Monday, September 27, 2010

Sonoran Heat

Title: Sonoran Heat
Author: Katrina Strauss
Publisher: Amber Allure
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-60272-742-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When Richard, his partner of nearly eighteen years decides he isn’t happy, Tony suddenly finds himself single, alone and uncertain what to do with his personal life. One night, on a whim, he visits his favorite diner and meets Josh, a beautiful young artist working to put himself through design school. Despite their mutual attraction, Tony is concerned that getting involved with a man nearly half his age can only lead to devastating heartache. Still, when Josh invites Tony to a gallery showing of his art work, he can’t refuse and the two are soon dating.

Josh isn’t flighty or uncertain in what he wants out of life—he has goals, plans and dreams of painting. He never expects to fall in love with Tony but when he does, he starts thinking of adjusting his plans to include the older man. But when near tragedy strikes one of Tony’s friends, the 23 year age difference seems like an insurmountable obstacle and Tony begins to doubt Josh’s determination to stick with him. Both men have some difficult choices to make. Can Josh convince Tony of his sincerity or will their relationship lose its heat and turn as cold as a desert night?

Sonoran Heat is the newest release by multi-published author Katrina Strauss and as usual, she’s created two well-developed and likable characters in Josh and Tony. I particularly liked the differences in what the men did—artist for Josh and landscaper for Tony. The unusual artistic medium of Josh’s art work is nicely handled and the details and descriptions added great depth and interest to the story. The vividly described Sonoran desert is also important to both men—as beautiful scenery for Josh’s art and as a vista outside Tony’s backdoor.

A romance novel doesn’t often deal with such a wide age gap, which happens frequently in real life, and Ms. Strauss has done it here with creativity, flair, understanding and sensuality I enjoyed. While another author might have turned this into a kinky Sugar Daddy type story, I didn’t get that here. It just happens to be a sweet but passionate love story between two men of vastly differing ages and life experiences. It’s fun, light-hearted, sexy and shows the importance of people, not ages.

It’s actually rather slow moving and the story primarily focuses on the relationship between these two men and its problems, rather than any big explosive external conflict. So, if you’re expecting a lot of over-the-top drama, this charming romance isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a well crafted story with great details, a wonderful setting and two interesting guys years apart in age, I suggest that you give this simmering gem of a contemporary romance a try.

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