Author: John Charles
Publisher: Manifest Vision Publishing
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 2.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/02/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Matthew Kailen, a respected paramedic, has two rules:
1. I don’t date guys from work.
2. I don’t do relationships.
The son of a homophobic father, Matthew learned to stay deeply entrenched in the closet for his own protection. He remained under his father’s radar until his sister Meredith and her husband were killed by a drunk driver. When Matthew became the guardian of their two young children, his life got complicated.
Trent Paleck completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Lake Community Hospital outside of L.A. Despite the abundance of hot surfers and muscle studs, he longed to get back to the east coast. When a position for an Emergency Room doctor became available at Amity Hospital, in Trent’s home town, he jumped at the opportunity to move home.
Trent never expected to find what he did, when he found himself working alongside Matthew. A reluctant attraction quickly blossoms into something deeper. Can Matthew find in Trent the one thing that will cause him to break his own rules? Is Trent ready to trade in California surfers for the father of two young children? Both men are faced with what appears to be insurmountable challenges when Matthew’s father takes actions to prevent Trent from having the man he wants and Matthew the children he loves. Can they climb over the hurdles to find the love they desire?
I really wanted to love this book because it had several things I really like in stories; doctors, EMTS, and single fathers. Sadly, I did not enjoy this tale for many reasons. Not only are there some plot and character issues there is also enough grammar and punctuation issues to make it even harder to enjoy.
Right away there was a massive information dump with a ton of backstory. Authors take note, do NOT do this. Readers don’t care about backstory for characters they don’t even know yet.
Matthew is a closeted EMT who is raising his niece and nephew following the death of his sister and her husband. He also has to deal with a stereotypically homophobic father who can’t even control himself in a public place.
As shown in the blurb, Matthew has two rules. Redundant rules. If he doesn’t do relationships why add that he doesn’t do relationships with co-workers? Doesn’t one preclude the other?
Trent is a doctor recently returned to his hometown. He and Matthew knew each other in high school, and both had crushes on each other. However, Trent was openly gay while Matthew was not. When they meet up again the attraction is rekindled, but Matthew is hesitant to act on it because he has those rules against relationships and dating guys from work.
Even when they do go out, Matthew doesn’t tell Trent about his adopted children because… Well, I’m not exactly sure why. He’s had bad reactions in the past when he’s told men about his kids, but that doesn’t explain why he isn’t upfront and honest. As a single father myself, I think that any guy who doesn’t want to be with a man because of his kids isn’t worth a second thought. It’s far better to find out early on than discover the truth later.
The whole deal with Matthew and the kids was handled very strangely. At one point he tells Trent about the death of his sister but not that he took her kids. That, and other information, is revealed rather dramatically over the course of many pages not only by Matthew but also a co-worker. None of this was remotely realistic and just a way to increase the tension.
One of the over-the-top reveals about Matthew’s life is told to Trent by the co-worker. It involves the death of Matthew’s sister.
With her last breath, she whispered ‘I love you.’ She died in his arms Trent.” [sic]
This was all made to be so very dramatic, and I’m not actually sure why. It’s romantic when a dying character’s last words are to someone they’re in love with, but from a sister to a brother I don’t see it as quite as important. The death is the significant factor, not her final words.
One of the main troubles was that I didn’t find either of the main characters all that interesting. Hell, there were times their voices were so similar I had to go back and look to see whose POV I was in. Neither one had a defining personality.
The characterizations of the supporting characters are even worse. Nobody is all that realistic and most are just cardboard characters with nothing special. Even the kids and the nanny suffered.
The dialogue was often stilted and failed to flow. This was due to the characters often not using contractions. Not using contractions can be used to create a character’s personality, especially if the person is wealthy and sophisticated. However here it was several characters who did it. It just didn’t work.
Often I can look past grammar and punctuations mistakes and still appreciate the tale, but that wasn’t the case here. Even if I had liked the story the punctuation issues would’ve been very hard to ignore. There was a lot of them and the mistakes were ones that a proofreader, beta reader, or editor should’ve caught.
It was simple things like the absence of commas or question marks:
“What are you doing Mike.”
And (this one puzzled me the most and happened often) failure to use proper capitalization:
“Yeah, I am, dad.”
Just a few lines later:
“I love you dad.”
Notice the lack of comma and capital letter in that last example.
This book could’ve been really great but it did not live up to its potential.
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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