone who actually works with children/young people???? Apparently not. As someone who’s been in that position, I promise, a first meeting of that sort would not lead to such a frank admission of a sexual attraction which would lose the official his job, bring scandal on the school, and possibly lead to criminal charges. Nope. Not gonna happen.
6. Despite being repeatedly hurt and humiliated by SexMachine, after the biggest betrayal of all, ShyNerd falls into the sack with SexMachine, who suddenly out of the blue decides he’s in love with ShyNerd and wants to marry him. Yeah. Aerodynamic bacon would be easier to believe. (Pigs flying.)
If you want a taste of gay erotica/romance as it should be written, read anything written by these authors, whom WordPress will not allow me to link, but who are all on Amazon as well as other sites:
Erin O’Quinn – I recommend her 3-book Gaslight Mystery series, set in 1923 in Ireland, very highly, as well as her Warrior series, set in the time of St. Patrick, also in Ireland.
Nya Rawlyns – Her Strogoi Chronicles series (4 books) is a gorgeously written dip into the paranormal – main character is half-Vampyr and half-demon, the son of the Demon Lord of Hel — and her Crow Creek novels, set in the modern American west.
O’Quinn & Rawlyns have teamed up to write Bighorn, which is among the finest romance/erotica novels ever written. I urge you to read that one, if none else. It’s set in modern times, in O’Quinn’s home state of Nevada.
Sessha Batto – Her Shinobi Saga (4 book series) takes a fascinating (and dark) look at some of the sensual mysteries of Japanese culture.
M. Peters – Her first book Undisclosed Desire is the tale of a vampire who loses his heart to a confidently heterosexual Spanish godling, set in the 1600s in Spain. Her second, a later follow-on to the first, is in the works.