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This Charming Man (Queen City Boys Book 1)…
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This Charming Man (Queen City Boys Book 1)

by Ajax Bell

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72 of 75 for 2015. Let me state right off the bat that there is graphic male on male sex in this novel. In fact, some of the hottest sex I've read outside of outright pornography is included in the narrative. I must also say that the opening of this novel is so outside my comfort zone, that I almost closed the book and moved on. There is way too much drug and alcohol abuse in the gay community without reading books that seem to glorify that self-destructive activity. All that said, I am so glad I continued reading. Steven Frazier, the protagonist, is a brilliant young man, working his way through the University of Washington's Computer Science program in the early 1990s, but caught up in a relationship where he is always there for his "friend" Adrian, but from which he himself gets little but heartache. The story line leads us through the process of Steven freeing himself from his destructive friends and habits, and learning to value himself while going after what he really wants in life. A good description of gay life in the early 90s, especially with a fine take on that life in Seattle. Anyone who knew the Queen City in those days (already 25 years ago), will recognize landmarks, streets and the people who inhabit them. My advice, if you can deal with graphic sex, hold your nose through the opening of the book and watch Steven grow. I'm glad I did. ( )
  mtbearded1 | Aug 25, 2015 |
1.5 stars

I just can't. Honestly, I already wanted to put this down at 15% and go on with another book. But since I requested this title on netgalley and the publisher approved it. I don't wanna be rude by not finishing it and I can't just review it as it is. Because I never rate and review DNFed books.

"Do you believe in love at first sight?"

"Why? Did you fall in love with John when you first saw him? Or did you wait until you heard him speak French?"

"What? No. Ridiculous. I'm wondering if he fell in love with me. At first sight."


Our hero, Steven Frazier is a 25-year-old college student who acts like a 9-year-old girl whenever his crush is around. His infatuation over John throughout the book is seriously killing me. This may seem harsh but it made me want to punch him right in his face just to make him stop. I can't stand seeing this adult character does teenage stuff. Fantasizing John all day and night long and having this freaking huge crush problem which is I'm-just-me-and-he's-perfect thing. Please, stop doing that. It's not helping.

The slow burn romance is poorly handled. It is very unrealistic with the characters; John who is 44 and obviously old enough not to make the flirting and teasing long and of course, Steven who loves to hook up even with his friends. That it takes 259 pages, that's 81%, for them to confess their feelings and share their first kisses. Urgh.

Everything is almost voice out, with them always talking that no one will seem to care about. Especially if there's no development to the conversation. And the other characters giving Steven the same advice all over again. That's tiresome, actually.

Lastly, it bothers me that being high or hooking up with your friends in the story delivered in a manner that it is okay and acceptable. I'm badly waiting for their realization that the things they did in the past were mistakes. But the story ends with them just laughing it off. What? No, I can't accept that. Not recommended at all.

Review is also available at TheBookishOgre ( )
  Perco | Jan 9, 2015 |
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