Author: Marcus Lopes
Summary: When it comes to one-night stands, Malachi Bishop has “rules”. No pillow talk. No sleeping over. No planning a future hook-up. First names only. It’s just sex, not a prelude to love. But when Cole Malcolm, a smooth-talking management consultant, woos Malachi into bed, the rulebook is tossed out the window.
The one-time fling leaves Cole reeling: Malachi is his first real shot at happiness, his “forever” man, and he’s determined to show Malachi just how good they could be together. But Malachi doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after, and dodges Cole’s play for his heart. After all, Malachi is still mourning the loss of Taylor Blanchard, whom he hoped to love forever. Then there’s Zach Brennan, a handsome twenty-five-year-old and student at the college where Malachi teaches. Falling for Zach could destroy everything he’s worked for, but Malachi can’t help himself.
Caught by love and in its betrayal, it’s a later affair with a beautiful stranger that changes Malachi’s life most dramatically. Now Malachi must confront his present and his past that bring into question the larger fantasies of home and his place in the world.
Guest Post, written by the author himself! Yay!: Keeping On
This afternoon the sunlight glistens on the snow that fell two days ago. The brown-green grass has finally been covered up. Although it feels colder than -8°C, it actually feels like winter, and it’s a great day to hit the ski slopes. Seated at my kitchen table, the warm sun beaming into the room gives a much-needed lift to the day as well as my spirits.
Over the course of the past few days, I’ve had to trick myself into writing. I don’t have any trouble completing my Morning Pages. I’ve been writing Morning Pages for over ten years so that comes naturally to me. It’s the “real” writing that I’ve been struggling with lately — doing the necessary work on a short story or the novel I’m working on. I tell myself that if I write 1,000 words on the novel, I can watch that episode of “Criminal Minds” that I just downloaded. If I rewrite the opening of the short story that’s been sitting on my desk for the last three days, I can take myself to Le Tassé (the neighbourhood coffee house) for my afternoon Americano. I feel like a little kid whose parents are trying to get him to behave by bribing him. It seems silly that I have to coax myself into writing sometimes, but as silly as it does seem, it works — especially on a day like today when I feel restless.
Maybe restless isn’t the write word. I’ve been anxious. As an artist, I have opened my art, and by extension myself, up to criticism. Just like I had to learn not to take rejection personally when I first started writing, now, as a first-time author, I’m learning how to cope with criticism. My good friend, Adrienne, recently reminded me that I need to “just stay grounded in your conviction that you're doing what you want to do and feel called to do and you don't need the approval of strangers.”
That’s what I’m trying to do, stay grounded in my art. After all, I held stubbornly to a dream and the dream came true. That took courage and faith. Sometimes I forget that. And what was it that Polonius said? Ah, yes, it was this: “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. […] This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
I am being true to myself. Each day I do something to edge myself, and my art, forward. I have great friends who encourage me, and my art. I have to hold onto faith. That is why, just for today, I will keep on keeping on.
Before I post my review, I would like to give a big thanks to all those that made this blog tour possible, and of course, Marcus Lopes, the author who took the time to write this book.
Review: Let me begin this review by saying it is not easy for me to write this. Especially when I picked this book out for a blog tour, something special that people will definitely see and someone will read. I even got a guest post from the author, which makes this harder, but I can’t lie. I can’t. There will be spoilers in this review, so if you think about giving this book a chance, read on with caution.
I have to be straight forward: I was unable to finish the book. I got past the half-way point, but more on that later.
I started this book and though it opened with sex, I thought maybe it was just due to the nature of the two meeting. Oh, no, I was wrong. All these characters think about sex—if they’re not thinking about how terrible their lives were or some philosophical ‘this world is hell’ shit. Seriously.
I’m going to talk about problems with the plot (the very little that there was) before I talk about stylistic problems. Malachi is a very jaded man. He is a jaded man and is, in a sense, a ‘Gary-Stu.’ Every single male mentioned in the first half of this book, with the exception of 2 (who knows—even they might) have a thing for Malachi on some level—even though he was a jerk! Seriously! None of the characters could say one thing to Malachi without him either locking them out, walking away, or giving them a look of contempt and giving them a “Is this even real?” I also thought it would be more than just… his relationships. There isn’t a plot other than Malachi’s and the character’s love life and how they struggle through that. I should have suspected that from the summary, so that’s not really an issue, but I figured it was implied there would be more to the book than the summary implied.
Malachi. Oh, Malachi. I dislike him as a main character very much. He is so goddamn whiny. In the beginning, he feels this need for Cole, yet when he’s given the second chance to reconnect Cole, he rejects him! I don’t care how jaded you are, Malachi. A man of your age, and not a teenager, should be able to ration that no matter what you have feelings and you shouldn’t constantly bitch about those feelings and then, when you get a chance, you deny yourself? Malachi really is just like a teenager. I feel like most of the men treated love like they were a bunch of teenagers. And I’m a teenager saying that! Maybe I’d have liked this book if I was a horny gay man in my early 30s. I also feel like Malachi’s goddamn storminess was so, so beat to death that any moments he had where I liked him in the book, they were so out of character and awkward it just felt forced.
Actually, I don’t even know if they are on the level of “teenager-dom”. Because I tell you, these men got laid a lot in these books, and yet, all they talk about is sex! All they think about is sex! One of the many times Cole is rambling about how he wants to be with Malachi, it’s a sweet paragraph. Up until the bit he includes something like “curl up with him in bed, naked.” Really? Did it have to be naked? Does a good relationship equal one with jack-rabbit amount of sex? It shouldn’t.
I’m sorry this review is jumpy, but I just…there’s so much to say. And I don’t know how to say it all. But here’s another point: I wish that with this book, the author had taken time to set up Zach and Malachi's relationship, rather than just shove it all into a few paragraphs. As a reader, I can hardly sympathize with Malachi-I can only take the author's word for it that he loved Zach. We never saw their love bloom. To me, as a reader, it seemed like any other lust-spurred love. The author told us it wasn't, but because he told and did not show, it is difficult to keep that in mind as Malachi mourns throughout the book. Which he never stops doing. Which isn’t healthy. And as someone who thinks more than he lives, he should probably realize that’s not healthy and go and get himself help.
Now, I said I didn’t finish it, but I got past the half-way point. And I did. But the line that put the nail in the coffin for me was an exact moment in the book. It was just after the reader learns that Malachi leaves Cole, but after his chapter with Chad (once again, a relationship that the author TELLS the reader about, not SHOWS the reader). It’s in Cole’s perspective, and Cole is thinking about all the problems he’s having with Malachi and their relationship. And the line is: “That was the most painful of all to Cole, to think that Malachi no longer desired him.” Now, I believe that at this point there has been a 4 year fast forward since Malachi and Cole initially get into a relationship. You are in a relationship with someone for four YEARS and you’re scared that he doesn’t want to have sex anymore!? That is more concerning to you than the fact that he might not love you anymore? I stopped reading there, but I did go on to skim and to learn what happens, hope my interest would be caught by something… Needless to say, it wasn’t.
I also dislike the set-up of the time scheme in this book. Whenever the characters go off on a tangent, they do. And then without warning, the author throws you right back into the “action” of the book. It’s confusing and it takes a moment to register.
I think, however, with a LOT of editing, this book has potential. The philosophical ideas are a lot in this book, beat to death, but I think if they were hinted at, stated once maybe, narrowed down, it would be much easier to handle. I think, also, if the author took the time to focus on the more important bits in the novel, like the developing of relationships (and not just fast forwarding over 4 years of what the reader can assume was happy time between Cole and Malachi)…. I think those were the most important plot and character issues. It really does need a lot of editing, but there is potential in the story. And in the end, that’s what matters.
Rating: ★★ 2/5 Stars