Reviewing Life by Lara Brukz

ReviewingLifeLGTitle: Reviewing Life

Series:   Sequel to Five Star Review

Author: Lara Brukz

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (134 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 19, 2013)

Heat: Moderate

Heart: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts

Reviewer:   Eli/Mandingo

Blurb: Recovering alcoholic Marshall Ellerbee still grieves the loss of his best friend and lover, Eric. After a year of sobriety, Marshall accepts a new job with the Wellness Center, something else to help him continue cleaning up his life. Things are finally improving when his sponsor has a heart attack. The counselor hired to replace him is none other than Kyle Young, the lost ex’s best friend. Kyle has always hated Marshall, but now they must work together and move past their history. When Marshall saves Eric’s life, Kyle suddenly sees Marshall in a new light. But will romance unsettle Marshall’s hard-won new stability…

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Review: The m/m genre loves a broken man who must claw his way back to life and this book is no exception to the rule.  How much more broken can you get than to be an alcoholic who must learn to take things one day at a time. The reader meets Marshall after he has devastated not only his own life but that of others as well.  But the Marshall the reader meets is one who is reformed and trying daily to live the life he must, as he conquers those familiar twelve steps.

The book is well written, the characters nicely developed and exceedingly likable, the pacing excellent and the storyline very believable.  As a contemporary story, a reader could not ask for much more. It is also a great depiction of the life of a recovering alcoholic, and how they must exist, if they are not to fall prey to their addiction. The characters of Marshall and Kyle are well crafted and their romance is intriguing to watch as Marshall must earn Kyle’s respect and Kyle must learn to overcome his prejudices.  The crisis in the story, however, occurs not when Marshall encounters a roadblock, but instead it is when Kyle must confront his own prejudices and fears.  The secondary characters of Eric, Cade and Dane are also written well to help propel the storyline along.

Without giving away plot secrets, the epilogue and the sport the two men are involved in is a great metaphor for the entire story and really provides the story’s theme: Sometimes in life you simply have to either be willing to step out in faith or trust that when you take that step, someone will either be there to catch you or hold you as you go. 

Five Star Review by Lara Brukz

5602050Title:  Five Star Review

Author: Lara Brukz

Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance

Length:   Novella (105 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 11th, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5 to 3 Hearts

Blurb: Gay romance author Cade Montgomery is so thrilled when his latest book is given an excellent review by Eric Carillo that he sends Eric a personal e-mail thanking him for the rating. Occasional e-mails become frequent, and soon Cade and Eric are talking online almost every day. Their online relationship spans a thousand miles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Can their virtual romance survive in the real world? Because both men want to give their own romance a five star review

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Reviewer:  Showme

Review: Cade is a romance author who has had his heart-broken and swore to never give it away again. Sex without attachments is what he likes. He strikes up a friendship with Eric after he reviews his book for an online gay book review site. Eric is a huge fan of Cade’s writing and quickly becomes a fan of the man himself. After months of flirting online Cade lets Eric know he’ll be in Seattle, Eric’s hometown, for work and would love to meet him. The physical attraction is there and an error in the reservation at Cade’s hotel leaves him staying at Eric’s house. It doesn’t take long until the two give up the fight and end up in bed. It’s so much more than either man thought but both know at the end of the week Cade goes back to Phoenix so they decide to enjoy every moment they’re together.

Hmmm… from the blurb this sounded like a fun read. What I read seemed more like a satire of a gay romance novel. Everything was just a little too sweet, a little too sappy, and a little too dramatic to be taken seriously. The situations were a little over the top. Drunk driving, stalking, death, disability and of course insta love/lust all wrapped up in one short book was maybe a little much for my tastes. It wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews I’ve read but I did cringe at some of the dialogue and soap opera-ish drama. I enjoyed the online flirting and can tell the author is probably a fun person in real life but it just didn’t translate well to paper. Too bad because I liked the premise of the story.