Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Review: Concord Grape: Unexpected by TC Blue
The book starts at one of Troy's Margarita Monday parties. Pauly is on the porch getting some fresh air when he is joined by Leonard (one of the heroes from the previous book). Leonard asks Pauly how he ended up with Randy and James and the story goes back six years to how the men meet.
One of the things I most admired about the story was the way that the author managed to juggle the three men and their lives. The book was quite busy with three main characters and a substantial secondary character in Pauly's brother Brendon, and one of the ways that we manage to fit in so many characters is to focus mainly on Pauly and his backstory, rather than focus too much on James and Randy. James and Randy are still substantial and rounded characters, but have the convenience of having no real family around or a complicated life story - we have occasional mentions of people from their past but no-one around to feature too much in the story. In some ways this makes them the perfect comforters for Pauly and his mixed up life of step-brothers, half-brothers and scary ex-lovers. In other ways they are a little overshadowed by Pauly's drama at times.
Another part I liked was the slow and steady way that the men maneuver themselves into a three way relationship. Those looking for pages upon pages of three way sex are going to be a little disappointed as most of the sex happens towards the end when the three final decide to give things a go. Those sex scenes are well written and shows us much about how the different personalities affect the physical part of the relationship. Before that sex, the three spend a lot of time stressing in their heads about how much they like the other two and how impossible it is to choose between them. Whilst the resulting sexual tension was realistic and enjoyable to read, I did want to smack them all over the head on a few occasions for spending far too much time over-thinking everything. Randy especially was bad at this.
My one niggle with the story was that the three men sounded too similar. T.C. Blue has a particular writing style which borders on the verbose and all her characters chatter on a great deal in their heads - sometimes too much. Aside from a couple of character 'markers' such as Randy's lack of self-esteem, James' use of the word 'honey' and Pauly's natural flirtiness, their internal dialogue was pretty interchangeable and I would have liked there to have been a little more distinction between them in their thoughts and behaviour. That was only a minor niggle though in a rather enjoyable story. I liked the characters and was also pleased by the variety of emotions contained in the story: One minute I felt sorry for the characters, the next I was laughing along with them.
For those fans of the series who have been desperate for the story of Pauly, Randy and James, this is a great treat. It can even work as an introduction to the series since the majority of the action happens before Lemon Yellow: Making Lemonade, the first book in the series. That was a bonus for me too because I liked seeing the characters I know from the earlier books during their free and single days - or in the case of Evan from that first book, when he was happily in love with Bill.
Overall, this was a very good addition to this series which I can happily recommend with a grade of 'Very Good'. I'm now looking forward to seeing what else can come in this series as I've heard rumours that Dex maybe be making a reappearance.
Buy this book HERE