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Evangeline Anderson

REVIEW: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

REVIEW: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

1109Evangeline Anderson’s books are my dirty little secret, my secret shame, my love that dare not speak its name. I don’t know WHY her writing makes me feel oh so fulfilled but in such a wonderful dirty way, but it does. They’re so full of *angst* and *melodrama* and *gay for you* and all the things that usually just make me roll my eyes. But they’re quick reads, hott! as anything, rollicking good fun, and you totally don’t notice the huge gaping plot holes until after you’re done and REreading the damn thing when you go, Hur? (like I just did). Her books are the one reading habit I’m ashamed of, but it’s the squidgy, yummy shame that you just want to share with people. So let me share…

Str8te Boys is pretty much dorm porn with extra-angst. It’s a short little story–under 70 pages–but so much fun. It’s told completely from the third-person perspective of Maverick (ORLY? I mean, that name? Really?!), an arrow-straight (uh-huh) jock at the end of his senior year of college, who happens to play “gay chicken” with even straighter, party animal roommate and best friend, Duke (Again! See what I mean?!). What is gay chicken? you ask, as well you might.

The idea was for two guys to get as close to kissing as they could. The one to pull away first was the loser. Duke always won because he was a fierce competitor where any sport was concerned-’be it soccer, baseball, basketball, football, table tennis-or gay chicken.

Riiiiiight. And that’s pretty much the plot. Duke plays gay chicken with Maverick as the stakes get higher and higher, until Mav starts issuing his own dares. And as you read through your wince, eyes squinty from embarrassment (like that terrible, wonderful, can’t-not-look movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), the scenes just get hotter and hotter. And Maverick is all like, “What does this make me? Am I gay? No! I’m just helping out my best friend as I suck his cock! I don’t feel this way about anyone else but him! But the sex is so hott! how could I be straight?!” And Duke is…

Well, there’s the plot hole. Duke is captain-of-the-soccer-team, huge-porn-collection, totally-blind-drunk-at-parties, spent-rent-money-on-weed STRAIGHT!dammit. More-grossed-out-by-gayness-than-Mav STRAIGHT!dammit. And then not so much. Then all the angst is about how he’s been gay and in love with Mav all along, waiting for Mav to see the light. And it totally works while you’re reading, but then you think about it and go, Hur? and feel all dirty again. :)

The one thing about Anderson’s writing is that she writes men in a fascinating way. Her men sound like and think like men, but somehow I can’t ever forget that they’re being written by a woman. These are not “men” who say to each other, “Let’s talk about our feelings,” as I once read in a m/m romance (*gak*). And they’re not what DA Janet calls “heroimens,” who take SUCH good care of the heroines and paint her toenails and give her a backrub–without sex! Anderson’s men are emotionally constipated, porn-loving, beer-drinking *men*….who happen to have been sleeping with each other–completely platonically!–for two and a half years?!?! Again, I say, ORLY? When I read Anderson, I can’t shake the conviction that her men are the female-constructed fantasy of emotionally constipated, porn-loving, beer-drinking *men* blindsided by love for their best friend. I mean, of course they are–they’re written by a woman. But some women write men who just read like men (La Nora, of course, and Suzanne Brockman, K.A. Mitchell, frex). Anderson writes men who read like men constructed by a woman. Which doesn’t mean they’re not fun–they totally are–but rather than just falling into the story and coming out the other side, I’m constantly aware of the meta-narrative, the “fantasy constructed by a woman for women”-ness of the stories.

But then there’s lots of lovely groveling by both boys and it doesn’t matter anymore. And at three in the morning, when no one’s watching, I’ll open my computer and guiltily read Str8te Boys and Anderson’s ultimate gay-for-you, The Assignment again. And again. And again and again. And if that’s not the ultimate endorsement, squidgy dirty shame aside (or maybe not, maybe that’s the point), I don’t know what is.

Grade: A squidgy guilty B-

-Joan/Sarah F. (who couldn’t bring herself to actually address this to Dear Ms. Anderson, she now realizes. Hrm.)

This book can be purchased via Samhain Publishing.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Take Two by Evangeline Anderson

Dear Ms. Anderson:

Take TwoThis is the third and last book that I have of yours that I read. I bought it back in November when it came out, still thinking about the Dangerous Cravings book. I figured that any excessive porniness that existed in Dirty Girl would surely be stamped out by the editing at Aphrodisia. I also thought that a sci fi erotic romance would be a fun read. I can safely say that every thought I had was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sadie, the girl with no last name, is a reporter from the planet IO. She wants to make it big as a journalist, but her chauvinistic boss won’t let her investigate any good stories. She uses her vacation days to infiltrate the prostie-borg plant in hopes of writing a career making expose. This is awkward for her because she is raised in the morally upright colony of Goshen by a mean and uncaring Aunt, but her unnatural sexual desires led to her fiance leaving her.

Her plan falls apart when her “Overlook Me” chip starts breaking down (isn’t it convenient that they make a chip like that?) and she is chosen to service two miners. These two miners, though, are really undercover cops from Old Earth’s Vice squad investigating illegal mind transplantations from live individuals into the prostie-borgs. David Blakely and Christian Holtstein are a Tandem Unit based upon a chip that was implanted in their bodies. This chip makes it so that they could read each others emotions and make them a better team. It is defective in that the chip requires a third, a woman, to complete the circuit.

The world building was inconsistent and weak with gaping holes. This futuristic world contains other colonies but Sadie, a denizen of another planet, uses terms like “human interest” in describing the type of pieces she usually works on. When she meets one of Blakely, she immediately recognizes that he has a “Brooklyn” accent despite hardly ever leaving the planet of Goshen. She dreams about winning the Solar Prize but then later refers to it as the Pulitzer Prize. All of the characters say “Goddess” for some reason although there is no explanation of why that particular references is used. Why Old Earth’s Vice Squad would be involved in the making of prostie-borgs on another planet isn’t explained.

The majority of the story focuses on Sadie saying “I’m not that kind of girl” before, during and after multiple sex acts with the boys. The police investigation of the prostie-borg is entirely an after thought and serves only to setup situations in which Sadie MUST couple with the boys in order to save herself or them. It’s a tiresome in its repetition. Sadie is the epitome of a TSTL heroine. She goes undercover without telling anyone and without any escape plan. She doesn’t even have money to get back to Goshen. She has no skill as an investigator but still creeps out on a dangerous planet to follow Blakely and Holt. She constantly says she “isn’t that type of girl” but paragraphs later is telling the boys to clean her off with their tongues.

As for Blakely and Holt. Gah. These two talk, think and act like gay men. They actually refer to each other as “babe”.

“You joining the party, babe?” he asked his partner, his voice low and sensual.

They sleep together in a king sized bed. Straight men do not sit next to each other in the movie theater. They don’t like restaurant booths. A straight man is not to look at another man peeing in the urinal next to him. Given the choice of sleeping together on a bed and sleeping on the floor, the straight man is sleeping on the floor no matter the discomfort. Sadie, of the no last name, is nothing more than a prostie-borg regardless of the attempts to make me believe that they are all falling in love together. D.

Best regards,

Jane