Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TBR Challenge: Patricia Briggs - Alpha and Omega

Anna Latham never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the Chicago pack, she's learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But when she discovers wrongdoing in her pack, she has to go above her Alpha's head to ask for help.
Charles Cornick is the son — and enforcer — of the leader of the North American werewolves. Now his father has sent him to Chicago to clean up a problem there. Charles never expected to find Anna, a rare Omega wolf — and he certainly never expected to recognize her as his mate...

Comment: This month, as usual, the theme for January is short stories or novellas or something short. I don't have anything against short stories but I confess I prefer the (expected and hopeful) development in a full length book to better show me everything.
Nevertheless, I knew this short story would be a must and considering I plan to start the Alpha and Omega series soon, reading this prequel now was quite handy.

In this short story, we meet Anna and Charles, two very different people who happen to be werewolves. Each one comes from a different background and lived different experiences, but there's something common between them and it's not just an enemy to face. Could they get along to solve a mystery?

Anyone who has doubts on how a short story should be, needs to read this one.
Content aside - although it was quite good too - the best aspect of this short story is how full and well structured it is. I think it can only be a show of talent from the author to have written a short story where the reader goes through it as if it were a lengthier one instead. I tell you, this 60 page story is introduced, developed and concluded like so many bigger stories are.

The story presents a world where werewolves exist and have lives like any human. We learn quite a lot from this little story, not only how werewolves can exist and are made or born, but we have an idea of how werewolves communities should be or not. Many information is inferred through characters' reactions, but this is where we can see the author's talent. All the things we learn aren't done in a boring way, there isn't any information dumping and all the details are enough to engage the reader but not detailed enough to tell all. Very well done and this kept me riveted to the plot development until the very end.

I'm not new to the author, I've been a fan of her Mercy Thompson series for years now so I know what to expect, style and voice included. But this world has different key characters, it's told from a third person narrator, unlike the Mercy series, so the way the reader sees things obviously changes. But I liked reading this and going through all the aspects presented.

There's the start of a romance between Charles and Anna. Of course nothing important happens at least not to the point where we can fully understand, but the promise alone is enough to make me want to keep reading. One thing we can know right away is, their relationship will always be balanced, even if there are things to see and know before any further developments happen. This really made me happy, to see how, after such a short amount of time, I can just know things will be interesting and special.

All in all, the people who kept recommending this short story to me were correct, it's fascinating, entertaining and feels fuller and bigger than its mere 60 pages. Of course some things are still too dark to understand and that's normal. There are things in the story we could see done different but overall it doesn't ruin the book.
I can't wait to read more next month.
To those who haven't read it yet and are interested in the series like me, go get it.
Grade: 8/10

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gabrielle Zevin - The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man
Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island - from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.

Comment: This book wasn't in my plans but after seeing it was the book chosen to be read at one of my book clubs, I checked the blurb and thought to myself I'd probably would like to read it, even more so after getting the idea it might have a romance in there as well. I immediately got the ebook and started reading a few days later. While my final opinion isn't what I expected of it, I still think it was a good book to have been read.

In this book, we follow the life of AJ Fikry, a bookstore owner in Alice island who rarely pays attention to anything but his own taste in books. However, things change when two things happen to him and he has to make drastic changes in his life. As time passes by, AJ starts feeling alive again and realizing what surrounds him and what others might be feeling matters too, because despite him living in a island, he isn't one himself.

I have a sort of mixed feeling about a certain aspect of this story. I liked everything about it except the reason why it ended the way it did. I mean, I can accept the idea that drama makes it easier for people to feel things more or that it can intensify the story or the reaction to it, but after such a great story about living again about respecting books and opinions, why did things have to end like they did... the book's content wasn't superfluous or easy to imagine if it was real. Why like that except to intensify a story that had already provided more than enough situations to make he reader think and come to an opinion? I can't understand that nor why the end felt a bit abrupt, after such a consciously written story.

Apart from my personal preferences and questions, I do have to say the story is very good. It's divided onto two parts and it's written in a fast paced style, featuring eclectic characters whose personalities we sure can associate with their reading habits, something that happens throughout the book.
I think diversity in reading is something to cheer on and the fact we can have this story where so many people talk about books and their reactions to them is wonderful. Like the example of the character who hated a book because it made her cry and isn't that a review on it's own? Really liked to see the books and love for books and conversations about them and lives molded because of books in this story.

AJ Fikry is a fascinating character. He only sees books, he defends his taste to the end of an argument and only after life changing events does he relax and starts being more sociable. I liked him and his thought processes and his love for books. 
The characters that surround them all have a little special something and each one addresses a situation that we see all the time in reality but in this story has a new take because of the way books have an important role. I liked how the author mixed characterization and books that way.

Maya is a fascinating character. In the second part, she writes a short story that, considering the context, was fascinating and like a rock to one's heart because of its heartbreaking simplicity. Despite that, or because of that I should say, I can't understand why the book had to end the way it did. It's all mostly explained but it didn't feel right for me. We all see different things in the same books, so I can accept it as my own issue, but still...

I know other readers will probably speak about it much better than I did, but for me, after all things considered, it was an amazing story that could have ended better.
But the author's work in creating the characters, the situations and the constant book related issues was well done and for that alone I might try something else by her one day.
Grade: 7/10

Monday, January 19, 2015

Alexandra Ivy - Darkness Avenged

As the demon world celebrates the defeat of the Dark Lord, the vampire Santiago’s mood remains bleak. He still yearns for the sensual, raven-haired Nefri, who has inexplicably disappeared. But brooding for Nefri is a luxury that Santiago does not have. His traitorous sire, Gaius, is unleashing a violent scourge upon the mortal world, and Santiago must stop him before it’s too late...
To her dismay, the all-powerful Oracles have sent Nefri on her own mission to find Gaius, and failure is not an option. Nefri’s search leads her to the vampire’s abandoned lair—and straight into Santiago’s path. It’s clear Santiago intends to seduce her, but then an ancient, banished evil reappears, threatening to thrust the world into a madness it cannot survive...

Comment: It's been ages since I've read a book by this author. Actually since 2013. However, I do feel happy I can still remember several facts and names despite not everything important.
This is the 10th installment in a series that has seen many years, and like the author herself said, that was quite the surprise.

This is Nefri and Santiago's story which, if memory isn't failing me, were important in the previous book as well, where their story was set up.
Nefri is a vampire who lived for centuries and after a rime she went with her family, community to another sort of dimension or place where emotions were ruled out so the vampires couldn't fall prey to feelings, maintaining control of their powers that way.
However, problems came up in the form of some villains, one of them Gaius, a vampire who should live with Nefri in their society apart from others. Since the previous book Nefri joined forces with Santiago, Gaius' adopted son, to catch him and save the world, sort of.

Well, I was amazed by how much I still remembered after two years of not reading anything by the author. Still, I can't say I was immensely happy about this book because, to be honest, it wasn't as good as some others I liked better. In this story, not only is the romance too boring, but the plot isn't very appealing to em either.

Truthfully, like some other readers, whose reviews I've seen, the best thing about this installment ended up being the setting up for the next book in the series. It will feature Sally the witch and Roke, the vampire and I'm actually interested in reading that one.

Apart from this, I can't say much about a story that really was boring and where not even the characters gave any strength to carry it over either.
The plot followed the same things we've seen in all books, the battle against enemies who want to kill the good guys or expose the paranormal world to humans or some other catastrophe. But the beauty in the books is how the couple usually bonds over their common goals and the feelings between them.
In this book, the plot was more of the same but there wasn't any other elements to support it through out so many pages where everything was boring.

The romance didn't appeal to me. Nefri is reluctant to admit she likes Santiago and I do understand her reasons, practicality, age, trying to keep things separate, not having to deal with it, it can be anything but if she were to be believable in her options all would be well. But Nefri gives in despite her actions and behavior and this, instead of telling me, she had feelings she didn't want to share - which is the reason behind her reluctance, only shows me she can be persuaded to gave up her ideas to be with someone. Sure he never forces her to anything but I wonder if she didn't feel more pity than love for him somehow. Of course this is never said, it's just my reading of their behavior. 

In the end they get their HEA but it's weird, a bit unlike the majority and the idea they go to be together where Nefri lives sounds annoying after so much time with him trying to show her she deserves to experience feelings again and so on...
Anyway, this story seemed to focus more on the romance, which I didn't think was that great, but even this didn't make the book a winner for me.
I do have hopes for the next one and will be reading it soon.
Grade: 5/10

Lori Brighton - Wild Heart

Leo Roberts is next in line for an earldom and the power and fortune that come with it, but he is uncultured, unrefined--and completely untamed. . . until governess Ella Finch arrives upon the scene. Can so young and inexperienced a woman tutor him in the manners and mores of his class? Leo's mysterious past has rendered him an outsider, too wild for polite society. But he finds her innocence most intriguing. . .
What manner of man he may be, Ella does not know. Yet he fascinates her and she must know more. Capturing Leo's reckless heart is about to free her in ways she never dreamed of. . . and his sensual touch releases the deepest yearnings of her body and soul . . .

Comment: Here's another of the many books I've got for some reason that at the moment I pick them to be read, I no longer recall why they are there. Probably something about the blurb caught my eye but I can't really say. It's been in the pile for months, so on one of my attempts to be fair to those "forgotten" books, I wrote down its title to be read in January.

This is the story of Ella Finch and how the woman who always looked for her, even without affection, practically gives her to the employ of an old man who wants a teacher/governess to his grandson.
Leo is the grandson, left alone on the Indian jungle after the death of his parents. Leo wants revenge and he knows who were the killers,he just needs prove. Being in England is a challenge and his behavior makes others think of him as stupid and easily dismissed, but in reality Leo knows what he's doing, but Ella makes him feel and want even more than he thought possible.

This story had everything to work out well for me: an orphan, poor young woman having to work to keep her dignity and food on her table and a misunderstood man who only needed affection and caring to become what society and his family wanted of him, happiness and stability. Add a woman who did her duty and got rid of the heroine when possible and an old man who wanted his son to be accepted again, I really set myself to be wowed.

If this story seemed a romance on the starts to be developed, I have to confess what came after was quite the surprise. The romance and HEA still happened of course, but totally not how I thought it would. This story if full of strange elements that were supposed to bring an extra sense to everything but in my opinion it just added to the confusion.
One thing, however, I do have to admit, the plot kept surprising me; I just can't say it was for good reasons.

Ella and Leo both have things about them that make them special, Leo's experience in the jungle and Ella's ability to communicate with animals, not speak to them, just calming them or sensing what they are feeling. These two things make the main couple special, but the plot around them jumped from intriguing to full of mysticism and some ridiculous scenes I kept thinking what was happening.

The romance was ok, I guess the part where we are suppose to believe their are in love and will be happy was well enough, but the plot....the reasons why the bad guys - surprise on them too! - acted the way they did, the ways they made things happen, the amount of time spend on that, all the plot related issues were a surprise alright, but I was confused and the paranormal aspects of this story felt like too much and I wonder how this would be without it.
I think there were too many silly things to make this story enjoyable, even despite the interesting human study one could make of each character.

All in all, a good setting up, but the development and execution weren't always a match to both the expectations and ideas from the beginning of the story. My opinion, of course.
This is the first of a trilogy but I don't know if I'll read them, to be honest I'm not that curious about the elements left unsolved here.
Grade: 5/10

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Joanne Harris - A Cat, A Hat and a Piece of String

'Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you'll find another story.'
 Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, here is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris's exceptional storytelling art. Sensuous, wicked, mischievous, uproarious and wry, here are tales that combine the everyday with the unexpected; wild fantasy with bittersweet reality.
 From the house where it is Christmas all year round, to a ghost who lives on a Twitter timeline; from the Congo where a young girl braves the raging rapids to earn a crust of bread, to Norse gods battling for survival in Manhattan; and a newborn baby created with sugar, spice and lashings of cake, these stories will ensnare and delight you with their variety and inventiveness.

Comment: I borrowed this book from a friend who's a great fan of the author. This book is a collection of short stories, all featuring something that inspired the author, whether a foreign trip or the current trends of social networks.
There are several short stories, but I didn't like them all. Some of them are boring and I had to struggle to understand what the purpose was and after finishing them I only felt relief, not exactly the sense of a well spent time.

According to several reviews, I believe most readers agree on which are the favorite stories. Personally, I've liked three best, for their apparent realistic beginning, the truth of what moves a human being to act like that, until something else happens and the story evolved into something more, different, unreal, but slightly disturbing.
Despite having favorites, all stories had a sort of ideal purpose, something the author wanted to make the reader think about. Nevertheless, like I said, some were more successful for me than others.

Of the stories I liked, three were my favorites for their strange elements that make one wonder.
First, "Do You Want To Reconnect?", a story about a mother whose young son died and their twitter accounts are now full of sorrowful messages. But the mother misses her son so much, one day, the automatic program sends her a message asking if she wants to reconnectt with her son's account. But if he isn't there anymore.... This story clearly highlights the need we have nowadays to be in contact with everyone, most social networks users can't seem to live without it anymore and sometimes there's a thin boundary that is crossed. I think this was an intriguing story because of the urgency in understanding if we aren't becoming too dependent on what a machine makes us feel. But from a  human POV, the pain and loss make us do things, just like her mother, seeing replies where they couldn't exist...

Second, "Dryad", a woman falls in love with a tree and leaves everything else behind. This is harder to accept, I'm sure, but I think that we all must like or love an object or something so much we could almost exchange everything to the way that thing might make us feel.  I think the story is a good example of how someone's reality might change suddenly and we want to cherish what matters to us and sometimes we can't help it, even in detriment of the human connection to other people. Still, what a thought, if we could live only for a purpose to the point of forgetting who we are and who is around us...

Third, in "Cookie", where a woman who lost a baby and her boyfriend gets even with food, and eats and gains weight but can't accept her losses and starts acting weird without any grasp of reality. She eats and believes a baby is growing inside her again and she doesn't need anything else...
This story was quite disturbing because it obviously points out two aspects of today's society which affect people, mostly women, quite heavily, the betrayal and the need to hide a food addiction. In this story, the main character has to deal with both and my take is she lost her way and her concept of what was real. She eats because she thinks she's pregnant and she even thinks she eventually gave birth to something only the ex boyfriend sees but which I think is a bed full of sweets. This story was intriguing anyway and how sad some women find comfort in food or in believing in unreal happenings to support their minds.

These three were my favorites, some others were good and then there were the boring ones. The ones I had more difficulty to get over with. However, this book is a collection of stories and I've graded according to the full content, which I did read completely.
Despite this, the author's talent is easily seen recognizable and as always the stories feature interesting, real problems and situations, but they all have a sort of twist, the author's trademark. Even the stories without any extra paranormal detail have a special thing to them.
All in all, an entertaining read, but I've had better from ms Harris.
Grade: 6/10

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Heaven, Texas

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.
But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can only be made in Heaven

Comment: This is the second installment of the Chicago Stars series by SEP. This is a very known contemporary series by the author, whose work I've tried last year and now plan to keep reading throughout the year.

I've decided to put this on my Alphabet Soup challenge status, with the alphabet running through titles of books, by picking a title with the letter H. According to the rules, the alphabet doesn't have to be followed in order, so, H it is to start with.

This is the story of Bobby Tom Denton, one of the athletes from Chicago Stars who we've met in the first book. Now, Bobby Tom has retired due to an injury and he doesn't know what to do with all his money or his life. He is starring in a movie and his hometown need him to still be viable and in the middle of the confusion that is his routine he meets Gracie Snow, a young woman sent by the film company to make him show up so the movie can start. But Gracie isn't like all the women usually seen around Bobby Tom and even more, she sees in him what others don't. Could this be a match made in heaven?

Two things I like about this author which I now realize are trademarks of hers. First, the fact her stories, despite some unlikely scenes, are quite well structured and following a logical human behavior. And also, how the romances, being it the main one and a slightly secondary one too, always manage to feel balanced because the couple complement each other.
These two things make this a author I now plan to read further. I like how her style is easy to follow and to appreciate. I like her voice and style and how the whole book environment was set to be, meaning from the character's building to the plot development, the story is approachable, easily recognizable and has a path a reader can follow well, without too many things clogging the story line or unrelated subjects that could turn this into a mess. The author has a target, a goal and writes to it, creating characters full of life and human traits I liked seeing. Like the scene when Suzy feels guilty over something she did and her reaction to it.

The romance also worked out for me. I think Bobby Tom had some less than stellar thoughts here and there but as a reader we have access to his thoughts and actions so we know why he acts and speaks like that. Gracie is sweet and I thought she would be more shy but her development, her growing trust in what surrounded her and her building self confidence were aspects I liked seeing.
I think they complement each other because where he is impulsive, she is more conscious of others, where he dreams, he is realistic, where he dares, she is more cautious, where he is determined and brave, she is a good learner and listener. I liked how their personalities fit each other well. This allowed the romance to feel more secure and real and that worked out well too.

The book is full of funny scenes. Although I didn't find them all that funny, I liked how that alleviated the tone from the more serious scenes, which do happen. Like I said, the author managed to give a good balance to the story.

This story worked out for me. I liked Gracie a lot and these days I feel I need to empathize with something about the heroine, or her alone, so that the book to work out completely for me. In this case it was so and thus the positive grade. I'll be eager to read more in the series.
Grade: 8/10

Carla Kelly - Miss Chartley's Guided Tour

To all appearances, Miss Omega Chartley is a schoolteacher on holiday. In fact she is a gentlewoman fallen on hard times, left at the altar eight years earlier and forced to make her own way in the world after the loss of her family fortune. Omega’s modest tour of England is cut short when she comes to the aid of a runaway. Jamie Clevenden has fled the clutches of a brutal uncle, and Omega is determined to help him escape the law, as represented by Bow Street Runner, Mr. Timothy Platter. 
Aided by a kindly war veteran and his adopted daughter, the two fugitives arrive at the home of Jamie’s other uncle, the Viscount of Byford—none other than Miss Chartley’s disgraced fiancé, Matthew Bering. 
There Miss Chartley will finally learn the secret that Lord Byford has hidden from her all these years, the story of a dark chapter in his past that stands in the way of not only their happiness but that of his nephew. Now they must face the truth together, no matter how dire the consequences. 

Comment: After reading four books by the author I became a fan. I like the writing and the style and I decided I'd get more books by her to read. I don't have them all, but I slowly got the ones I thought I'd enjoy the most. This title was one of them but I have to say, time did not pass here...

This is the story of Omega Chartley and how she plans to have a humble holiday before starting her new job. However, nothing goes as planned and she sees herself in a lot of misunderstandings and an adventure she never imagined which goes against the proper image other have of her.
While trying to help a young boy, Omega must face old issues, new adventures and the fact her own heart isn't as professional as she build it to be since a heartbreak eight long years ago...

This is one of the first books written by the author and it does show. The other works I've read by ms Kelly are more recent and comparing the style and structure, the differences are obvious. This book feels less refined than her other, newer books.
I think that, if I didn't know, this story could have been written by someone else while the other books share a sort of detail that I've came to associate with the author's style. I must say that, after being captivated by her more polished work, this older story leaves something to be desired.

Omega Chartley is a teacher, she belonged to a rich family but after her fiancé left her at the altar and her father's death, she didn't have anything else but work and along with her brother, all she had left in the world.
The beginning of the book did feel like a story by Carla Kelly, the setting up, the heroine with troubles and a less than desirable financial situation, the slow paced start, all this was very alike what I expected. Then Omega helps a boy, they later meet a young girl and a former soldier and I truly thought the story would be about the romance between them.
However, the plot wasn't meant to go that path. What came after was a mix of soap opera, adventure and clichés done in a way I never imagined this author would come up with.
Things started to become rather predictable, obvious and I lost most of my interest. I also think the slow polishing in the first half, more or less, of the novel stopped and after that everything changed completely in tone, voice and style.

I won't go into spoilers, but let's say the past caught up with the main characters, which I have to say, no longer captivated me. I wasn't disappointed because I did take into consideration the date, but after four amazing books, of course I thought this would be more of the same. It only serves to say time passes and like everyone else, authors also gain from experience and time.

I'm still interested in reading more and I will, but I'll try to be more realistic in my expectations of older titles. This one had many elements which would work out well and I'm convinced that written by the current ms Kelly, it would be better, but things are as they are and despite the promise and peeking into what might have been, I still can't say this was as special as that.
Grade: 5/10

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jet Mykles - Noble

Donny “Foxy” Foxley is hot. Noble knows it. All those screaming teen girls know it. And so does the production company with their millions staked on the teen idol's dreamy good looks.
So when the supposedly straight movie star comes onto him, Noble is floored. Never one to ignore the allure of a pretty young man, Noble can't resist and doesn't even try. Why should he? Even if it has to be a secret, he’d be crazy to pass up a night of sexytimes with the one man everyone wants.
But one night turns into two, then blossoms into a friendship with the potential for so much more. If that’s what Noble was after, which he's not. But Foxy gets under Noble’s skin until he cares way too much. Because there can never be anything but sex between them. To the world, Foxy is straight and Noble is anything but.

Comment: This is the last installment in the Indigo Knights series by Jet Mykles. I've read all the books in the series and what they all have in common, besides the type of plot, is how to the point the stories feel, meaning there's a goal and the plot is dedicated to it, without useless sub plots, which actually works well in this author's case.

This is Noble's story. He's loud, out and proud and is loving the life of a successful rock star. He feels attracted to Donny Foxley at a party but since the actor is in the closet, he tries not to pursue him. However, the opposite happens, and they start a game of teasing until a separation comes in the form of an European tour for Indigo Knights.
After that, can they overcome the issue of Donny's hidden preferences and the fact they're developing serious feelings between them?

I liked the story. I'm used to the author's style in creating plots where there is conflict because of sexual preferences in one of the elements of the pair. In this case, Donny Foxley is in the closet and he can't just be out due to his contract. This allows the plot to slowly develop with a reason why things couldn't just change. The slow pace also helped the couple to know each other better, to be together, to develop feelings. I really liked the scene in the limousine where they each say a sentence and everything changes at last.

Noble and Donny are the sort of characters we see in ms Mykle's stories often. They are different in appearance, tastes and ways of living but as usual, different people find each other and always complement each other. This was slightly different from the majority of her stories because usually there's one character GFY (gay for you), but in this one it didn't, and in a way, that is like fresh air in a story by her. This doesn't mean it's bad or too much unexpected. I liked it and the way the characters interacted made it more believable.

The plot is pretty much dedicated to the main character's relationship and the troubles they have to face. The secondary characters are in an interesting position to give advice and offer a sort of comparison model, but the focus is always on Noble and Donny. 
Noble is known as a libertine, without romantic attachments but he is honest and doesn't want to hurt anyone. He is worried for Donny at first, because he thinks only Donny will have a broken heart if things get too serious, so it was sweet to see him fall too, even without realizing it.
Donny is doing a job he feels comfortable in, but everything that comes with it is a high price to pay when he starts falling in love with Noble. Still, in the end he makes choices and admits his feelings without fear.

The guys' relationship isn't only physical. The story's development puts them apart and in that time we can see them talking, thinking about each other and often communicating, which gives us, the readers, the idea they are bonding and having a relationship, knowing each other before accepting anything else. I think this is an important element to make the romance more credible.

All in all, I saw my faith in the author prove right and once again, something she wrote convinced me, despite the obvious make believe aspects of the plot. Still, it was a positive story, only it wasn't perfect because of some plot devices and a thing here and there they did which I thought shouldn't have been done. But overall, my enjoyment of the story wasn't ruined.
Grade: 7/10