Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur

Title: No Such Thing
Author: A.M. Arthur
Buy at Carina
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: not listed
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 67k works
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf,

Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent's reputation, he's lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he's back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss's hot brother.

Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he's still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister's diner awakens desires he'd long ago given up on.

The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he's scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro's past forces them to confront their feelings in the present...


I had wildly different reactions to different aspects of the story. Some of them were good, some meh, and one blew my socks off.

The main story line, that of Alessandro and Jaime, was actually the biggest meh—yes Jaime’s gay, yes he’s completely inexperienced, yes Alessandro can cure him of that, and of course they will both fall in love. Nothing exactly wrong with it, aside from a certain paint-by-number effect as each lesson is laid out. But still, not especially gripping. Jaime’s heart transplant serves mostly as a vehicle to get him to 23 and never been kissed. Kind of a wasted opportunity—any feelings he has about living on someone else’s heart or the more practical aspects aren’t strong on the page.

Alesandro’s past as a troubled teenager in the foster care system and how it’s affecting his life now made me sit up and take interest. He can both see himself in his youngest foster brother and try to mentor him to a better path. Unlike Jaime’s heart transplant, ten year old Tony, his actions and his attitudes matter to this story. He makes Alessandro pop as a character and as a good man who might not always have been so good. An old high-school nemesis lives in town, and while by himself he’s only 2.5 dimensional, he also prods Alessandro into examining moral choices.

Another good aspect is that there is a sense of the characters having lived before they arrive on the page, rather than coming into existence where the book opens. This is largely a function of interactions with secondary characters. Eunice, the foster mom, and Jaime’s sister Shannon were fully fledged people and added to the depth of story.

Where my socks and I parted ways: Alessandro takes Jaime to a club in Wilmington. This was the standout section of the book, and the reason I will return to this story. Both in the club and after they leave it, the actions and interactions are one of the most amazing demonstrations of caring, concern, uncertainly, blossoming, and hawt sex ever. It’s perfect within the framework of their relationship. Anyone who wants to whine about cheating here should quit clutching their pearls so tightly and go back to reading het. It isn’t cheating, it is growth, and it’s beautiful all the way around. The reviewer who never bookmarks has this section bookmarked.

The book had a feeling of unevenness that plateaued out at a higher level past the midpoint, so while the first half didn’t do a lot for me, the second half certainly did. The club scene especially, and while I want to rate high for that alone, the rest of the book isn’t really keeping up with it. This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but it certainly won’t be the last. 4.25 marbles

In a separate but related note, Carina needs a good swift kick in the ass for that cover. One of the characters is of Brazilian ancestry and is mentioned explicitly as having dark hair and caramel-toned skin. Not only is that cover whitewashed with two generic white boys, but the picture and titles are made of fail. Readers, it’s not the author’s fault a diamond has been packaged in an old Big Mac wrapper.

It actually looks like Carina is either trying to choke this book or find out how poor a presentation readers will tolerate. The publisher didn’t bother to upload an excerpt to ARe, or to proofread the product description on their own site.

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