Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A to Z

Title: A to Z
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
ISBN: 978-1-61581-414-5
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Zach Mitchell went to work at A to Z Video after graduating from college and years later, when the owner retired, he took out a loan and bought the store. The irony is that he hates movies. So, here he is, at age thirty-four, alone, with a job he hates, driving the same car and living in the same apartment. He even kept his former lover’s cat—who hates him. To make matters worse, his business is struggling and he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to stay open.

His life changes when Angelo Green enters his store the first time. Angelo’s smaller, dresses like an underage punk, grew up in a series of foster homes and has serious trust issues but despite their differences the two men become friends. When Zach’s break-up with his sleazy, landlord boyfriend puts his lease in jeopardy, Angelo convinces him to move the store to the small town of Coda, where their new friends live. The question is whether the change in location will save the store, while allowing their budding relationship to grow into something they’ve both wanted their entire life—a committed partnership.

A to Z is the follow up release to Promises by Marie Sexton. It was an unexpected find, and as far as I can tell, the author has yet to give a name to this series. It would be possible to read this book as a stand-alone but for a better understanding of the relationship of the secondary characters, it would be better to read them in order. From what I can tell by looking at her website, you should be able to find The Letter Z, a shorter third work available sometime in May.

The story is rather simple in nature, but that doesn’t mean it’s unable to keep a reader’s attention. From the beginning, Ms. Sexton weaves an interesting tale of two men who, by a chance crossing of paths, finds the one person meant for them. It’s not easy, as few relationships are, which means there are plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings, hurt feelings and angst. The personalities of Zach and Angelo couldn’t be more different. One is calm and laid-back while the other is tense and aggressive, which causes more than a few problems as the relationship changes from close friends to lovers.

The overall tone of the story is light, the pace fast, and the dialogue snappy. The point of view changes from Angelo to Zach and back again, so, even though written in first person, it still allows the reader to learn the inner thoughts of each man. Some might find this style of writing distracting but having the chapter designations made it work for me.

It was nice seeing Jared and Matt from Promises and moving Angelo and Zach to Coda a nice change of location for the story. Adding Angelo’s long estranged mother to the cast of characters was a nice touch, as was learning the background of what had happened for Angelo to end up in foster care. They all add history, flavor and interest, helping to pull the reader deeper into the story.

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