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M/M Romance Reviews by Maybedog

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A Matter of Time (#4) - Mary Calmes DON'T READ THIS BOOK unless you're ready to read all four of the first books at once and you are ready to be really upset for awhile. Apparently the four were written as all one book but the publisher felt it was to long and cut it into four parts. I'm very angry with the publisher. These are emotionally draining.

I'm going to review all of the first four together because they really are one book. I've noticed that now #1 & #2 are called Book I and #3 and #4 are Book II in some places but books 1 & 2 both end on cliffhangers. I was crying at the end of book 2.

This series effed me up. Calmes played with my emotions like my dog plays with stuffed toys she's trying to kill. There are so many ups and downs I felt like I was on Galloping Gerty. Ok, enough with the similes. The point is that this is an emotional roller coaster ride. Okay, that was a metaphor, not a simile.

The story is very linear. Jory sees bad thing, Jory needs to go into witness protection but refuses. Hot cop follows Jory. Jory works and we find out everything about Jory's work. Jory deals with cop. Jory deals with bad guys. It would be annoying if Jory weren't so wonderful.

Of course everyone agrees. Everyone in the story loves Jory. EVERYONE. Here is Jory's interactions with every single gay man we meet:

"Jory I love you. Come home with me."
"No."
"Please."
"No."
"I can't live without you."
"No."
"Just one night."
"No."
"Please let me by you food."
"That's not a good idea."
"Please."
"No."
"I'm sorry."
"It's okay." **hug**
"Please come home with me!"
"No."
"EFF YOU JORY!!"
"Bye."

Then there's usually a problem with Jory getting away from him. Then later in the story:

"Jory, I'm so sorry, will you forgive me?"
"Of course."
"I know you don't want me, let's be friends."
"Okay."
"You know I love you more than anyone ever will."
"I know."
"Please."
"No."
"I can't live without you."
"No."
"Just one night."
"No."
"Please let me by you food."
"That's not a good idea."
"Please."
"No."
"I'm sorry."
"It's okay." **hug**
"Please come home with me!"
"No."
"EFF YOU JORY!!"

Sometimes this happens several times. Jory is kind and sweet and loving to his stalkers. He's always calm. It's ridiculous.

Same with his boss. Every woman who meets him falls in love with him and will not accept when it's over. She throws herself at his feet and makes a complete fool of herself. Every single single woman. It's ridiculous. Of course, we love him, too.

Fortunately, unlike in many M/M stories, there are some wonderful female characters who I really liked. Of course, all the good characters are wonderful and we love them all. They all love Jory, even homophobic family. Everyone loves Jory. But so do I.

On to the plot:
Despite the thriller/mystery label of the books, only the third really feels like one. There are thriller elements in the first and second, a lot of danger in the second, but mostly it's about the relationship between Jory and Sam who's an asshole most of the time. But I wanted them together. Of course I wanted them together. I just wanted Sam to stop being an asshole.

Jory was maddening in his flip way of looking at his own life. He isn't surprised that everyone loves him, and he is completely aware that he's drop dead gorgeous. But he isn't arrogant and he doesn't have a lot of respect for his own life.

Sam wants Jory but he wants his life to stay the way it is, and he doesn't get that he can't have both. He's controlling and overprotective and surly. Most of the time it's adorable but sometimes I want to slap him. Jory loves the controlling part. Sometimes he feels like a little kid, but other times he's a lot more mature than Sam.

The danger scenes, the chases, the kidnappings, that kind of thing, were all well done and kept me clinging to my ebook reader. The pacing varied but was great through those parts.

The characters were good. Most of the main characters were individual enough that they felt real to me, even if they were all so wonderful and nice. There were a lot of women and het men in addition to gay boys.

By the end of #1, I was upset with the relationship but I still liked it and immediately read #2. In fact, I almost didn't even notice because the ending felt like it was in a completely arbitrary place. #2 starts immediately after the end of #1. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 just to differentiate it enough from the rest. Happy ending? No, but not really an ending.

By the end of #2, the situation had been resolved, and everything was perfect until the last couple of pages when I wanted to maim someone, perhaps the author, for doing what she did to Sam & Jory. I couldn't handle the cliffhanger and was honestly really upset. I immediately bought the next one and within 10 minutes was deeply involved again. 3.5 stars, rounded down to three because of the ending. Happy ending? No, probably the worst ending of an M/M romance novel I've ever read. I cried. And cried. And cursed Calmes over and over. Okay, I cannot get this book out of my head, so I can't leave this at 3 stars, not when part three is 3 stars so I'm raising it up to 4.

#3 made me angry. I HATED the first part, I hated the situation, I hated that there were THREE YEARS between the second and third book WITHOUT SAM COMING BACK FOR JORY!! It was too long and I didn't buy it. this one was by far the worst in the series because there was no plot--it was all about Sam and Jory's relationship--and it read a lot like a soap opera. This one does not end on a cliffhanger but because of how emotionally wrenching the whole series was up to this point, you might be tempted to stop. DON'T because you might not start again. STICK WITH IT because #4 is the best of the lot. Happy ending? Yes, eventually, but it felt tentative. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because of the ending and because I don't want anyone thinking it's not worth it.

#4 was what I expected the whole series to be: Exciting, romantic, interesting, dangerous, thrilling, sweet, with several twists and turns. It was exactly what I was looking for. The one problem was that Calmes had so messed with my heart that I had trouble enjoying it because I expected something awful to happen between Sam and Jory at any moment. Happy ending? Yes, completely, and there weren't any more gut-wrenching moments where she split Sam and Jory apart. They were together for the entire book including the end. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 because I was so relieved and happy at the end.

I'm okay with how it left off, and I really want to keep reading the series, but I'm scared to, because I'm afraid Calmes is going to mess me up again. So for now, I'm just putting the next one as to-read and moving on to something else. I hope this habit of slicing through my heart with a butcher knife isn't true of all of her books because I would really like to read more, but I just can't take this.

BTW, I've seen some people label this GFY/OFY and it's not true. Sam has been lying to himself all this time and at some point acknowledges it. During the three years the two are apart, Sam sleeps with other men but no women. By #3, he knows he's gay.