Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 09/30/2013
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.
When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?
This is my third Rick R. Reed book, and while I find him a refreshingly different writer, I sometimes disagree with the way he goes about things. That’s sort of a weird thing to do when you’re thinking about a romance novelist.
In “Hungry for Love” we have Brandon Wylde, who is, oddly enough, hungry for love. He doesn’t do hook-ups, he’s fairly inexperienced, and he is looking for long-term, not a one-night stand. He’s so hungry, in fact, that he creates a profile on a gay romance website called OpenHeartOpenMind.
Then we meet Hannah Tippie and her friend Marilyn. They are part of that magical world of straight women who love to read about gay men in love. I know they exist, because they are the core (if not only) market for these books that I love so much. But in my everyday world, I don’t know a single woman who (will admit that she) reads gay m/m fiction. Nonetheless, Hannah and her friend drunkenly log onto OpenHeartOpenMind, using Hannah’s gay brother as their pseudonym – and discover Brandon’s profile. The story is sort of “I Love Lucy” at first, but fairly quickly turns poignant and emotional as the ramifications of a drunken prank begin to sink in.
As always in romantic comedy, and this is more or less one of those, things go painfully awry. What Reed gives us is a story about trust, and loneliness and yearning, about friendship and jealousy, and about unrealistic expectations that the gay world seems to have embraced all too strongly. He also, to my surprise, includes a late plot twist that has echoes in the very real-time goings-on relative to honesty, identity, and business practice in the world of m/m authors. This is something that has affected me personally, as a reader and a writer, and thus it resonated deeply.
Reed has given us a group of four characters—maybe four and a half, if you count Brandon’s still quite young mother, Nancy—who are appealing and annoying by turn. That’s not a complaint, because it’s realistic. Brandon is gentle-hearted and romantic, but he can be judgmental and rigid. Nate is superficial and secretive, but those faults mask someone who feels very deeply and just gets caught up in the moment too easily. Hannah is open-minded and funny, but allows her own emotions to override common sense, particularly when others are concerned. Marilyn and Nancy get sort of short shrift, but they are important as reminders that what you do can touch lives outside yourself.
It is a testimony to the quality of many female m/m authors that Reed’s characters don’t feel any more authentic or “real” to me than those of, say, Harper Fox or J.L. Merrow. This is not a criticism of Reed’s writing, just a comment on the quality of writing out there for those of us lucky enough to care.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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