Saturday, 15 December 2012

Review: By Chance by Cat Grant

By Chance is a self published re-release of the first of a series of, I think, five books. As far as I can work out, the first two books are m/m only and the rest are m/m/f. The book follows two college students, Eric and Nick. Eric is openly gay and very anti-social. So much so that he bribes the guy in change of rooms in his dorm so he doesn't get a roommate. However, when one of the other dorm blocks is flooded out, there's no choice but to put another guy, Nick, in with Eric. Eric is furious and determined to drive Nick away at first, but it's not long before the two become friends. Eric finds it hard to hide his attraction to Nick - a hopeless attraction, since Nick is straight - but when something happens which leaves Eric vulnerable, Nick confesses that he's attracted to Eric too.

The whole book depends on the strength of the characterisation, and I felt that this had been very successful here. Eric is a bit of an anti-hero at first. He's terribly grumpy and downright rude to Nick at first. He's the sort of guy who speaks his mind and doesn't care about social niceties, and so it's a little hard to warm to him at first. However, as the story progresses we are shown something of Eric's background and I found that I liked him a lot more with that understanding of his past.  Nick is just a complete sweetheart, and I thought the author had done a good job in showing the way he begins to re-evaluate his sexuality. The pairing is a a little chalk and cheese, but they work. Despite the arguments and confusions between the men, I felt they had a good chance of working in the long run and I cheered them on all the way.

Another part I liked was the friendship that Nick has with Ally. She's a previous girlfriend and provides a lot of support for Nick whilst he's trying to understand the changes he feels in his attraction to Eric.  Ally is obviously still in love with Nick, and the struggle she faces between being a good friend for Nick, not really liking Eric too much at first, and her own disappointment in the realisation that Nick will never be hers, is sympathetically shown. She was a very human character in the book and I liked her. Ally becomes the love interest in later books, so it was interesting to see her at this point in the men's lives. She's very close to Nick, but not to Eric and for those who are interested in m/m/f romance, I think it will be nice to see how her feelings for Eric develop too.

Any niggles I have with the book stems from the fact that towards the end there's a lot of self denial and a separation. This was a little frustrating and at one point I wanted to bang the men's heads together and tell them to stop being idiots!  However, the length of the story meant that this part didn't last too long and the ending made up for any pain I'd had to go through. Speaking of the ending, it's a HFN, and leads into the next book.

As I'm not a fan of m/m/f books, I'm not sure about reading on into the series. This book certainly can work as a standalone, but I'm not sure whether the next book will, so I'm reluctant to try it only to be left hanging.  Perhaps those who've read book two can advise!  Having said that, this is still a book which is well worth reading, especially for those readers who like 'out for you' books or college set m/m romances. Grade: Very Good.

Buy this book HERE.

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