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A Matter of Time (#1)

A Matter of Time Book 1 - Mary Calmes This book has been a terrible experience for me, I would strongly advise against reading it if you're someone who dislikes the TSTL trope, the ditzy, oblivious to his knee-melting charm character, the self-proclaimed independent and outspoken character who allows himself to be jerked around by everyone and, most of all, if you think Alpha males who say 'you're mine and you do what I say' are beyond creepy and should be steered clear of. This book has all of the above and, to top it all, also the most disjointed narrative I've come across in a long time and literally an entire army of characters that I couldn't even try caring about.

I'm going to be honest and say I stopped really reading after it became clear that Sam was going to be the one and not Dane (sorry for liking that one cliche, sue me), and only skimmed the rest (including the other books - don't know why I insisted, truly). The author makes the capital mistake of 'telling' instead of 'showing' and we get shoved down our throats a lot of useless facts that bear zero relevance to the growth of the characters - which, spoiler alert, never happens (perfect waste of so many words written, such a shame).

I, magnanimous reader, was willing to overlook the plethora of adoring fans Jory gets at every step he takes, who are ridiculously taken with him and generally want to build lives with him for no apparent reason other than his overwhelming sex appeal. I'm sure it happens in real life, too, perfectly realistic. Sure. But.. what truly and irreversibly broke the deal for me and made me want to smash my Kindle against the wall was the depiction of Sam and his inability to take no for an answer. I don't think I'm alone in saying that this sort of thing has no place being portrayed as healthy, especially considering the society we live in. I would have understood if this was a BDSM book, if there was any type of negotiation regarding control but this is not the case - it's just Jory begging to be left alone and being repeatedly ignored by literally every character who claims to like and want to know him better, not just Sam. At some point I even went back to reread the blurb because I was sure this was some sort of witchcraft secondary (tertiary? there are so many) plot where Jory is cursed with involuntary sex appeal and no will or strength to repeal his suitors (aggressors more likely). He's like a rag doll pulled form every direction. Surprisingly, it continues in future books, too, even after he and Sam get married. Even odder, he sort of goes on dates/not-really-dates-though and is open to being flirted with, but waves his ring at the very last moment, because, hey, he's happily shacked up.

The whole Sam/Jory love-of-his-life thing - not buying it. Even after going through all the books, there's nothing holding them together except the sex. It's frustrating! The reason I was initially rooting for a Dane-shaped happy ending was because they are friends and know each other better than anyone - which never happens with Sam.

Sam's gay crisis is also not saying good things about him. While perfectly understandable (I wish there was more about it in the book, presented in a way to give Sam much needed depth and make the reader compassionate and not as a way to snub Jory and make it all about him), it's not handled well in regards to Jory's feelings. Also, for an independent and love-them-and-leave-them kind of guy, Jory loses his head pretty quickly.

Bottom line - this is not a book about a healthy relationship, there is no character growth and we are blinded instead with stories about pretty people and that is about it. It's written in first person and we're inside the head of someone who is not entirely sure about what he wants (since he's 22 that's more than understandable unfortunately he keeps the same voice through the years and reaches 30 without significant change). Most importantly, if you have serious issues about lack of consent depicted in a romanticized way, stay away from this entire series.

The Other Guy

The Other Guy - Cary Attwell A well-written, low on sex and high on humour m/m book? Hello there, mythical creature! This book deserves a read merely because it exists! I loved it that it was so low on unnecessary tears and melodrama (considering the fact that the main character is left at the altar you'd expect a lot of whining - luckily, this is not that kind of story) and the characters - even the ones making brief appearances - are their own people. Nate, for instance, could have been just a prop for Emory on his path towards healing and self-discovery, but he comes with his own unresolved painful past (he came out to his parents as a teenager and they threw him out and never spoke to him again) - which actually kind of makes Emory even more of a bastard for being indecisive. The romance is very sweet and understated, there's clever banter and a long friendship and, while Emory's inner struggle with his sexuality may not reach epic proportions, I thought his procrastination to properly deal with it went along quite well with his low-key personality - he is 'the other guy' after all, effaced and steady, this is not about him emerging as a butterfly and denying his past self.

All in all this book was a delightful surprise and I was really upset to find it's the author's only one :).

The Only Gold

The Only Gold - Tamara Allen I've been waiting for a book like this, finally! Slow-paced romance and a mature, believable relationship.

Prisoner (Kria, #1)

Prisoner (Kria, #1) - Megan Derr Great world-building, I was expecting more romance but it didn't make the book less interesting. Wish there was more justification to the main characters ending up together.

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy - Karen Doornebos 3 stars because I feel generous, the book grated on my nerves in places and only redeemed itself towards the end (which tried to be modern and brave and not an Austen-type HEA ending in marriage, but we all know that was the unwritten epilogue). It was hard to like Chloe, she acted like a bumbling teenager for most of the book (why make her a single mother approaching 40 then?). Good idea, not so good the execution, but an enjoyable read nevertheless.

Black Wade: The wild side of love

Black Wade: The Wild Side of Love - Franze, Andärle 3 stars for the art alone, loved the colouring. The plot is laughable, but it's not like I expected anything else.

Plays Well With Others (Daly Way)

Plays Well With Others - Brynn Paulin It would be unfair to give a star to this book just because BDSM is not my cup of tea and my experience with this genre is rather limited, but seriously I didn't know master/servant relationships meant a total annihilation of personality for the submissive. I couldn't finish it.

Waltz of Seduction

Waltz of Seduction - Natasha Blackthorne I can't believe I paid money for it, it sounded like an interesting read but there's zero character development (it's way too short for that) and it's pretty much sex every other page (or, well, talking about how the characters are horny and willing anyway). Can I give half a star?

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