Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review of Caught Running by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux for the DIK Book Reading Challenge

Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Caught Running
Dreamspinner Press, 2007

Ten years after graduation, Jake "the jock" Campbell and Brandon "the nerd" Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake's baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they'd ever expected. High school is all about image - even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, contemporary, nerd/jock romance, high school teaching/coaching, baseball

Why I read it:
I’ve enjoyed other books by these writers and wanted to read more. I’ve read this book for the DIK Book Reading Challenge.

Jake and Brandon renew their acquaintance when they have to coach the high school baseball team together. Both are gay but don’t know the other one is. Therefore they try to fight their attraction at first until one of them makes a move. A sizzling hot relationship starts in which they each have to deal with insecurities about the other man’s feelings.

My opinion in short:
Caught Running was a joy to read. It has likable, sexy heroes, a fabulous build-up, hot kissing and arousing sex scenes and a great story arc without there being much external conflict. The humorous, light scenes and the more serious feelings and developments are well balanced and the love scenes complement the wonderful relationship building without them being the main focus. I think it makes this a perfect read for new readers to the m/m genre, who don’t shy away from explicit sexual content but want to be taken there gradually. Being an angst free and ultimately enjoyable and hot novel, Caught Running has come to stay on my list of comfort reads as well as on my all time favorites list.

Rating: 4.75 of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Both heroes are sexy and fun guys. Jake is the so called jock and Brandon the nerd, but they both learn quickly that there’s way more to the other man than these stereotypes. The character development of both protags is excellent. These men have depth and are well-rounded characters. I absolutely adored them both and their chemistry is a joy to witness. I also loved the little banter and comfortable humor between them.
There’s an omniscient narrator that has access to both main characters’ minds and thoughts in every single scene, even to those of some secondary characters. With the result that within one single paragraph we get both Jake’s and Brandon’s point of view, back and forth. This asks for a high level of concentration to keep up with the POV fluctuations, which can become dizzying. It took me a little while to get used to this, but once I was, it had advantages to know exactly what both characters thought or did at a certain moment, even when they were not in the same place. Readers who have issues with head hopping in general, probably will get annoyed very quickly. Personally, it didn’t bother me too much in this book.
The first half of the book consists of introduction and development of the characters and the build-up to their first kiss. Anticipation is the key word, which is done fabulously. All we want to know is ‘(when) will they hook up and who’s going to take the first step’. The second half of the book is drawn around their building relationship and the question ‘will it last’. There’s not much of a conflict and hardly any external threats to their relationship, but that doesn’t diminish the urge to keep reading. I still wanted to know how they would handle things. All in all, it was an enjoyable angst free plot, which still had a good suspense arc.
M/M. Very hot kissing scenes and arousing sex scenes made me enjoy this novel a lot. The love scenes complement the story without ‘being’ the story and were extremely well written. And I loved that both men were equals in the bed room. Although Jake is more the alpha type and Brandon is somewhat more insecure about Jake’s feelings, they both took charge in bed when the situation asked for it. Their fabulous chemistry as well as their playfulness made for a lot of variety in scorching, sexy and fun love scenes.
Writing style
There’s only one niggle regarding the writing style, and that is the abundant use of the descriptions ‘the science teacher’ and ‘coach’ or other varieties when Brandon and Jake are mentioned. Other than that, I enjoyed this duo’s writing very much.

Favorite quote:

“He was slowly figuring out that he wasn’t going to get words from Jake. But the actions were pretty damn incredible, and he told himself to be content with that.”

Madeleine Urban’s blog | Abigail Roux’s blog | Caught Running on Goodreads
Buy Caught Running as an ebook here and as a paperback here

Other books by these authors:
Warrior’s Cross (read my review here)
Cut & Run
Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run, #2)


  1. I's so glad that you liked this book, Janna. It is one of my all time faves. :)

  2. Greta review Janna
    The jock and the nerd, never goes wrong with that concept

  3. I really liked that one two. I never seem to have much problem with the head hopping issue but I know it makes some people craaaaazy. :-) Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. It was a great read, wasn't it? So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I really liked this one as well. Glad you enjoyed it. Fab review!

  6. I read this one in one night because I loved it so much.

    I just might re-read this one again this weekend.

  7. @Kris: It's one of mine now as well! :)

    @Blodeuedd: Yep, but luckily this romance was way more than that! :)

    @Tam: Lol! It can make you crazy, depending on how it's done and/or the rest of the story works for you, I guess. :)

    @Chris: It definitely was! I'm glad I've read it. :D

    @Lily: Thank you. :)

    @KC: It's for sure one of those rare books I want to re-read too. :D

  8. How did I miss this one on the list? This has got to be my next month's read! Thanks for the great review, Janna! :)

  9. @Tracy: It is on the list, isn't it? LOL. Enjoy reading it, Tracy, and thank you. :)

  10. What an enlightening review. Thanks for sharing. I love how you not only break down the plot, but the characters, POV, writing style, etc. as well.

  11. @Harris Channing: Thank you so much for the compliment and for stopping by at my place! :)

  12. ...and a great story arc without there being much external conflict.

    I love that. Sometimes I find external conflict gets in the way of the story. I have this on my TBR list and I am looking forward to reading it!

    Great review Janna - thank you!

  13. Great revew Janna! :) As always you feed my M/M smut, and guess what...it's a new month so I don't have to think twice *click* LOL


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