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Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino
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Sweet Young Thang

by Anne Tenino

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"Sweet" is the operative word in this third installment of the Theta Alpha Gamma (TAG) fraternity series, and not in a good way. In fact, the love interest of the protagonist calls him about every possible variation of "sweet" there is, proving why at age thirty-something he's unattached until he meets a sweet, young college boy.

After fraternity brother Brad came out at the end of Frat Boy and Toppy, TAG is the only fraternity to accept gay and bisexual members. As alumni liaison, Collin Montes is having trouble persuading his alum Uncle Monty that this is a step in the right direction, especially after an explosion and fire that levels the frat house.

Since Collin hasn't told his family he's gay yet, he's sure Uncle Monty will be even less pleased to find out his sexual orientation and that his boyfriend paramedic Eric Dixon was a frat brother of Monty's way back when. A bear-in-the-making, Eric's only non-working pursuits are having sex with Collin and taking photographs of nude males for his online site, two other things Uncle Monty would abhor.

As the police and fire inspector try to find out who torched the TAG house and why, Collin runs interference as the alums, headed by Uncle Monty, and the frat brothers try to balance the house's finances and to find place to live on campus. Oh, yes, and constant sex with someone who calls him "Sweetness" and every other nickname using the word "sweet" seems to be a bonus Collin loves.

Read the rest of my review at AAR / All About Romance: http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=9743 ( )
  phenshaw | Nov 3, 2013 |
3.75 stars ( )
  mearias | Sep 23, 2013 |
Let me preface this review with saying I usually love any books with paramedics, firefighters, etc. and I love frat boys or just even college men stories. Those elements combined SHOULD have hooked me enough to rate this at least middle of the road. Unfortunately, I couldn’t focus on the book at all for more than ten minutes due to very specific factors.

This is the story of Collin Montes, a Theta Alpha Gamma fraternity member, who has pushed for his fraternity to openly allow gay members. Collin is still in the closet himself due to a contentious, homophobic uncle, Marty, who is the president of Theta Alpha Gamma’s Alumni Association, but he wants to come out as soon as possible. Late in the night one evening there is an explosion at the frat due to a rigged water heater, and a frat member is injured. Enter Paramedic Eric Dixon, an older man and a former Theta Alpha Gamma member, who coincidently enough, used to have a crush on Collin’s uncle, Monty. What follows is a whirlwind romance between Collin and Eric (and I mean that and will get to that later), and a weak mystery plot concerning a vendetta against the fraternity and its members, perhaps particularly Collin.

So first things first, this plot was just ALL over the map and the book was too much of EVERYTHING. Too many characters, too many storyline threads, too much sex, too many pet names, too much creepiness, too much repetition, too much insta-love, too many clichés…the only thing this book didn’t have too much of was a plot that was interesting.

The fraternity brothers would often have meetings or discussions, and I gather many of these moments were to produce laughter in the reader. I just found it all tedious and unrealistic. It didn’t read at all like any college man I’ve really ever encountered, especially not ones in a group frat setting. I’m not saying the author didn’t know what she was talking about or do her research, but it felt all very flat and contrived to me.

The main couple of Collin and Eric drove me BONKERS. If I heard one.more. freakin. time. “Sweetness,”“Pretty Thang,” “Sweet Thang,” “ Pretty Thing,” or “Sweet Boy,” I felt like I was going to slam my head on a counter. And I get that Eric was older, but my God, it was brought up over and over. And seriously, I’ve read insta-love before (and never liked it), but this was overboard, even for me. I think it was the second time they hang out (and maybe even just 2 days) and Eric is already talking love. The next dozens of chapters kept being all “Are you changing your mind?” “No” “Are you OK if I’m not there yet?” “Yep” “Let’s go bareback” “Yes” “No, wait…maybe wait” (next sex scene) “I’m ready to go bareback”. So freaking frustrating!!!! Also the author put way too much sex in this, and it felt at times like page filler. I didn’t feel each time advanced the couple’s standing or the plot. Also, I can’t place my fingertip on it, but for some reason Eric’s photography hobby and taking pictures of Collin creeped me out mildly. Perhaps if he hadn’t come across so clingy, googly-eyed, and insecure IMMEDIATELY after sleeping with Collin, I would have felt better. I couldn’t understand how this man was discussing love so soon with someone he didn’t know at all, and combine that with his neediness and picture-taking, it felt almost like Eric viewed Collin as some younger man object and could freeze him in time with photos. Or I’m rambling and this is all a load of conjecturing crap. Either way, the couple didn’t do it for me at all.

I didn’t care for the mystery, both in the perpetrators or the crimes themselves. It felt distracting and at the same, never felt focused enough to warrant being there. I just wish the characters could have met some other way.

So this is kind of sugar fluff with loads of pet names and endearments, an older man falling in love with his closeted younger man, and a mystery of who is potentially after the fraternity for allowing homosexual members to pledge and become members. Just not for me.
( )
  Peepers82 | Sep 22, 2013 |
So, the sweet baby etc. endearments in this book nearly drove me crazy. Sometimes it seemed like there were two on each page... Or more. It was just annoying and took away from my enjoyment of the story. As for the rest of the book, the beginning felt kinda jumbled and not clear and I found myself often re reading parts and I felt like it didn't flow well.

At times I also wondered if the rest of the story needed a more tightly written focus, it meandered and I got a little bored.
I think I loved [b:Too Stupid to Live|16149703|Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1)|Anne Tenino|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1352909561s/16149703.jpg|21985084] because it was character driven. It was a straightforward and tightly written story that focused on the characters journey and it was a gorgeous love story. Sweet Young Thang just had too much going on. ( )
  sharrow | Sep 21, 2013 |
First things first : I have seen some “Meh” reviews out there for this book on Goodreads. One explanation of the rating is that one of our characters, Eric, calls Collin some version of “Sweet” as pet names often. I suppose some people don’t like pet names, either in novels or in real life. But it did not bother me enough to reduce a star. So this review will not focus on that and that will not affect any type of rating.

Second note : This is book three of Tenino’s series, Theta Alpha Gamma, so if you have not read those (#1 Frat Boy and Toppy) (#2 Love Hypothetically) I would recommend reading them first. Actually, I suggest that you read book #1 to get the best out of this book. I never read the second one, with only 100 pages I did not want to invest the money in that short of a book. I think that you will understand the world better if you read book 1 first.

Basic Plot :

Collin Montes is in his Senior year at college and is the Alumni Representative for his fraternity, Theta Alpha Gamma. Most of his world revolves around either his studies, his fraternity, or family. His sexuality is very much in the closet. Collin wants to come out, but his family, especially his powerful uncle Monty, might not approve. His fraternity has recently changed their charter to explicitly not discriminate against sexual orientation and things start heating up – literally. Now can Collin every come out of the closet and will things turn tragic at the House?

Eric Dixon is a fire fighter para-medic who is on the scene early when his former fraternity house has an explosion. In the mass confusion, one boy stands out: Collin. There is something that is just sweet and compelling about this boy. But could they build a lasting relationship, an out older man and a closeted sweet young thang?

Collin Montes :

What I like about Collin is that he is so relatable. When we saw him in book one, he was sweet on Brad, but was merely a secondary character. But for me, I always wanted to know more about him, he seemed someone who had a large back story to be told.

We learn early on that Collin, while having a rich Uncle Monty who runs the family business, he is not like other “rich boys”. He has his entire future mapped out, from his experience within the frat as well as his studies. His mother has kept him grounded, but with the death of his father at an early age, Uncle Monty has become a father figure. The problem with this is that Monty is a harsh taskmaster, acting as a svengali and shaping Collin’s future for what Monty has in plan.

So, Collin struggles with his self-identity, not just his sexuality and wonders if he can ever measure up.

Collin felt like he’d lived a half a lifetime in the last twenty-four hours. In his sophomore philosophy class (why did they schedule those damn things at seven in the morning? Who really needs philosophy before breakfast?), he’d read something that had stuck with him since: “Each day is a little life.” Who said that? Schopenhauer, he thought.

Collin attempts to please everyone in his life, his frat, his instructors, his family, his uncle, but never really doing what he wants to do. And with all of this comes loads of responsibility he feels he cannot shirk. What Collin needs is someone who will support him.

Eric Dixon :

Eric is the strong, silent type, an older man at 36, comfortable in his life. He has two careers, one is the paramedic with the firefighter, and the other is a side project as photographer. He is someone who other people depend on and while he might look badass, he has a very caring heart. But he’s lonely and ready to meet someone to settle down with and even though Collin is young, he sees in him the qualities to make their relationship last. We see Eric’s attitude when talking about his former boyfriend, Jay:

Eric laughed along with Lincoln. Mandy always had his back when it came to his love life. Thank God, because it had taken him a while to get over that asshole. He should have realized that it was a setup when Jay had said he didn’t know if he could be faithful. Then when he did fuck around, he’d been able to say, “Well, I warned you.” As if that made it all right.”

What I liked about Eric is that he is such a loving, caring person, who in his place, we would want to do the same thing. We all want someone who will be there when we come home, eat a good meal, sit by the fire and make love.

Strong Points :

The humor is the strongest point within this book. The author has such a great way of making me laugh out loud, which our boys in Theta Alpha Gamma do.

Danny stared at him, goggle-eyed, mouth hanging open. “Dude!” He stood up, reaching out to grip Collin’s shoulder. “You mean no one told you you’re gay? Shit man, I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” He turned to Kyle. “What am I supposed to do in this situation? They did not cover this in that sensitivity training class we took fall term. That’s a major oversight, man.”

I also liked the mystery aspect. While I had an idea of the “who done it” early on, how the plot became unexpectedly twisted and it remained entertaining.

What could be better?

There was quite a bit of sex in this book, which while it did not bother me, toward the end I did skim the scenes. I will mention the “Sweet” thing again, because it bothered other folks, but for me it was fine. Some people also complained of the “insta-love” in this book, but that was not something that bothered me. I met my husband and after a weekend I knew I would spend my life with him. We are still as deeply (if not more) in passionate love together 15 years later.

Conclusions:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have placed it in my favorites section to be a re-read. It had excellent pacing and kept me interested as I finished it in one sitting. If I had any draw back, it would be a lack of “relationship” building. While there are some “external conflicts” that affect the relationship, neither men have any angsty drama between them.

So, what we end up getting is a humorous, sexy romp through a mystery and end up with truelove. How could that get any better?
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  Bea_writer | Sep 21, 2013 |
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