Monday, June 13, 2016

All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

Title: All the Wrong Places
Author: Ann Gallagher
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Bluewater Bay #14
Main Characters: Zafir and Brennan
Release Date: June 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild


Story Overview:
Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

My Review:
Aww, I have so much love for this book. It was so good and I feel like I learned quite a bit with this story, too. 

Zafir is an interesting character. He's an asexual muslim who works in an adult toy store and has an eight year old son...see, I told you. He also is open to dating either men or women, but again...he's asexual. He only wants to have sex for his partner, not to satisfy his own needs. 

Brennan is his own conundrum. He just got left by his third girlfriend who's complained about the fact that he isn't quite "all that" in bed. He has no idea what he's doing wrong so he heads to the local sex store to see if he can find some help. 

I love how straightforward and outspoken Zafir is about everything. I'm guessing that working in a sex store takes away any reticence about sex talk. But he's exactly what Brennan needs because he sees a lot of himself in what Brennan is saying. For the first time in this small town, Zafir thinks he's found someone like him...asexual. And a friendship comes from Brennan's need for information and Zafir's need for a skateboarding teacher for his son. 

There is so much to love about this book. I love that Zafir is not your normal hero. I love how frustrated and overwhelmed Brennan is about his situation. (When you're simply bad at sex, how do you go about fixing that?) I loved that he was willing to open himself up to ridicule by going to the store to try to find answers. I loved the two guys together and how easy it was to become friends and then slowly move into becoming more. Then there's Zafir's son...I loved him so much. My daughter is right at his age and thought the author did a great job of pinpointing his maturity level perfectly. There's an honesty added to stories that feature kids and this one definitely worked for me. And then I also have to mention the skateboarding. Another thing that I don't know that much about, but I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes featuring the skate park and the visuals the author created. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's completely innocent (besides the whole sex shop backdrop) so this is a good entry into the m/m world for anyone who has considered dipping their toe into this genre. It's simply a gorgeous love story that I loved.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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