Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's All Geek to Me by JL Merrow

Title: It’s All Geek to Me
Author: JL Merrow
Purchase at Riptide
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary, humor
Length: 57 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf,

Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon . . . and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?


JL Merrow’s been accused of humor, and I’m happy to give her that particular shaky finger again. She’s plopped us into the head of Jez, whose cheerful blithering is the soundtrack to his pursuit of the hunk he’s found selling comic books. Jez has little or no governor on his mouth; what he thinks is internal dialog comes flying out into the open air, so he’s in dread fear of the truth popping up.

In a maneuver every insecure paddler in the dating pool will recognize, Jez decides that the best way to attract this vision is to be completely enamoured of Rhys’ interests. We get to watch him, flailing away, inserting his foot in his mouth every few minutes, and also being on a collision course with every stationary bit of memorabilia in the vicinity. Jez is loveable in his anxiety, which a bad ex helped kick into high gear.

A sly bit of wordplay got in—Jez really is a geek, in a different sense of the word, being an industrial chemist searching for “noncarcinogenic ways to take nasty niffs out of carpet.” He’s critical of a comic book character’s lab practices, a plot point most of the “readers” wouldn’t have considered. The twisted pop references bring out the reader’s inner geek: who wouldn’t start thinking about Plants VS Zombies or giggle at a radioactive mongoose? The British flavor of the slang hasn’t been Americanized out, thank you thank you, though I did have to figure out what scrumpy is.

The story is light on plot, which is fine, what’s there is cute, and long on humorous angsting, which carries the story but does get a little wearing. The secondary characters, Tel, whose damaged book started the adventure, and Angharad, Rhys’ formidable sister, lighten the non-stop buzz of Jez’ thoughts. And of course, the sex is fun and hot.

This is a sweet creampuff of a story, light and sure to leave you with a smile. 4 marbles

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