I’m expanding my horizons into the realm M/M books. So I was really excited when I won this in a All I Want and More Books giveaway. This is the second M/M novel I’ve read, and the first I consider a romance. I have to admit, I’m really enjoying the M/M novels. I’m finding it a learning experience. Reading about M/M relationships in a way is helping me to understand my own sexuality a bit better. Anyway, before I get into the review, how about a little synopsis from Jenna Byrnes‘ website:
Big X, little x, question mark, dot. The child’s rhyme runs through Lucas Sinclair’s mind. He can still feel the light play of his sister’s fingers across his back, dancing along to the words. Unsettling, considering his twin, Laurie, had been abducted fifteen years earlier and never heard from again.
Ocean breeze, little squeeze. In a small, ocean-side cottage that shouldn’t be filled with memories, Lucas attempts to start a new life. It’s harder than he expects to move on. Indications are that Laurie has returned and isn’t the carefree child she used to be.
With a therapist trying to help him, and a private investigator who can’t seem to let go of the past, Lucas confronts his demons. He’s not sure where his sexy next-door neighbor fits in, but Tristan Conner seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Someone is terrorizing Lucas. Can it really be Laurie—or worse yet, one of the three men he’s come to trust? (Mystery/suspense, m/m)
Romance: Being in Luke’s head was a wonderful thing. Many of the concerns he had, I could see myself having early in a relationship. If I were in a foul relationship, I might even have similar thoughts. I connect with Lucas…the idea of wanting to be loved and putting up with more than you should because of that desire is a real thing. Luke found his neighbor at a vulnerable point in his life. In a way, the neighbor seemed liked a rebound relationship. On Luke’s part, the emotions seemed very authentic and reasonable. I had a bit of trouble understanding the reciprocation on the neighbors part though. What drove him to reach out to Luke? I don’t think the book really delved deep enough into that to make me fully invested in the new relationship.
Mystery/Suspense: I have mixed feelings about this area. In one sense, Ms. Byrnes did an excellent job building up the suspense. Each new nugget she placed had me anticipating a big finale. Unfortunately, the ending seemed rather anticlimatic. Good people were good, bad people were bad. It all turned out to be very cut and dry.
Eroticism: So this is the area I’m really craving these days. The dirty old woman (me) comes out of the closet and jumps right into the sack with these two guys, cause inquiring minds (okay, just me) want to know what’s happening under the covers. Ms. Byrnes had quite a bit of sex in this book. As with Ms. Gregg’s book, the sex didn’t get me hot and bothered. Again, I’m not sure if it’s the writing or just me. I had to reflect on this a bit, cause I want books to arouse me on a sexual level. Something about being screwed in an uncomfortable place (folks, I’m not talking about the back of a Volkswagen) doesn’t do it for me. Maybe if I had a prostate gland or something. And I’ve never really had a taste for cum, though I absolutely love Boston cream donuts! Yum! Well, I’ll have to do more book research and examine other writing styles to see if I can get into the anal sex and cum swallowing.
Realism: Now not being familiar with the LGBT community, I can only guess here. But I feel like Jenna Byrnes hit the nail in the realism area. Her characters were very authentic…real people, with real emotions. I loved it! I hated it. 🙂 Sometimes the everyday life of Luke was so authentic it seemed mundane. Likewise, the dialogue was authentic to the point at times it wasn’t very lively. On the other hand, the dialogue gave me aspects I could relate to. For instance, the neighbor said this: “I am a writer, though—of fiction novels. Well, one novel. I’m working on my second. For some reason, it’s not coming as easy as the first.” As a writer, with one unpublished book under my belt, I understand this so well. Ocean Breeze, Little Squeeze is full of minute items like this which my tag a reader for on reason or another. At times, there is an appeal in the mundane.
I’m hesitate to say this as an unpublished writer whose advice was not requested, but I would have liked to see a bit more showing. I didn’t know the characters well enough to envision majority of their emotions. For example, a crestfallen look may look different one person than it does for another. Though Ms. Byrnes gave insight to the characters’ emotions, I would have liked to see them for myself in my ‘mind’s eye.’
Anyway, it’s odd for me to grasp a m/m couple doing the same things a m/f couple would do as far as intimacy. I don’t mean sex, but holding one another. In a sense, it’s sweet. Reminds me that people have the same responses to a kind touch regardless of their sexuality. Thank you Jenna Byrnes for showing this to me. I’m going to go hold my husband now. 🙂
Off note: I’ve been hoping to find a male author who writes M/M romance. I’d love examine the inside of a male mind.