Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay)

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Title: Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay)
Author: T. Baggins
Cover artist: n/a
Publisher: Vodoo Lily Press
Amazon Buy Link:Fifteen Shades of Gay (For Pay)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 70000 words
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: Great writing, closeted republican politician, male escort who thinks he is straight, but who is really and truly bisexual, one of the best female characters in this genre…and one of the least liked titles I have ever seen in this genre. Oh my.

Blurb :

MONEY…

Andrew Reynolds is determined to stay in New York City as long as his sister Marie, a cancer patient, needs him. But despite his good looks and talent, Andrew hasn’t managed to find work as an actor. With his bank account empty and his credit cards maxed, Andrew needs money fast. Gay escorts make a nice living, but there’s one problem–Andrew isn’t gay.

SEX…

Ever since his early teens, when Andrew’s father shocked everyone by coming out, Andrew has been uncomfortable around gay men. Pretending to be gay will be the role of a lifetime. From male/male dates to erotic toys, spankings and more extreme play, Andrew must satisfy his clients without revealing his usual tastes.

… AND ROMANCE

Andrew’s first date with closeted politician Cormac Donovan ends in disaster. Yet with each successive booking, the attraction between them grows. As Andrew struggles with unexpected new feelings, Cormac puts his senatorial career in danger. And what began as a way for Andrew to earn money becomes a one-way ticket to heartbreak–or lasting love.

Review:

If my summary did not make it clear, I extremely disliked the title of this book. It reflects the story pretty well, but if I had not seen the good reviews on Goodreads, I would have never picked it up, because I thought it was a parody of that book that must not be named. It is just my personal dislike – I do not want any book I like to have any association with that book :-). As I said, it definitely fits the story, but I thought that the writer who seemed to have such great writing skills (just look at that awesome blurb!) could have found another one which fitted the story too.

Fortunately the title is the only thing I  really disliked about this book. The writing is vivid and engaging, both main characters have some pretty serious flaws and still the writer managed to make them likeable for this reader. The relationship between a closeted politician and a prostitute/escort is of course not a new set up in mm romance, but I thought that the book took the old trope and made it its own.

Both Andre and Cormac have flaws. I mean, I certainly never expected to like a closeted republican politician like Cormac – I could never blame any character or person in real life for being in the closet, but I certainly cannot stand hypocrites and boy, did Cormac look like one to me several times in the story. And I still loved him. I believed that he had a good heart, I got the reasons why he was so messed up and I believed that he wanted to do better.

In a sense Andrew was even more interesting to me. To tell you the truth I did not exactly expect to like him either, because “uncomfortable around gay men” according to the blurb IMO is the deeply understated characterization of how and what Andrew felt about gay men, something I also usually have no patience for in fiction or real life. Having said that, Andrew absolutely was not the character I expected him to be based on the blurb.

You know how often you read a book you think that character acts irrationally but your impression just does not match what the writer is trying to convey?

Well, I think in this book the writer conveyed the theme of the good person acting irrationally, explained why and made Andrew very sympathetic to me. I really loved Andrew and thought he and Cormac made a wonderful couple.

I also really loved Andrew’s devotion and love of his sister Mari, who was a wonderful character, somebody I am not going to forget any time soon. The only thing I want to note is that the blurb states that Mari is a cancer patient and if you had a loved one battling cancer, consider the possibility that this book may upset you not because it was poorly handled, but because it was very realistically done IMO.

I am once again left with the thought that the good writer can make any plot trope, any character flaw (or almost any character flaw) shine for me. This book was just a joy to read and in the hands of lesser writer similar plot and characters could make me throw this  book against the wall.

Recommended.

21 thoughts on “Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay)

  1. Tj

    I’m with you Sirius – that title reminds me too much of that other book. But based on your review I’m going to give it a shot. I love good writing and I’ve got to see how she handled “one of the best female characters in this genre”. That would be a refreshing change! Thanks for the review. Great job!

    1. Sirius

      I think you should try it Tj. Let me know what you thought and yeah I really really cannot stand that book :)

      1. Tj

        I was sure that I’d have issues with both characters, but was hoping the sister would make this worth reading. Boy was I wrong! I actually could imagine the characters were real people, which is doesn’t happen often. Thanks again Sirius.

  2. Wave

    Sirius
    I, too, loved this book and I really liked how wonderful the writing was. I couldn’t believe I ended up liking these characters. Extremely complex MCs. I was prepared to hate them but ended up understanding their struggles.

    As for Mari – ’nuff said – another complex character.

    I read this book before you did and was debating reviewing it but as I mentioned to you I was too backlogged to do so soon. I agree with the rating. :)

  3. Susan

    Thanks for this review, Sirius, which I completely agree with. I had not heard of this author or the book until I saw it listed here to be reviewed. I checked out the blurb, and it sounded so interesting that I took a chance and bought it right away.

    The plot was much more involved than I expected, and I liked the author’s writing style. But OMG, that title is the worst! I hope it doesn’t deter too many readers from checking out the book!

    1. Sirius Post author

      OOOOO I am so happy you ended up liking it Susan and that you learned about this book because it was mentioned here. I join you in hoping that title does not deter readers from checking it out.

  4. Crissy M

    Sirius, I absolutely loved this book…and you’re right, I didn’t love the title so much, and I didn’t read the other, but I’m thankful it wasn’t a parody of that trilogy. I adored these characters not just Andrew and Cormac, but I also ended up liking Paresh (which I didn’t think possible), I loved Marie and Andrew’s parents and Hugh. It was such a great story.

    Great review!

    1. Sirius Post author

      Hi Crissy, I skimmed THAT book, I could not managed a careful read, not that I regretted that lol. I cannot tell you how happy I am that it was not a parody of that book :). Yes, I ended up liking Paresh too. This book to me is a perfect example of how pure romance can portray realistical characters, struggles with heavy everyday issues and still give the characters a happy ending.

  5. HJ

    Perhaps add a comma to this phrase in the Summary? “male escort who thinks he is straight, but who is really and truly bisexual and one of the best female characters in this genre”. Took me three read to realise that the best female character is not the male escort…

  6. Leslie S

    Thanks Sirius – I was ready to skip the review based on the title of the book alone but then I read your summary and now I’m going to buy the book. I guess don’t judge the book by its title as well as its cover!!

      1. Leslie S

        I finished reading it this morning and enjoyed it, Sirius! I loved Marie and I also liked Pratesh and how the situation with the pool boys got out of control and was handled. Cormac was lovely and I liked Andrew, though the whole ‘this is a memoir’ thing didn’t quite work for me. But overall I enjoyed it a lot :grin:

        But yeah, I hope the author gets a better title next time. Also I couldn’t work out if the author’s pseud was a reference to Lord of the Rings or to, er, teabagging. I usually stay away from authors with odd pseuds (I will never buy anything from Paige Turner, for example, because the name is so cheesy!) but I’m glad I read your review and gave this a go :smile: Thanks again!

  7. Naaju Rorrete

    Sirius, thanks for sharing your experience with this book, I also skipped it because of the title and my dislike of THAT trilogy.
    Now, that I read it, I’m very glad I did, it’s an awesome read. I’m in zombie mode after staying up until 2AM to finish it, but it’s worthy.
    The sex scenes and the emotional part of the story are well interlaced, entertaining but also realistic.

    1. Sirius

      Hi Naaju! I can see I was not alone in disliking the title’but I am so happy you gave the book a chance and liked it. I am typing from the place with bad Internet connection so apologies in advance for all th typos.

      Leslie I am so happy you liked it•

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