Author: John Inman
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Comedy
Length: Novel (256 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 30th 2012)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts
Blurb: Dating is hard enough. Throw in an incontinent Chihuahua, an unrequited love affair, a severe case of social anxiety disorder, a dying father, and a man-eating hog and it becomes darned near impossible. Still, it takes two to tango—and when Tom Morgan, a mild-mannered assistant bank manager with a debilitating case of shyness, meets Frank Wells, who is straight off the farm and even shyer than he is, sparks start flying.
Just when Tom and Frank’s burgeoning love affair is rolling along nicely, Frank must return to Indiana to oversee the farm while his father battles cancer. Tom tags along to help Frank out and finds himself slopping hogs and milking cows and wondering what the hell happened to his orderly citified existence. And what’s with all the chickens? Tom hates chickens!
With Frank’s help, Tom grits his teeth and muddles through. Funny what a couple of guys can accomplish when they’re crazy about each other. Not even nine hundred chickens can stand in the way of true love.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3424
Review: I remember this book when it was published; I remember thinking “what a nice bum” in reference to the cover – which by the way is a very nice cover – and I remember having too many books to review to pick this one up too.
So months pass and Shy makes its way onto my hands and I start reading it. From the first line till the end, too many feelings and emotions pass through me. Only now that I’m a bit calmer, I am thinking that when a book winks its eye to me I should pick it up ASAP no matter how long my TBR pile is. At this point though there are so many reviews out there for this book that one more won’t make the difference, so instead of a classic review I’m going to go and dissect this book, while I’ll try and hold off the spoilers.
So I’m going to start with the characters of this book.
Tom, our main character and the person whose point of view this story is narrated from, is of course my favorite. He suffers from SAD (social anxiety disorder) and he has a very wandering mind. Why is that important? Well because all those wandering thoughts make it to narration, and while at one moment we’re reading about this very serious event happening, those wayward thoughts make an appearance and ridicule all seriousness. The effect; laughter till you feel the need to change your panties… literally. So back to Tom, who is obsessed with his cheating ex, Jerry, while hates the guts of his ex’s current boyfriend Stanley (the home wrecker/dick), while knowing all the time that he doesn’t stand a chance getting Jerry back, what with his extreme bouts of debilitating shyness. The fact that his “pecker” is huge makes no difference.
Frank: now Frank is Stanley’s brother (can you see the irony and hilarious possibilities?) and he suffers from a more severe SAD situation than Tom. Frank is also gorgeous and really, really nice guy. In short, he and his brother have NOTHING in common.
Jerry; the cheating ex who as the story goes on turns out to be quite stupid as well – that is completely my opinion, others might find him a jerk and so on.
Stanley. The dick! Not my words, I’m simply quoting Tom here for he repeats that quite a lot. Stanley is also known as asshole, but his most outraging characteristic is “mean.”
Now there are other characters in this story, but the one’s that make a strong impact are mostly non-humans.
Pedro, the Chihuahua, whom I would not mind to see strung up from a tree or stomped down by some cow hoofs. I totally hated that Rat-Hellhound so much so that while I don’t want a sequel on this book I wouldn’t mind a short story when Pedro finds a gritty death and not out of old age. The little bugger! Now you might think I’m a bit overacting or mean, you might find redeeming treat for Pedro once you read the story – and grudgingly I admit there are – you might think I don’t love dog (you’d be dead wrong), I don’t really care. This one character came straight from Hell as far as I’m concerned.
Moving on, there was Samson, the hog. I will not comment this character except to say that damn that HOG! He gave me the shock of my life. Or the author did masterfully using Samson for his deviant plans. It worked!
There were also blood-drinking chickens, nasty bumblebees, Grace, the momma-pig and her little piggies (a case that had me thinking “hmmm bestiality? Nahhhh! He wouldn’t…”) and many, many more.
Next stop chemistry and relationship mechanics.
Both main characters here had SAD, so the immediate question that arises is, how realistic is this?
For me this story was so NOT about being realistic that I didn’t even go there. It was pure comedy, sarcasm, and escapism. So if there were exaggerate elements involved (there were) it suited me just fine. It’s what comedy is made of and they made me piss my pants laughing on more occasions than I care to remember.
And that leads to the other issue I usually feel so uncomfortable with, instant love. Tom has this epiphany the very first time he lays eyes on Frank. All his previous obsession with Jerry instantly gone, his panic attacks, while still happening, have become less important because Frank is worse than Tom, and he feels the need to take care of him, ground him/each other facing their common enemy. So while it was quite ludicrous the fact that they saw each other and everything moved in lighting speed, I honestly didn’t notice it. The plot was so full with things happening right and left, the hilarity dripping from every single word I read was so overwhelming, I suppose the tears made it quite hard for me to “see” and get annoyed with the instant little thingy.
At that point, in the book, the plot takes so many turns it would have had my head spinning if it wasn’t so wonderfully written. The ex turns jealous, the brother turns devil incarnate, the setting turns rural from urban, and a whole new range of characters are introduced. The story makes high and lows in the blink of an eye. One moment you’re crying and your face feels like it’s going to have the Joker’s smile for the rest of your life, and the next you get emotional and even a bit sad, because life is just like that, only to get elated once again with the most ludicrous twists you could ever think of.
Now I’m not forgetting the romantic part here. No sir, not at all. It is here where that half heart/star was kind of lost. As I mention at the very start, Tom is quite gorgeous, so is Frank. And while Frank is by no means lacking in the “pecker” department, Tom is constantly pointed out as very, very well endowed. Now, pay attention. The chemistry between these two is brilliant. I loved it. For me it was beyond perfect. But why? Why dear author would you have such a well-endowed character and have him limited to fellatio and hand-jobs? What was with that? The only sex scene that involved penetration in this book was the one between Stanley the dick and Jeff (Frank’s once upon a time hook up). Really? Really? Didn’t that slut have enough he had to get the fun as well? And while we’re reading and reading and patiently waiting for the BIG BANG between Frank and Tom, and personally speaking, I was dying to see them in (anal) action, you go ahead and give us Stanley? What was up with THAT? Ok, so it obviously annoyed me, but rant over.
And all this brings us to the end of this lovely, hilarious story.
Oh My God! No freaking way! That gritty end! I just can’t believe I read that. Oh, God! I freaking LOVED it!