Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino

Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Romancelandia #1
Published: 1/14/13
Reviewed by Anne
247 pages

I’ve been on an Anne Tenino kick, and this book was part of her backlist I’m working through.  I think her TAG books are my favorite (start with Frat Boy and Toppy) but Too Stupid to Live was very enjoyable!  The back cover blurb bothered me, though, because it was a bit misleading.  So I’m going to edit it as I think it should be here: 

Reformed rakes make the best husbands.

Sam is too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels.   His One True Love is certainly still out there, and he knows what he’s learned from his reading is going to help him identify that man.  He’s cultivated the necessary skills to see the highlander hiding inside the jeans clad player.

That’s when he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships.  His history of hookups and hiding his sexuality is over.  He’s not sure how to do it, but he’s going to have a meaningful relationship and be honest and open about it.  If he can only find the words. 

That’s when he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

So, Sam and Ian meet each other and stumble into a relationship that plays out sweetly as they try to figure out themselves and each other.  Ian is actually seeing a therapist and trying to figure out how to have a real relationship.  Sam is trying to believe that he deserves a good man.  It’s a pretty low conflict story, which I love.  Just these two men trying to sort themselves out.  It’s very cute and funny, and the sex is very hot and steamy.  

When I was typing up this review I saw that there’s a second book in the series listed as coming out later this year featuring secondary characters from this book.  I’m looking forward to it!  I should also mention that this book is linked to two short stories written by Anne Tenino,  Whitetail Rock and The Fix.  Sam was a secondary character in those books and Ian is a cousin to one of the main characters.  I don’t think it’s necessary to have read them before – but they are good stories.

Love, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino

Grade: C-

Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Theta Alpha Gamma #2

Published: 8/27/12
Reviewed by Anne
89 pages

Paul is a graduate student and tutor.  Trevor is a new coach at the same college, and he’s got student athletes Paul will be working with.  Paul and Trevor have history.  And lots of baggage.  Horrible painful baggage. Trevor terribly wronged Paul nine years ago in high school, and he’s hoping that now Paul will forgive him.  Paul’s not sure he wants to forgive Trevor.  He might just want a little revenge.

This story was believable, but painful.  It doesn’t have a lot of the humor I expect from Anne Tenino.  Or if it’s there, I just don’t remember it because of how sad the rest of it was.  I also think I had a hard time feeling like these two were going to be ok together.  Trevor was awful to Paul in the past.  Then Paul is awful to Trevor in the present.  That’s a lot of awfulness to set aside.  In the same way that two wrongs don’t make a right, two really emotionally painful experiences don’t cancel each other out.

This story does get bonus points for a sex scene with a deflating erection.  It’s not something you read of often in romance – every man seems to be some sort of super stud.  I appreciated that scene, and it was really well written.  Actually the whole story was well written, I just didn’t enjoy it.

Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Theta Alpha Gamma #1
Published: 3/26/12
Reviewed by Anne
165 pages

I started this series in the middle, and after finishing the fifth story, Poster Boy, I decided it was time to go back and read the first couple I had missed.  I’m so glad I did – I loved this story.  It’s a coming out and coming of age story with a lot of humor and sweetness.  The opening lines set the tone for the whole story:

One of Brad’s frat brothers bent over naked in the locker room showers early one Thursday morning, and he thought, “I’d tap that.”

He stood there frozen, skin stinging from the pelletized water, soap suds streaming down his chest while his world made a… What did they call that? Paradigm shift.

Dammit, dammit, dammit.  He’d been trying to avoid this.  Admitting it to himself.  Consciously.  His subconscious had been admitting it for a while in his sleep.  Emitting it.

Brad flicked another quick look at Collin.  Yeah, he still had a delectable ass.  Dammit.
Brad finally admits to himself that he’s gay.  Now what?  Well, maybe he could catch the attention of his really hot TA Sebastian?  And what about his frat brothers?  And his family?  Brad tackles his problems with sweet and funny results.  Between all of that, he has some really hot sex with Sebastian.

It’s a great story that I loved.  I did fine reading the series out of order, but this first book is actually one of the best of the series.  I highly recommend Frat Boy and Toppy, and really any book by Anne Tenino!