“Teach Me” by Blake Oliver was such a beautiful story.
I loved this book about two men with very different personalities and backgrounds finding each other and taking care of the other. Robb Porter is an ex Navy SEAL with a prosthetic leg, who’s not into men, or so he thinks until he meets yoga teacher Stephen, who’s tired of getting his heart broken by a string of straight guys experimenting with their sexuality.
I thought Robb’s disability was very sensitively portrayed and it added depth and authenticity to the hurt/comfort themes in the book, one of my favorite tropes that often tends to be written in overwrought ways. Not so here. I also appreciated that the author didn’t shy away from portraying the brutal and testosterone-infused culture of the military that Robb came from, including all the homophobia and locker room talk.
All in all, I loved this book. Some of their breakups seemed so hurtful I wondered that either would make their way back to each other, but I appreciated that each changed as characters to be there for each other in the end.
Thank you to Booksprout for the advance review copy. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I’m a sucker for a well-written bi awakening story, office romances and bossy authority figure types, and “Giving In” by Rue Whitney had all those in spades. This was a breezy, tension filled romance with two characters that had an almost improbably rocky meet cute at the beginning, but the way the author handled the character motivations that helped your suspension of disbelief made up for it. I have also read enough awkward, clumsy bi awakening and straight-to-gay kinds of stories that the sensitive way this one was written was a breath of fresh air.
This is the story of Luka, a middle school art teacher who hopes to land a graphic designer gig at an advertising agency, who’d always thought he was straight until he meets his potential new boss, the arrogant Morgan “Fitz” Fitzgerald, who mistook an interview with his friend’s son with his call boy hookup and unexpected sparks fly.
Improbably, Luka doesn’t sue, and he’s back for more bossy Fitz, the only guy he’s ever felt an intense attraction for.
Loved the back-and-forth sexual tension in this story, the character development and the fast-paced plot in combination with the slower burn pace of their relationship. I would read more of this series and more of this author’s work for sure.
Overall, I enjoyed “All This Could Be Yours” by J.V. Speyer. It had a lot going for it. This is an enemies-to-lovers interracial mafia romance, lower on the spicy scale, which was refreshing. Straightlaced FBI agent Maddox Price goes undercover, posing as the boyfriend of a mob kingpin’s son, Tanner, who’s openly gay and wants to rat out his family, at Tanner’s brother’s wedding. I liked how the fake dating premise and the paranoia of Tanner’s family with the constant surveillance added tension and depth to their relationship.
This story had a lot going on. I expected Tanner’s trauma to be overwrought and the portrayals of his mobster family to be over-the-top stereotypical, but the author didn’t go the one-dimensional route, which I appreciated. I did not however buy that an FBI agent like Maddox, committed to seeking revenge against the mob his whole career, would suddenly switch to falling in love with a mobster after a week of feeling sorry for Tanner and his stories of the things that he had done. It needed better defined character motivations. Despite the instalove, I thought the characters were interesting. I just expected him to have developed feelings and maybe wrestled with that a little more than he did.
I also questioned the author’s legal research; they kept going on about how people couldn’t be convicted of crimes if they were committed under duress and I question their understanding of the law. Just a quibble as someone who works in the legal field; little details like that can throw me out of the story.
Despite my reservations, I found this an entertaining read with a plot arc that kept me interested to the end. I liked the growth of their relationship overall and the chemistry between them; if you don’t mind surface infatuation turning on a dime to instalove you may like this book even more than I did. It was a satisfying plot arc with a nice balance of action and romance. The author’s writing voice was engaging and the story was easy to follow. I’d read more books by this author.