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REVIEW: The Subtle Build of Perfection by L.M. Turner

Dear Ms. Turner.

I found this book by looking for your backlist after I fell into reading your new Loose Id release (that I will review when I’ve finished it). I finished this one first, though, because it’s shorter. And I couldn’t stop reading it.

TheSubtleBuildofPerfection_300X454Connor works in a video store with his roommate Boyd. One day, Dane comes into the store to take out a movie. Connor and Dane spend three days dancing around the issue of whether they like each other, then two weeks of slowly building a relationship. That’s it. And seriously, that doesn’t sound like enough, but I could NOT stop reading. I HAD to know how it ended. Srsly.

I know I said in my review here that no conflict in a story was an issue for me. And Subtle Build has very little conflict. But it’s a short little thing — 60 pages or so — and the tension between these two adorable characters of will they or won’t they get through their own insecurities is amazing. In My Summer of Wes there was no tension around the relationship — the characters get together very early and stay together, with no internal barriers to get over. In Subtle Build, there’s no outside plot at all–this is just two guys meeting and falling for each other — but the internal tension, the sexual heat, the “let’s not screw this up because we’ve got something important here” was just perfect. So while there was no deep emotional angst, no secret in their past, nothing that needed to be healed, there was still tension and worry and hope and sweet seduction.

The story is told entirely from Connor’s third person perspective, but you don’t lose Dane’s character at all. They’re distinct people, wonderful characters. You’ve got a gift for dialogue and emotional representation:

Connor’s phone broke without him realizing it. He talks with Dane after he figures it out:

"I thought it was because I wasn't putting out. I saw you, what? Five, six times? And all you ever got from me was a kiss."

"It's fine," Connor said in a rush. "I don't mind, honestly. I can wait."

"Really? Could you wait for, say, a month?"

"Yes. Definitely."

"You don't even know if I'm worth it," Dane said, an odd edge to his tone.

"I'll take the risk."

Dane was silent for a moment. "What about six months?"

"What?" said Connor, before he could stop himself. He cleared his throat. "Um. I mean. Yeah, if that's what it takes. I could try…" Even he could hear the uncertainty in his voice, and he grimaced. "You know what? I want to wait. We're waiting."

"Really?" said Dane. "That's a shame, because I was kinda hoping we could forget the whole waiting bullshit and you'd let me suck your cock next time I saw you."

Despite this excerpt, there’s almost no sex in this book. But I totally didn’t need it. There’s enough sexual tension to fill 300 pages.

This story was laugh-out-loud funny, but more than that, it was sweet. It was sweet and gentle and I could FEEL these two men just fall for each other. I could feel them yearning, I could feel them clicking, and I could feel them a bit pole-axed about how quick it was. It was amazing, and OMG, I can’t wait to read your Loose Id release.

Grade: A-

Best regards,
-Joan/Sarah F.

Book Link |  Fictionwise |  Cobblestone Press

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.


  1. sirius11214
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 06:32:38

    I think I want it, thanks for the review :)

  2. Heidi Cullinan
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 11:08:55

    I enjoyed this, but Resistance will kill you ded. Fantastic book. Both of them are. Ms. Turner needs to write faster!

  3. Dayna
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 12:23:52

    Well, you’ve done it, Sarah F. You’ve nudged me out of my Kindle comfort zone. I always enjoy your reviews and I’ve bought several of the books for my Kindle, but this one sounded great and it’s not available for Kindle. I downloaded eReader and bought it for my iPhone. I’m about to start reading it right now. Yea!

  4. Dayna
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 13:54:42

    Okay. I finished it. It was a sweet story. I’ll definitely buy from her again.

  5. orannia
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 16:50:18

    That excerpt has me completely hooked…

  6. solanges
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 23:44:34

    This sounds so great and I love these types of stories but I have a huge massive really really big dislike for paying 4 dollars for 60 pages.

    Can’t do it. Sad day.

  7. Review: The Subtle Build of Perfection, by L.M. Turner | Read React Review: Rethinking romance and other fine fiction
    Dec 01, 2010 @ 21:16:15

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