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GAY WRITES REVIEW: Resistance by L.M. Turner

This review is the last of our Gay Writes celebration. Don’t forget to comment on the original post for a chance to win one of those prizes as well as commenting on this post for a chance to win a copy of this book (bundled with a novella).

Dear Ms. Turner.

I can’t stop raving about this book. I really can’t. It’s a perfect book. A sublime book. Every time I thought I had an issue with it, you fixed it and in such a way that made me realize it couldn’t have been any other way. I can’t get these characters out of my head, but, more tellingly, I don’t want to. I just want to turn right around and start the book over again. (This, in fact, is precisely what I did.)

As the book starts:

Ryan has a thing about one-night stands. They"re easy, anonymous, and they do the job. The wide-eyed romantics can keep their relationship bullshit, their dates and one-month anniversaries, and their shared fucking potted plants. Ryan wants to get laid, not shoot himself in the head out of sheer, mind-numbing boredom.

He goes out with his friend one night, finds a guy to hook up with, but then sees Jayden. Jayden is huge — tall and built — and refuses to follow any of Ryan’s hook-up scripts. He refuses to get picked up properly, he tops, and he refuses to leave after they’re done:

“So…” says Ryan, staring up at the ceiling. Jayden"s warm and spent beside him, taking deep, satisfied breaths. And Ryan does what he always does: makes the guy think he wants to leave, when really Ryan"s the one shoving him out of the door. It doesn"t matter that it"s Jayden. It doesn"t. “I suppose you wanna head out now.”

“Nope. I"m staying here tonight.”

“What?” Ryan sits up, exposed in his nudity, as if his nudity is all of a sudden an issue. “Jayden, no. I have this rule-‘”

“No sleepovers? Yeah, I figured. Thing is,” Jayden drawls, reaching up to trace a shiver down Ryan"s spine, “I"ve decided I"m not paying any attention. Where"s your bedroom?” He hops to his feet and heads over to investigate the doors leading off the room.

Ryan stares after him, somewhat dazed. “You can"t just invite yourself to stay in a stranger"s house.”

“Dude, I had my tongue in your ass. You"re way past being a stranger.” He opens a door, pokes his head through. “Oops,” he says, pulling the door shut again, “wrong room. There"s too much pink, and you"re not that gay. This is a girl"s room. Your roommate"s a girl?”

“Yeah.”

“Is she gay?”

“Uh. No. She"s straight. Why?”

“Just wondering,” Jayden says breezily, heading to the next door. “You know, prying into your personal life. Oh, this is the one. Big bed. Good.”

“Jayden, I"m serious here. This isn"t what I do.”

“I know. You"re all about random one-offs.” He disappears into Ryan"s bedroom, and with a mild prickle of fear, as if maybe he"s slowly suffocating, Ryan gets up and follows him. “I get it, dude,” Jayden adds. “No need to keep going on about it.”

And when it comes to Jayden, Ryan doesn’t follow his own script either. They have a second round, Jayden becomes friends with Ryan’s friends, and they have a third round. All this is freaking Ryan out, so he refuses to consider a relationship at all. Jayden finally accepts this, refuses to continue to let Ryan beat him up emotionally, so starts going out with someone else. Which makes Ryan realize what he’s thrown away and he has to work to get Jayden back, a prospect which terrifies him.

The book also breaks most of *my* rules about what I usually like: I don’t like present tense narration. We only see things from Ryan’s third-person perspective and I usually like to see both sides. The final parts of the story are made up of a Misunderstanding, which usually bug the crap outta me. But you make it all work so perfectly and so brilliantly.

For example, as soon as I got to the point of thinking, “okay, Ryan’s cute, but his I-am-an-Island act is a bit much–what’s his deal?” you start hinting at his problem. Then the fact that he HAS a problem becomes part of the story, until he eventually tells Jayden what it is. Because, really, a guy trying to avoid his own emotional issues would, well, avoid them, even in his head, so it WORKS that he avoids them until he’s forced to admit to them. Ditto the Big Misunderstanding at the end of the book. If a guy who has NEVER had a relationship before, has NEVER learned to communicate, sees something he misunderstands, he wouldn’t know how to deal with it. And THAT becomes an issue as the characters work it out. All the things that would be flaws in the hands of a less-skilled author become part of the solution in this book. And that’s just brilliant.

And there is lovely lovely angst all over the place. That’s the part I really loved because I likes me some angst and this is an angsty book. Ryan is just full of it and in beautifully delicious ways. I actually had the thought (after being burned by Zero at the Bone) that the characters’ names, Ryan’s “rules” about one night stands, and Jayden’s inability to take no for an answer were close enough to the first season of Queer As Folk to potentially be fanfic. But on further consideration, the characters are distinct enough from QaF’s characters to be their own characters with their own stories and back-stories and issues. And all that remains is the lovely lovely angst hinted at in QaF’s Brian’s character, but with full explanation and life and solution with Ryan’s story.

A friend of mine who read it at my recommendation sent me a response that included this lovely, evocative analysis: “Overall, it wasn’t a comfortable book. It was the cad reformed to a new level. Instead of a genuinely decent person beneath the facade of a cad, Ryan really was an ass. And he grew by being in love. And on that level, it was a successful book. A great book. But it still wasn’t easy to read.” And I think that’s why I liked this book so much. It’s not an easy book. The best ones aren’t easy. They make their characters and their readers work for it.

I googled like hell to finally find your website. Please write some more, write soon, and let me know when it comes out. I can’t wait to read more from you.

Grade: A

Best regards,
-Joan/Sarah F.

L.M Turner herself has donated two DIGITAL copies (no geo-restrictions) of Resistance which will be bundled with a digital copy of her novella, The Subtle Build of Perfection.  Comment by 11am EST Saturday to win! (One win per person for the week of our Gay Writes giveaways.)

Sarah F. is a literary critic, a college professor, and an avid reader of romance -- and is thrilled that these are no longer mutually exclusive. Her academic specialization is Romantic-era British women novelists, especially Jane Austen, but she is contributing to the exciting re-visioning of academic criticism of popular romance fiction. Sarah is a contributor to the academic blog about romance, Teach Me Tonight, the winner of the 2008-2009 RWA Academic Research Grant, and the founder and President of the International Association of the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). Sarah mainly reviews BDSM romance and gay male romance and hopes to be able to beat her TBR pile into submission when she has time to think. Sarah teaches at Fayetteville State University, NC.

65 Comments

  1. Sirius11214
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:25:31

    Awesome review and book sounds awesome too, would love to read it.

  2. Rene
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:33:18

    What a fantastic review! I would love to read this. Please sign me up.

  3. Grace Fonseca
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:35:22

    Sounds like an awesome book. Makes me want to go out and buy it. Might be in the mood to read some m/m romance now.

  4. Lusty Reader
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:53:42

    with a review like that how can i *not* comment to win? i love love love the sound of Jayden and how he doesn’t take any crap, even if i dont win ill be reading this either way!

  5. Ell
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 10:54:12

    And another one that sounds great!

  6. Cassie
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:08:34

    Would love a chance to read this one–still relatively new to the m/m romance subgenre, but intrigued!

  7. Abby
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:12:22

    Sounds like a really good read!

  8. Valerie
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:12:50

    You’ve got my interest – commenting:)

  9. Kati
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:13:34

    Sold, SO sold! Just in case I don’t win, which publisher so I can get it regardless?

  10. Shannon H
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:16:55

    This sounds like a really interesting book!

  11. Val
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:22:16

    I am so in. I can’t handle angst all the time but when I want it I need it to be good. This sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the great review!

  12. Tweets that mention GAY WRITES REVIEW: Resistance by L.M. Turner | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:24:17

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  13. allison
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:27:29

    Please don’t enter me as I’ve already purchased both of these books.

    That being said – these were fantastic. I cannot wait for more books from this author. So good. The pacing was excellent and the characters weren’t exactly likable but they were intriguing.

    I wanted to smack Ryan because he was a jerk. I wanted to smack Jayden because he kept inserting himself and seemed overbearing. But, I really wanted them to work together. I was glad for the ending and the dance studio. Normally, I’d find it cheesey and simplistic of an ending but, for some reason, I really liked it.

  14. jmc
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:56:02

    Your comparison to QaF sold me on this book :)

    Do you know if it is available for Kindle, or just direct from Loose Id?

  15. Sylwia
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:56:23

    Great review. How can I resist. Please count me in for the lucky draw.

  16. srs
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:59:28

    I really, really want to read this book. Your review of The Subtle Build of Perfection intrigued me, though not quite enough to buy the book. This sold me though and if I don’t win, I’ll probably buy a copy.

  17. vickyvak
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 12:16:46

    This sounds like an awesome book! Would love to read it!

  18. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 12:33:55

    I find it interesting you felt “burned” by Zero at the Bone’s fanfic ancestry. Once I read its Brokeback Mountain roots, it didn’t change my opinion of the story. They seemed completely distinct as characters, with their names as homages more than anything else.

    I didn’t love, love ZATB though, so maybe that kept me from feeling cheated. My favorite m/m so far has been Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley. I like teh angst.

    This book’s going on Mt. TBR as well. It sounds nice and dense.

  19. Hawkeyegirl
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 12:38:02

    This sounds so good, I loved the review! I think I will also be buying it, whether I win or not.

  20. Sarah
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 13:25:43

    This review completely won me over. It sounds like this book has everything I want in a story, and I’m so looking forward to checking out this author!

  21. Sunita
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 13:30:22

    What a great review to end a terrific week on. Many thanks for everything you’ve done, Sarah, and thanks also to all the wonderful people who donated.

  22. Joder
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 13:32:57

    I love the m/m genre and am always on the lookout for books I haven’t heard. I love the sound of this one and your review cinches. I would love to get my hands on it.

  23. Liz
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 13:48:06

    A thoughtful review that persuaded me of your opening adjectives (perfect and sublime) and really made me want to read the book. Thanks for this, and for the whole week. What a great project!

  24. jayhjay
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 13:53:18

    Ooh, this book was soooo good! I read it after seeing in one of the monthly recommended reads and I just loved it. I really like how Jayden is confident and willing to push for the relationship that he wants with Ryan. But he is also not a total doormat and moves on when he feels like things aren’t working out. Of course, they get their HEA after things resolve, but it is nice to see that he is not willing to be walked all over in order to get his guy.

    I found the first person distracting at first, but once the story got moving I forgot all about it. I would definitely recommend this book as a great read.

    P.S. I own this already, but I guess you can enter me for the novella.

  25. RachelT
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:03:41

    I have wanted both Resistance and The Subtle Build of Perfection since they were reviewed by Jessewave. Both books appear to have situations where the couple had to work to make their relationship progress in a positive direction. Much more satisfying than everything just falling into place for an early HEA.

  26. Miranda
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:21:32

    Ohhh, I love angst and alpha! I just put this book on my list. Thanks for reminding me of Queer as Folk, too. I had forgotten I love Hal Sparks.

  27. Lindsey
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 15:19:15

    Oh my goodness, I want to read this book. Even if I don’t win it, it’s going on my list. It sounds absolutely amazing.

  28. Mary G
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 15:27:23

    Love this premise. Can’t wait to read it.
    Love sexy, emotional books.

  29. Mary G
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 15:28:19

    @Mary G: Love this premise. Can’t wait to read it.
    Love sexy, emotional books.

  30. Tamara Hogan
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 15:48:05

    Would love to read these.

  31. OctopusGallery
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 15:56:08

    Sign me up! That sounds good and your A reviews haven’t steered me wrong yet.

  32. Carin
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 16:10:25

    This sounds like a wonderful book!

  33. hapax
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 16:55:31

    Perfect book? Sublime book? Sign me up!

  34. cories5
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 16:59:37

    Great review! A cad reformed by love is a good trope.

  35. Tricia
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 17:18:51

    This is on the top of my TBR now

  36. Christine
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 17:33:20

    This sounds so interesting.

  37. Gina
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 17:58:54

    Oh toss my name in for this one… just in case I’ll add it to my wish list :)

  38. Rebecca (one of them)
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 18:25:32

    This is going on my TBB list.

  39. Kaetrin
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 19:05:59

    I. Want. Please :)

    Sounds great – like Sarah, I love me some angst.

  40. Jen Merry
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 19:20:21

    As soon as you started talking about how angsty this was I knew I wanted it, even though this isn’t my usual genre. Please enter me.

  41. Jaye
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 19:43:52

    “Nope. I’m staying here tonight.”

    LOVE IT!
    I dated a dude like that once– now I’m married to him.
    I can’t wait to read this!

  42. Merrian
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 20:17:51

    I would love to read this book. The idea of Ryan needing to find and overcome himself; to come out of hiding from what he wants and needs is so with the theme for this week! Lovely review.

  43. Erin L
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 21:02:47

    Pick me! Pick me! Sounds like a great read.

  44. LoriK
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 21:42:54

    I love good angst so I would love a copy of this.

  45. May
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 21:43:12

    I’ve just finished The Subtle Build of Perfection and loved it. Please enter me in the draw for this one, tho’ I will be buying it if I don’t win.

  46. Paula
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 22:36:58

    The present tense narration usually requires a little adjusting from me, but I didn’t even notice it in the snippet until you mentioned it, so I don’t think it’ll be much of a problem this time. That’s a good sign, for sure.

  47. Leni
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 23:24:20

    The way you described your feelings about this book is what I like to get out of a book when I read it. This author is new to me, but I am interested now.
    Please include me in the giveaway.

  48. Elly
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 23:31:32

    I’m interested. I bought The Subtle Build of Perfection based on your review a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. Did you guys review Resistance once before though? It sounds familiar.

  49. Marie
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 23:44:49

    Can’t not put my name in after that review!

  50. Debra
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 03:19:25

    I will read almost anything that Joan loves but I will purchase this. At least it helps support the author right? lol

    Deb

  51. nasanta
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 04:30:18

    I think it’s been a while since I’ve read a review that makes me want to run out (or head straight for the download links) and buy the book. I was surprised to find out that those handy links were missing! I would like to know if this is available through Kindle as well.

    Thank you very much for the review. I am still testing the waters of m/m romance, and anticipating adding this one to my small collection.

  52. Marcella
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 05:24:16

    I’ve never read a M/M romance, but after this review I might.

  53. Angie
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 05:43:19

    This sounds like the kind of book that makes one want to kick back with popcorn to fully enjoy the fun of watching Ryan freaking out. :)

    Also, books that are soooo close to being trainwrecks, but the writer pulls it out just in time, every time, and makes it work perfectly, are wonderful things. Rick Reed’s Orientation was like that — so close to being a trainwreck, and in the hands of a lesser writer it would’ve been, but instead it all ended up exactly as it should have. If this is another one of those, I definitely need to grab it.

    Angie

  54. Elizabeth
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 06:54:17

    This autthor – new to me – seems like a wonderful cap to the week. I’d love to read both Resistance and Perfection, and will have to put out my own cash if I don’t win here. Thanks fir the helpful review, too.

  55. Donna
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 09:01:36

    Ooh sounds good – I want to win, I’ve already decided to buy it if I don’t, so I may as well get the credit card out now as I missed out on that elusive lucky gene!!

  56. S. W. Vaughn
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 11:19:43

    Damn. Missed the entry time by *that* much…

    Ah, well. I enjoyed this review, and I’ll probably pick up a copy of this anyway. Thanks for reviewing this, Joan!

  57. Joan/SarahF
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 11:04:05

    @Marie @Mary G are our winners! Congratulations. You’ll be getting an email from me.

  58. orannia
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 15:55:47

    Thank you Sarah! The first excerpt had me interested, the second had me hooked….and then you threw in that there was angst? And emotional issues? *drools* Resistance is on my TBR list now…at the top *grin*

  59. dana
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 16:42:48

    This sounds great, I’d love to read it.

  60. dana
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 16:46:11

    oops too late, lol!

  61. Dayna
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 08:13:11

    Well, this book was calling my name. So, even though I’m a lazy, Kindle owner (love the ease of buying books), I actually figured out how to read this. I downloaded Stanza on my iPhone, and then I bought it directly from Loose ID. I’m so glad I did. It was an extremely HOT and sexy story, but it was also emotionally touching. I loved it. Thanks.

  62. Mary G
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 20:24:02

    Ok I won this book but I’m telling you all, go buy it now. It’s beyond amazing.
    Reading the review again after I read the book makes me appreciate even more. I’m not eloquent enough to do it justice.

  63. Sarah Frantz
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 20:33:50

    @Mary G: Yay! So glad you loved it. *I* loved it. :) Love pimping amazing books!

  64. Mary G
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 20:45:12

    Thanks again Sarah. I feel as you do. These people/this book will be in my head for awhile (along with the characters from Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards LOL – she happens to have a Frankie & Jess in that one). I thought it was gritty, brilliant, & all that is wonderful about a book.
    I love pimping books too. Still wish I could explain better why I loved it so much.

  65. Mary G
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 20:47:35

    I forgot: The conversation between Ryan & Ethan on page 52 was just so good. I had to read it a few times. LOL.

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