Loose Id, March 2010
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Ménage, Violence, Private vs Public Life, Politics
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3 flames
I’ve read this romance for the M/M Reading Challenge, it’s a full length novel and I bought it as an ebook (my pdf has 245 pages). I don’t think it’s available as a paperback yet.
This is one of my High 5, Low 5 reviews. In general the High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in a less admiring way. In this case the last ones were not really low, only a little lower than the High Five.
More is one of those books that surprised me and made me reconsider a few preconceptions I have about my own likes and dislikes. I’ll talk about a few of my usual dislikes under Low 5. And although I listed them under the low five, you’ll see that they’re not really dislikes here, somehow they worked for me in this book.
So, when I closed the book a content sigh came out of me. I loved it. Whenever that occurs, I feel the need to write a review about the book, but also know that when I would do that immediately after finishing the book, I have not much more to say than that the book is fabulous and a variety of those adjectives. Therefore, it took me a few weeks, but now I can give you my thoughts on this gay ménage.
First the Back Blurb:
For fifteen years Luke Moore has lived by three rules: stay off his father's radar, never spend more than a single night with any man, and never fall in love again. But one night of explosive sex and two men whom he can’t get out of his head have Luke breaking them all. Richard and Matthew push him past all his boundaries—both sexually and personally—and now he’s no longer hiding from his senator father; he’s taking him on. And he isn’t just falling for one man; he’s falling for two. If you're going to break the rules, might as well break them big.
But Luke’s father has his reasons for hating how his son lives, and he’ll do whatever he can and use all his power to keep Luke away from Richard and Matthew.
Can this threesome find a way to make their unconventional relationship last with the world around them trying to pull them apart? And will Luke be able to keep breaking his rules for Richard and Matthew, or will he head back to his familiar way of life just when his new lovers want to bind him tighter?
• Good writing style
If I hadn’t known that this was a debut novel, I would’ve never been able to tell. It’s written very well: with functional descriptions, no annoying mistakes, good dialogue and good visualization. Yes, even for me, a non-native speaker, it’s important that the language and writing style are good. Maybe even more so. I don’t want to get distracted or taken out of the story because of a bad sentence or a discontinuity in a description of a scene. So, I appreciate a well-written (and well-edited) story very much, also because this is not always the norm in this genre.
• Great build-up
Along with the first high, comes the second: the story has a good pace, the right amount of suspense and a natural feel to the relationship building. I like it that it’s not rushed and has the length of a novel.
• No taking a nosedive for this ménage
I’m rather picky when it comes to ménage romances because usually they only satisfy me in the erotic and not in the romance department. It’s quite tricky for an author to make the polyamorous relationship believable (for me). I seldom buy the ‘I love you’s that are exchanged at the end, just to give the book a HEA. Ms. Parker succeeds in making my romantic heart flutter for her three guys in More. And, like I said, that’s not an easy job. She lets the three men individually, at different moments and to other people, tell how they see the other two men in their lives. And for example when Richard talks about Luke and Matthew on page 188 I can understand how their relationship works (for them). He says: “The attraction and affection you see between them – it isn’t just about them. Wrapped up in that is me – their feelings for me.” The author worked hard with many other descriptions like this one and by showing their feelings within their behavior, before I became a ‘believer’, but she succeeded.
• Loveable & well-developed characters
Very important for me is how I feel towards the main characters. I know it’s probably the most subjective one of my criteria but I’m not the only reader for whom this is essential. It just makes it easier to keep reading. And I just happened to like Luke and Richard a lot and really love Matthew. His bouncing, happy persona was outright adorable. At least, that’s what I thought, someone else might disagree… But, they probably will agree that the characters were well-developed and showed some growth, especially Luke. He almost changed from black to white: from a loner to a dedicated lover, from submissive towards his dad’s demands to an ‘action hero’, from being secretive to a sharing person and from a guy on the run to a domestic man.
• Steamy sex scenes
You know me… and in case you don’t, I’ll say it out loud… I heart steamy, hot love scenes. And More absolutely delivered them. Nice, long sex scenes that left me sizzling. Also not unimportant, there was a lot of hot kissing going on. And maybe I like a good kiss scene even better than a sex scene but those two combined makes the best love scene. I hardly ever reread a book but I would reread More for them alone, and I think Mr. ErotRomReader won’t object if I do.
Well, the love scenes were not only hot but also showed a parallel development that was present in that of the relationship - or to be more precise Luke’s growth. It’s symbolic that he wants to be tied up the first time the three men meet and have sex, and Luke’s also the one who refuses to go bareback long after the two other men are ready for that kind of commitment. So, the sex scenes mirror the feelings in this relationship and play an important role in understanding each other. I love it when sex is functional like that *grin*.
• The amount of sex
Okay, that being said, I have to make a comment on the amount of sex scenes, because it can be overwhelming. It wasn’t for me, because I read the book spread out over three or four days. But, I can imagine that it is, when you read the book in say one day. I like to add that the sex scenes never became repetitive at all. That’s an achievement in itself with that high quantity.
• Luke’s father’s influence
Luke’s father, the politician, has a slightly unbelievable hold on his son. I didn’t quite buy his behavior, perhaps it was a little over the top. But then, reality is probably weirder than fiction. Also Luke’s impassive attitude – always on the run, never confronting his father – rang a bit untrue. But this element in the story made for great suspense and was a perfect motivation for the pace the love story took. It didn’t bother me, but asked for a little suspension of disbelieve.
• The setting of the gay sex club
The gay sex club, where the three men meet in the beginning of the story, is not my favorite setting, usually. It’s so not romantic. Nevertheless, it was a very logical setting, not only for Luke (who avoided everything smelling like a committed relationship) but also for Richard and Matthew. Ms. Parker did explain well why they were there. Still, I was relieved when the club was left for what it was, after only a few meetings. The setting of Richard’s house was much better.
• Lack of a social life
Luke, Matthew and Richard don’t seem to have many friends or family. Richard’s social life consists only of his business meetings, Matthew just has his mother with whom he has a wonderful relationship for that matter. And Luke only has one good friend, an older ex-cop, who seems to be mainly a handy contact because of his security skills. I usually prefer there to be some meaningful relationships besides the love interest, but somehow I hardly missed it in this book. Probably because there already was so much going on with Luke’s investigation, the threats from his father, all the sex, the relationship issues, etcetera.
• The use of first POV
This story is told solely from Luke’s point of view, in first person. I always thought it’s not my favorite POV, but more and more of my five star reads, like this one, seem to be written in first POV (e.g. books from Sean Kennedy, L.B. Gregg and Josh Lanyon). Often it doesn’t work for me, but when it’s done well, it gives a book that little extra. I think it was a good choice for More, because with the three male characters it could’ve become awfully confusing with the changing POV’s and a disastrous case of head hopping. But, still, I put it under my Low Five, because I really missed Matthew’s and Richard perspective.
Ps: There are rumors that Ms. Parker is thinking about writing two sequels to More from Richard’s and Matthew’s POV
Ps2: I've invited Sloan Parker over to my place for next week. She’ll be talking about writing in first person and third person for romances (her next manuscript is in third from both character’s POV). She also generously offered to give away a copy of More, so check in next Wednesday if you want to know more about that.
Those were my five highs and five lows. Did you notice how my five lows weren’t really deal breakers? I guess it’s obvious then that I totally loved More! It was a very sexy and heartwarming love story with good suspense. I completely believed in the polyamorous nature of this relationship and especially Matthew found his way to a special little place in my heart. The story of Luke’s life is heartbreaking and I’m happy that he found a way out of it. More definitely made my Favorites of 2010 list. And I would be the first to buy a sequel from Richard’s or Matthew’s point of view.
Sloan Parker's weblog and website
Sloan Parker on Twitter
Buy the book here
Read an excerpt here
More on Goodreads
Jenre's review: Good
Jessewave's review: 4.75/5 stars
Kathy Kozakewich's review: 5/5 stars
Rainbow reviews: 5/5 stars
Ebook Addict Theresa's thoughts
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