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Search tags: J.L.-Merrow
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review 2018-03-30 01:17
ARC Review: One Under by J.L. Merrow
One Under - J.L. Merrow

This book, while part of the overall Porthkennack series, is basically a continuation of the first one, Wake Up Call, which I also loved. It would probably be best to read that first, because while this one doesn't focus on the characters from the first book, they do make an appearance, and there isn't a whole lot of backstory shared here - it's assumed the reader knows who they are.

This book also had a bit of a darker, more melancholy undertone than the first one, and for good reason. 

Mal Thomas has come to Porthkennack to heal from a traumatic experience at work, that isn't fully explained early on. Believe me, though, it's horrid. While I don't have personal experience with this sort of thing, a long-time friend of mine does. He is still, after many years since that incident, struggling with the emotional and psychological aftermath. So once I found out what had happened to Mal, I fully understood where he was coming from.

Jory Roscarrock (yes, the much younger brother of Devan's mother) hasn't had an easy life so far. While he has a doctorate in English Lit from a prestigious university, he also has been living under a dark cloud for some time, partly because of his older siblings, and partly because of a youthful indiscretion that derailed much of his plans. 

Mal and Jory meet. There's attraction, when Mal, after getting a bit of bad news from home while at the town's museum, is in need of comforting and Jory, the museum curator, offers, with much social awkwardness, a cup of tea. Then Mal finds out who Jory is, and the romance nearly dies before it has a chance to blossom. 

As with all of this author's books, I definitely appreciate the very British writing style, the very British choice of words, and the very British setting. JL Merrow just manages to transport me to whatever place they write about, and I could easily visualize the stark cliffs, the dark tunnels, the grey skies, the imposing house Jory calls home, the pub, the town - everything is described in vivid details, and the reader is transported into this fictional place on the rugged coastal setting. 

Both Mal and Jory spend time worrying about the secrets they keep/kept from the other, and both wonder if a relationship between them is even worth pursuing, considering Mal lives in London and Jory cannot leave Porthkennack, for reasons. There is a lot of angst inside, and this isn't a romance that comes easily for either of them. In addition to their personal issues, there's also the issue of Mal being best friends with the aforementioned Devan - who is Jory's nephew, and who's been treated badly by Jory's siblings - which puts additional strain on the budding romance, obviously, as Mal is torn between the attraction to Jory and his loyalty to Dev. 

The plot progresses slowly, and it had to, in my opinion, because the roadblocks in their way are, while not insurmountable, definitely considerable, and this book wouldn't have worked as well for me if the author had rushed through their individual insecurities and issues they had to overcome. 

I think the lesson here is that if you want something badly enough, you have to find the will to fight for it. You have to forge the path that works for you, because ultimately the only person responsible for your own happiness is you. And if you want it, pursue it. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **
 

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review 2018-03-16 17:07
It's All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow Review
It's All Geek to Me - JL Merrow

Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London — the temple of geekdom itself — Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon . . . and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?

 

Review

 

I breezed through this light read. I am glad I got it on sale though as it came ended too quickly.

We get lured in by the promise of geek culture but there is less geek here than we think. I like the self esteem issues that get brought up. I like less the perfect heroes but these issues are left out there.

The romance is cute but the novella is over just when something really interesting might happen between the two.

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review 2018-02-04 01:23
Slam! by J.L. Merrow
Slam! - J.L. Merrow

Limericks, lies and puppy-dog eyes


Amateur poet Jude is a carnivore working in a vegan cafe. His little dog, Bubbles, is the only man in the Anglo-Japanese graduate’s life—but Jude yearns from afar for “Karate Crumpet”, a man who runs past the cafe window every Saturday night leading a martial arts class. Jude’s swept off his feet when he’s rescued from muggers by the object of his affections—and when Jude finds out the calm, competent, hunk of muscle is also gay, he’s in seventh heaven. 


Trouble is, the universe seems to be conspiring to stop them getting together. While Jude’s ready to jump straight into bed with his saviour, David’s still got one foot in the closet and wants to take things slowly. Then there’s Jude’s best friend, who has a dangerous secret, and his mother, who’s desperately trying to keep her own love life on track by lying about her age—meaning Jude has to pretend to be a schoolboy!


With a maze of different stories to keep straight, a potential stepfather to keep happy, and ex boyfriends who keep turning up on dates, Jude’s getting increasingly confused. Poetry in motion, it’s not!

 

Review

 

This romance is a lot of madcap fun. With dog and really bad poetry and all kinds of other hijinks.

This is trademark Merrow with the Small Village feel. However, we get a lot more couple time than usual and that makes for an even better read.

This is an engaging love story between two very different heroes.

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review 2018-01-03 18:45
Spun by J.L. Merrow
Spun! (Shamwell Tales Book 4) - J.L. Merrow

I decided to take a mini-break away from the horror-fest I’d been on and finally read this way overdue Netgalley title. I think I may need to stick with horror a wee bit longer because I found Spun all too sweet for my current mood.

 

It was also very hard for me to stick to and when it starts there are so many characters from previous books I haven’t read popping in that I had trouble keeping track of who was who and who was connected to who. I’m not sure if it was the dialogue, the accents or just the sometimes overly wordy prose but I found myself going back and rereading many a paragraph for whatever reason and at times it felt a little too much like work to finish this book. It also has kid characters and they’re featured quite heavily and while it added to the characterization and connection between the couple, kids in a romance aren’t exactly my favorite.

 

The story opens with David getting fired from his job after he is discovered doing sexual things with the husband of somebody at a work event. Oops. He decides to move out of the city and rents a room from Rory. Rory is a divorced dad of two who has just been dumped by his latest girlfriend. Rory is straight or at least always thought he was until he starts thinking thoughts about David that he’s never thought before.

 

You can guess how it goes from there right? Okay, good.

 

So I liked David. He is a bit of a nut. He’s quirky, flirty and flamboyant and carries around a teddy bear he’s named Gregory. It is impossible to dislike David even when he’s making poor decisions and doing the whole jumping to conclusions sort of thing. This brings me to the main issue I had with this book, the misunderstandings and lack of talking about those oh-so-pesky feelings! Rory and David talk about everything else but jump to conclusions and listen to outside forces and get themselves all hurt up for no good reason except maybe to make the book a little longer. It kind of wore on my last nerve and made me want to grab them both and clang their skulls together if I’m being completely honest. I also liked Rory. He’s a quite a few years older than David and he is a kind, sweet and open-minded guy. Their attraction and slowly developing romance felt genuine. But again it was too slow for my tastes.

 

I liked this story but not enough to give it more than a three.

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review 2017-12-23 20:32
Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow Review
Out! (The Shamwell Tales) - J.L. Merrow

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet — at least, the small portion of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Determined to make amends to his neglected teenage daughter from a failed marriage, Mark swears off work — and love — so he can give her a stable home environment. But Mark’s resolve to keep his heart under wraps is tested when he meets an out and proud young man he’s instantly drawn to.

Patrick Owen is a charity worker with strong principles. He doesn’t trust easily, but he’s blown away by his attraction for the older man who’s so new to his own sexuality. Yet Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter — and Patrick refuses to live a lie.

What with Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and his flirtatious ex-colleague who’s determined to come between them, Patrick begins to wonder if they’ll ever be on the same page. And when Mark’s career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, sparks really start to fly — in all the wrong ways.

 

Review

I liked this romance between with older man with a very grumpy teenager and a young man.

 

The most intersting part of me, aside of the setting and the cast of characters in the series which I like very much, was the aspect of the story that dealt with what it meant to be queer and coming of age in different decades. This conflict between the heroes was meaningful and compelling.

 

There is a lot of fun and dashing around and push and pull.

 

It make me happier this book need to be longer. I wanted much more couple time after Mark and Patrick were all sorted out and really together. I wanted to see them in a full on relationship to earn the I love you.

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