Hello, there! Yes, this is a book review, it is not a Halloween prank! =O (I’m very pleased with myself for managing to read and review this book at such a time of the year and without delays to its release date ~aka. TODAY, yay!~). My dissertation is overall ready and I’m two weeks early, so I can give myself the pleasure of writing some late reviews, haha!
So, today’s book is Secrets and High Spirits, the fourth book on Lou Harper’s Spirits’ series, but they are kind of standalones, as I only read this one and understood it all without any problems. I have kindly received this through NetGalley and I am very thankful ❤
Teag and Bruce saw each other only once in their lives, but the experience was a mess: Bruce was irritated and was an ass with Teag and his friend. Since the episode, Teag hates Bruce and all his “type” of gay men: overly gym worked, all tattooed and cocky. Bruce, in the other hand, doesn’t understand why can’t Teag just accept an apology, so he is a bit indisposed with him too.
All was well, as they thought they would never see each other again… Until they meet again, evaluating the same place to buy and build a bar – a shared dream they later discover to possess. Bruce soon sees a good opportunity on the rise: Teag was a hell of a showman and Bruce was better off administrating bureaucratic stuff. They were the perfect match to build a bar together, if only Teag could let go of their first encounter… And maybe accept the maddening and undeniable sex tension between them.
Soon enough, both men discover that the place they were planning to build their bar on had a bizarre history and that even weirder things started to happen when no one was around. Was it just a big joke on top of the supposed haunted place’s reputation or, despite their personal problems, could Teag and Bruce be dealing with a real ghost…?
Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂
I make no secret that I really love gay romances, a lot. Specially a men x men one, like this one. I requested it on NetGalley because the blurb put my head (and other parts *coffs*) on fire with curiosity. I have even mentioned before how I love when the characters passions are born out of hate: man, it gets darn strong and hot, omg. Anyway, I guess I expected too much from the book. The plot had so much potential that I didn’t even noticed how short the ebook was (my edition was 137 pages long). It was a good book, amusing and all, but I got disappointed at its wasted potential. Harper had such a brilliant idea on her hands and I felt it all was so rushed, you know? And there were another small things that bothered me, but all in due time. It is not a bad book, but as a whole work, it received three stars.
The narrative had a very good pace – not overly fast, but it didn’t dwelled on needless points of the plot. It was made on third person, alternating Teag and Bruce’s point of view. This is my favorite kind of narrative, overall, because it usually avoids loose ends. Of course that, sometimes, it happens and it has happened here as well, but as this book is part of a series, I didn’t take off stars because of that. Maybe Harper is planning on writing another volume, maybe some of the missing info I would get reading the series since book one, like I should have (oops!), I don’t know, so Harper is safe here, haha! One thing that really bothered me on the narrative was the narrator’s use of idiomatic expressions. I mean, it is okay for me if the character, on his speech or thought, say things like “helluva”, but is not ok when it is the third person narrator doing so. It made the book vulgar on my conception. The beginning is worse; as Harper dives into the story, she slowly eases the use of this kind of word and similar expressions – for which I was very grateful. I also would like to make it clear that I’m ok with swearing and low class words, for say, but not from the third person narrator. I think Harper tried to make the text more palatable, but I don’t think it was a good way to try that 😦
The plot was my biggest disappointment. It had SO MUCH FREAKING POTENTIAL. Harper had an awesome idea for a contemporary gay romance, she brought to light so many things that need to be discussed in society, like the prejudice – Teag is a gay man that is made purely of prejudices against everything and everybody, for example – but it went too fast. It seemed like she was so worried about finishing the book that she forgot to savor the act of writing it. I like her descriptions, but they were a bit bipolar: I spent half of the book without knowing how Teag looked like, but I could draw Bruce, as he was described in details all the time (and I’m a terrible artist, haha!). This is applicable also on scenario descriptions. I understand that this is the fourth book in a series, but it is always good to give a brief explanation of things on each new book, as we never know which nut piece can catch the train when it is already running (like I did, haha!). Another point is the paranormal element of the book: if you ask me, there is none. I mean, there is a ghost, but it being and not being there is the same thing thanks to the plot development and that’s a shame. It gets obvious too soon that the ghost has nothing to do with the mystery going on at the bar and the characters say so many times during the story. A pity.
Now, I really liked how Harper can build a character. They all have such a real presence that you don’t forget not even the secondary ones. It was amazing, really. Bruce, for example, became another bookish boyfriend for me (I will need to create a boyish alter ego for myself one of these days, as I have so many gay bookish boyfriends, omg), even with his flaws. Sometimes, I could even picture Teag’s lectures, it was so funny, haha! And his sister, Helen, is a genius. There is this scene on the book that she admits messing up Teag’s toys when they were kids just to see how big would be his scandal, haha! Priceless ❤
I also feel the need of commenting the sex scenes on the book. Bruce and Teag’s attraction is strong, palpable, real, so I expected a book filled with hot sex scenes. Eh, no. I can’t complain about the actual scenes, but they were so few that my heart sank. Teag and Bruce had so much chemistry on the bed, it was a shame not exploring this further – and Harper can do a sex scene, all right! *breathless*
So, some of the strong points on the book are the character constructions and the fact that it is a part of a series, so I can now meet the other couples that are mentioned on this volume, haha! Oh, and the sex scenes, when they are there ❤
Overall, I can’t complain about this book, as it was a pleasant pastime on the two days that took me to finish it – I’m still focusing on the damn dissertation, so I’m not fully back on pleasure reading yet, but life is slowly going back to normal, THANK GOD.
That’s it, guys! Please, don’t cry, another reviews are coming, haha! Thanks for reading and stay strong ❤
By the way, here’s a list with all my gay book reviews!